Child Support

(ONGOING, RETROACTIVE & OWED IN ARREARS)

WHO PAYS & HOW MUCH?

When a couple with a children separate, the non-primary care provider of the children is legally obliged to provide financial support for any children under the age of 18; and sometimes past that age, depending on the secondary educational pursuits of the children.

The parent making the child support payment must annually provide income information to the other parent. The parent receiving the payment may be asked to do as well to determine the appropriate proportionate extraordinary expenses that are payable.

The amount paid is determined by the Federal Child Support Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) of the province where the parents reside, the income of each parent, and the number of children requiring support. There is little or no room for adjustment, but there are a few select circumstances where the amount awarded can deviate from the Guidelines. The amount payable here is commonly called “base” child support or sometimes colloquially “s. 3” support.

The parent providing child support may also be required to pay a fair share of other expenses, such as education, health, medical and childcare. This amount is commonly called “extraordinary” child support or “s. 7” support. It is important to keep all receipts for expenses incurred for purchases that fall into this section.

If the parent providing care for the children has no income, the other parent must pay all child expenses. However, it is certainly possible to impose limitation(s) or set a “ceiling” for expenses incurred – so as to provide some measure of cost certainty to the payor of child support.

In terms of the collection of support, many parents, both payor and payee, register with the Maintenance Enforcement Program (“M.E.P.”). Their website offers a step-by-step guide as to how to register with that program. Once a Court Order for child support is obtained, the recipient parent can take that Court Order and register it with the program. The payor parent then makes payment pursuant to that Court Order to M.E.P. If they are late with the payments or if they miss payments, M.E.P. can take collection steps which include garnishing wages, suspending a person's driver's license, putting a hold on a individual's passport, etc. M.E.P. also has the option of adding a “Recalculation Clause” to any Order granted in Alberta, allowing for automatic recalculation of your Order on an annual basis based on updated income information without the cost and inconvenience of having to return to Court each year. The paying parent also receives protection by having a record of payment.

Sometimes, despite “best intentions” of the parties, problems can sometimes arise with the payment of child support. For example, there may be:

ONGOING SUPPORT PROBLEMS

Sometimes, it can be difficult to enforce support payments.

ARREARS

If you are owed child support payments, or if you owe payments, GDE FAMILY LAW can help you resolve the amount owed and seek collection options.

RETROACTIVE PAYMENTS

If there has been an error in calculating support, we can help you negotiate how to deal with the money that should have been paid as well as any interest owed. If you have overpaid, you may be eligible for a “credit” with respect to child support payment(s).

GDE FAMILY LAW can help you to determine when a change in the support amount is needed, enforce ongoing child support contracts and ensure that any difficulties with retroactive payments and arrears are handled in a way that respects everyone's rights and protects your financial situation.

Coming to a contract on child support without going to court is preferable for everyone and usually less costly. If you have questions about what child support covers or require some legal advice on issue(s) with respect to child support, the Guidelines, disputes and resolutions, or general legal advice on any aspect of family law contact GDE FAMILY LAW.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT HOW A CUSTODY ARRANGEMENT CAN IMPACT CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS:

SHARED OR SPLIT CUSTODY

Learn more by reading the Federal Child Support Guidelines , or contact us today for a consultation appointment.

COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY

Even if a child is over 18 years old, child support can continue, provided the child is in full time attendance at a Post Secondary Educational Institution.

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION:

To learn more about child support payments, visit the Federal Department of Justice.