During the separation process, most parents face a conflict to decides who will take care of the child. This decision is critical as this involves deciding how to pay for the child’s future expenses such as education, health, etc. The Ontario Child Support Guidelines under the Family Law Act provides for the considerations to be taken care of before deciding the child support.
What is Child Support?
The laws in Canada provide a legal right for every child to have financial support from the parents. Parents are responsible for taking care of their dependent child financially. The term dependent child means the child who is below 18 years of age.
When parents live together with their children, they support the child together. When they get separated and not living together, the parent having custody has the responsibility to take care of that child. However, the other parent should provide financial support to the custodian.
The decision concerning Child Support can be made in the form of a Separation Agreement or a Court order and can also be made without any written agreement. In any way of agreement, the child’s routine care is the responsibility of the parent with custody. The payor parent should help financially to pay for the expenses incurred by the parent with custody.
Who are Parents?
A parent can be a birth-parent, a non-birth parent, an adoptive parent, and sometimes a step-parent. A person who has even shown the intention to treat a child as their family member can also be considered Parent.
Who Pays Child Support?
According to the Department of Justice Canada, Child Support is money paid by the parent, that spends the least amount of time with the child to the parent who takes care of the child most of the time. It is used to help cover the costs of caring for the child. Even if your child spends an equal amount of time with each parent, the parent with the higher income may still have to pay some child support. The parent who pays support is called the payor parent. The payment of child support may remain active even after the receiving parent remarries or start living with someone else.
When to Apply for Child Support?
The benefit of child support is usually claimed right after the separation or divorce. However, it can be applied at any time after the separation or divorce. The best recommendation to deal with child support is as early as possible and figuring out the child’s custody. Early decision in this regard is that at the time of separation, a parent might not be anticipating the expenses they have to incur for the child, but they might face it later on.
When does Child Support end?
Child Support is a continuous activity to be performed by the payor parent. However, child support can be withdrawn in the following situations:
- The child has married
- They are 16 years of age and have voluntarily left parental control
There are also some situations where child support can be extended beyond the age of dependency, i.e., 18 years of age. For example, any child who cannot support themselves due to disability or illness or attend school full time is entitled to child support. If a child is attending school full time, the child must be paid until the age of 22 years or until the child receives a post-secondary degree or diploma.
What is a Child Living Agreement?
The terms and conditions of the child support payment are finalized in a Support Agreement. There are three different ways in which the Support Agreement can be secured:
- The parents can cooperate to form a Support Agreement. It is recommended that they follow Child Support guidelines to decide the amount of support agreed by a judge if presented before a Judge. It is the responsibility of the paying parent to provide accurate and complete information about their income. The best way to set a Support Agreement is to hire a lawyer to draft a Support Agreement, and the other parent hires a lawyer to review it before signing it. In this way, both parents will know what is intended in the agreement and will stay protected.
- The parents can also look for a mediator to help the parents come to a common conclusion for a support agreement.
- If parents themselves cannot reach a joint agreement, they should hire lawyers to negotiate the terms. If no agreement is reached, the matter will be presented before the court to decide. The Judge will then decide how much amount is required to be paid by the payor parent.
- The amount of Child Support
The amount of child support is based on the number of children, the paying parent’s residence, and the paying parent’s annual income. The Federal Government provides an online child support calculator, which can help parents decide the amount for child support.
How to receive or pay Child Support?
When the parents have concluded a support agreement through court or online, they must submit it to the Family Responsibility Officer (FRO). It helps families get the support they are entitled to by collecting, distributing, and enforcing child and spousal support payments. It also determines how the money is to be paid and received. Even if the support agreement is prepared through a written agreement, it can still be submitted to FRO to determine the mode and payment time.
Payor parent must provide the payment to the FRO, who will send a cheque to the parent with custody. If the payor parent fails to make the payment, FRO will enforce the order or agreement.
The payment can be paid to FRO in the following ways:
- Directly paid by the payor parent.
- Deduction from wages
- Registration of a charge against personal property
- FRO can take money from a bank account. In the case of a joint statement, up to 50%
FRO (Family Responsibility Officer) is also entitled to suspend the driving license, report to the credit bureau, or cancel the passports to pressure the payor parent.
Can Child support amount be reduced?
The FRO cannot change the amount to be paid by the payor parent. However, if the parents think that the amount needs to be reconsidered, they must obtain a new order from the court or write a new support agreement.
Is Access to Child denied if Child Support is not paid?
No, access to the child is not denied even if the payor parent does not pay the child support. It is for the betterment of the child to have a relationship with both parents. Denying access to a child is considered as punishment to the child, and the law is not designed to punish a child whose parents failed to pay the child support. The only way to deny the access to the child is if there is likely a harm to child from the accessing parent.
Therefore, choosing the right representative dealing with child support matters and family law issues is a critical decision to take. Juzkiw Law Professional Corporation can help you through this process and provide you with the best legal solution.
About Juzkiw Law:
The Juzkiw Law firm has extensive legal knowledge and family law matters. We help our clients navigate the tricky territory of Canadian Law while focusing on managing their strategic needs and bringing them the desired results.
If you need any assistance in obtaining child support or any family law issue, please contact us immediately at 416-221-2221 to ensure your rights are fully protected. We understand the hardships you are going through and will work hard to obtain the best possible settlement.