If your child does not live with you, or only lives with you part of the time, then you have to pay a sum of money based upon your annual income to the other parent, to help provide for your child.
The child does not necessarily have to be your biological child. You might have to pay child support for a step-child.
The parents do not have to be married for there to be an entitlement to child support. You might have to pay child support even if you were only living together.
CALCULATING CHILD SUPPORT
There are usually two parts of a child support calculation: the basics (so-called “table” amount) and the extras (so-called “special expenses”)
There is no adjustment for annual increases in the cost of living. Instead, there is an annual adjustment based upon the payor's actual earnings.
There is no income tax payable or deductible.
TABLE CHILD SUPPORT
The Child Support Guidelines dictate how much child support is owed.
The amount is calculated based on annual income and the number of children.
This table calculation means there is an annual adjustment based on how much you earn.
SPECIAL OR EXTRAORDINARY EXPENSES
Sometimes there are special expenses like medical bills, dental bills, or extra-curricular activities like music or sports.
Each parent has to contribute in proportion to their income.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Child Support (Government of Canada )
Child Support Table Look-up (Government of Canada )
Child Support (Government of Ontario )
Child Support (Community Legal Education Ontario )
Spousal support is a much more complex area of law than child support.
When a relationship ends, the spouse who makes less money may be able to claim support from their spouse.
Spousal support is gender neutral, meaning a spouse doesn't have a right to support merely based on gender.
It is a two-pronged analysis. First of all, you have to prove your entitlement to spousal support with reference to the law. Then, if you are entitled to spousal support, you have to prove how much you should be paid, and for how long the payments should last. These factors – entitlement, amount, and duration -- make spousal support much more contentious and uncertain than child support.
And that's only the beginning of the analysis. Many other factors have to be considered before a claim for support can be proven. These factors can vary widely, but generally they include the following:
- How long was the relationship?
- How old are the spouses?
- Are there any children, and if so how old are they?
- Did the spouses merge their finances or keep their finances separate?
- Did one spouse stay at home to raise the family while the other spouse continued working?
- Did one spouse lose income-earning potential by sacrificing a career to stay at home to raise the children?
CALCULATING SPOUSAL SUPPORT
There is no automatic way of calculating spousal support as there is for child support.
The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines provide a possible range of support. But it can be misleading to use these, if you haven't yet got an opinion about whether you're even entitled to spousal support. The numbers only apply if you have first established your entitlement at law.
The amount calculated depends in part on whether the recipient is also receiving child support.
Once an entitlement to support is found, the amount of spousal support could be subject to an annual cost of living adjustment.
Unlike child support, spousal support is taxable income in the hands of the recipient; it is also a deduction in the hands of the payor. This fact can be a further complication in the negotiation of the amount of support.
Because of the complexities involved in negotiations of spousal support, you may need to consult a financial advisor in addition to a lawyer, in order to understand your rights and responsibilities, prior to concluding a contract.
If you are using Collaborative Family Law, both spouses might decide to jointly retain the same financial advisor to give advice to both about the spousal support options. There is usually a financial planning component to the negotiation of spousal support. This financial advisor can actually be present at your CFL negotiations, which might be beneficial and/or economical.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
About Spousal Support (Government of Canada )
Separation and Divorce: Spousal Support (Community Legal Education Ontario )
ENFORCEMENT OF SUPPORT
Government of Ontario – Family Responsibility Office
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