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Child Support and Spousal Support

The Federal Child Support Guidelines specify the amount to be paid for child support based on:

  • The province the children reside in;
  • The income of the payer; and
  • The number of children who are being supported.

In addition to this “baseline” child support set out in s. 3 of the Child Support Guidelines, parents may also claim “special” or “extraordinary” expenses under s. 7. These include but are not limited to:

  • Daycare;
  • Sports fees; and
  • Uninsured medical and dental expenses.

Under certain circumstances the access parent may be able to have their child support obligation reduced, such as if they pay high costs to exercise access in the form of travel and lodging expenses. There are also instances in which a payer may claim undue hardship but it’s generally hard to substantiate.

Spousal support, also called maintenance or alimony, is determined differently. A party claiming spousal support must prove their entitlement by demonstrating they have been disadvantaged by the breakdown of the marriage and that their spouse has the ability to pay.

Factors considered when determining spousal support include, but are not limited to:

  • Length of the marriage;
  • Ability to work;
  • Change in lifestyle after the marriage;
  • Ongoing child support obligations; and
  • Whether or not a party is disabled.

The court will typically refer to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines as a framework for determining amount and duration of spousal support. However, the court is not bound by them and can deviate as it sees fit.

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