A Basic Guide to Child Support in Ontario

Angela Princewill

February 24, 2023

If you are going through a separation and you, your spouse, or your children, live in Ontario, then you may be wondering how child support works and what your rights and obligations are. In this blog post, we’ll provide a basic overview of the child support system in Ontario. Read on to learn more!

How is Child Support Calculated?  

The amount of child support that is owed will depend on factors such as the income of each parent and the number of children involved. The Canadian government has set up a standard calculation for calculating child support payments called the Federal Child Support Guidelines. This calculation takes into account both parents’ incomes, in shared parenting arrangements so if one parent earns more than the other, then they may be required to pay child support even though the children live with the parties equally.

If the children live primarily with one parent, then that parent, then the parent alone pays child support in the amount prescribed by the guidelines. That is, the parent with whom the children live will primarily be the child support recipient while the other parent will be the payor.

In addition to the Federal Guidelines, each province also has its own guideline. The Ontario Child Support Guidelines mirror the Federal Child Support Guidelines.

What Are My Rights and Obligations?

As a parent or caregiver to a child in Ontario, you have certain rights and obligations when it comes to paying child support. Most importantly, you have an obligation to make sure your children receive adequate financial assistance from both parents after divorce or separation. You also have a right to request revisions to the current child support amount, generally on an annual basis, if there has been a change in a payor’s income.

As a payor, you have an obligation to provide up-to-date disclosure about your income on an annual basis so that support can either be increased or decreased based on your income. If you fail to provide accurate financial disclosure regarding your income, you may be faced with significant child support arrears if your income has increased over the years. If your income is reduced over the years, you may lose the ability to reduce child support retroactively.


The above is a very basic overview of child support. The issue can become complicated when issues such as calculating parenting time, determining income, or undue hardship get thrown into the mix.

Remember that your full and accurate income disclosure is essential. The starting point is always the child support guidelines. Your parenting arrangement makes a difference as to how much child support you have to pay and If you are self-employed or own a business, the issue may not be so straightforward.

Lastly. child support is the right of the child. Be very careful before entering into agreements waiving child support as you may be required to back pay child support starting from the date of separation if the other party changes their mind. As always, independent legal advice is imperative. All the best!