Understanding Child Support

Written by Carpenter Family Law On May 1, 2017

Divorce and separation is a tough reality many families face, but you shouldn’t have to face it alone.

We’re here to help you thoroughly understand child support and different custody agreements, so you can make the most informed decision.

What is child support?

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In Canada, nearly 40 percent of marriages end in divorce.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s important to understand the role and requirements of child support to limit the negative impact on your children’s quality of life.

Child support is the financial obligation you have to support your child as he or she grows up. If your child does not live with you, and you are an access parent you may be required to pay child support based on your income.

How is child support determined?

Child support is based on a variety of factors, including the following:

  • Income – The more a parent earns, the more he or she is expected to provide in child support.
  • Living conditions – When determining child support, the living arrangements of the child(ren) are taken into consideration in determining the proper amount of child support to be paid.
  • Needs of the child or children – The court accounts for children with special needs – physical or mental disabilities, learning disorders, and so on – when determining child support payments.

What happens if I fail to pay child support?

Once the settlement is final and the child support payment amounts established, the parent responsible for child support must pay on time either directly to the other party or through the Family Responsibility Office.

If you refuse to pay child support there are some very important repercussions to keep in mind:

  • Property seizure
  • Suspension of your driver’s license
  • Tax refund interception
  • Arrest and jail time
  • And more depending on circumstances

Understanding the differences between the primary residence of a child(ren) and shared parenting

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For a parent facing a divorce or separation, one of the first and primary concerns can be which parent will gain custody of the child or children.

When parents are capable of working amicably together to make decisions regarding their child or children, the whole process is much smoother. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. That’s why there are various types of child custody agreements available.

Full custody

With sole custody agreements, one parent gains exclusive physical and legal custody over the a child.

This parent is typically more in control over parenting decisions, such as parenting choices and education.

Since these types of arrangements are most common when the parents live far apart, have poor communication with each other, or when the other parent is deemed unfit, the child will usually live most of the time with the parent who has sole custody.

Shared parenting

Shared parenting, on the other hand, is reserved for couples who can get along amicably to determine decision making for the child. In this case, both parents will be designated as the legal parent of the child or children, also known as “joint custody.”

Under most shared parenting agreements, parenting time is shared equally and child support payments between the parties are calculated on an “off set” basis taking into account the income of both parties.

Additionally, many have advocated that shared parenting, or co-parenting, largely benefits the children since they are better served when both parents play a leading role in their lives.

Want to learn more?

If you’re currently wondering about custody of your child or children and are in the midst of your divorce settlement, consult a family lawyer.

A skilled lawyer can help answer your questions and provide information about the custody laws in your area.

Start with a FREE 30-minute consultation today.

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