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Child Support for School Expenses

September 22, 2020

Once you and your former spouse have agreed on where your child or children will live and how they will be cared for after a divorce, you will need to determine child support. Child support is paid by the parent that spends the least amount of time with the child to the one who cares for the child most of the time.

The Family Law Act of Ontario states that every parent is legally obligated to provide support for their dependent children. Despite the status of the parents’ relationship, children should continue to benefit from both their financial means. If, however, a parent’s gross annual income is less than $12,000, they are not required to pay child support.

Many believe that child support obligations automatically end once a child has reached the age of majority. But a parent’s financial obligation may continue beyond 18 years if a child is enrolled in a full-time education program or if they are unable to withdraw from parental control, or obtain the necessaries of life as a result of illness, disability or other cause.

How is child support determined?

The government outlines how to determine child support payments in the Child Support Guidelines. The Child Support Guidelines serve to advance the best interests of children and ensure they receive the appropriate support from both parents. The Child Support Guidelines help simplify the process and make it easier for parents to settle on an amount. Payment amounts are calculated based on parent’s income as well as the number of children they must support. These payments are used for the daily expenses the parent incurs from caring for each child. Included are expenses for clothes, groceries and school expenses. There are set basic monthly amounts that can be calculated using the child support calculator.

When there are school expenses that are not covered by the determined basic monthly amounts for child support, they are referred to as special or extraordinary expenses. For instance, if one parent wishes for a child to attend a private school or participate in extracurricular activities like art, music or sports programs, the costs for such may be considered special or extraordinary expenses. For these expenses to be included in support payments, the parent must show that the expense is not only reasonable but also necessary. The child support guidelines define special or extraordinary expenses as those that are necessary because they are in the child’s best interest, reasonable in terms of the means of the parents, and consistent with the family’s spending patterns before separation.

Generally, special or extraordinary expenses are shared proportionally to the parents’ earnings. If both parties have similar wages, the expenses are often shared equally.

Are you looking for a Toronto Child Support Lawyer?

For the most part, questions about how to calculate child support are simple to answer because of the Child Support Guidelines. However, some child support cases are not as straightforward as others. For example, stock options, commissions, bonuses, and other parts of a parent’s income may be more difficult to quantify than a basic salary. Also, as children grow and incomes and custody arrangements change, the child support agreement will have to be adjusted.

If you and your co-parent cannot agree on matters relating to child support, the experienced and capable team at Baker and Baker Family Law can help to work out the issues.

Call our office today to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our Toronto child support lawyers. We will help to settle your child support matters.

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