Child and Spousal Support after separation or divorce

Angela Princewill

October 13, 2015

Child and Spousal Support

When a relationship ends, a spouse may be required to make child or spousal support payments. Whether support payments are required will depend on a variety of factors, such as income level, number of children, and length of the relationship. The type of relationship may also influence the ordering of support payments. For example, if a married couple is divorcing, the support may be ordered under the federal Divorce Act, while a non-married couple who is separating would have the support dealt with under the provincial Family Law Act.

Child Support

Parents have an obligation to provide financial support for their children. If there is a separation or divorce, that obligation still remains even if a parent does not have custody of their children. The child support payments fulfill a parent’s obligation to provide financial support to their children.

The amount of child support payable is dependent upon the Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines calculate the support based on a formula which includes level of income and number of children. In addition to the Child Support Guidelines payments, the court may also order a parent pay an additional amount for special or extraordinary expenses for the child. These expenses may include: child care expenses, health-related expenses or extracurricular activities.

Spousal Support

A spouse is not automatically eligible for spousal support when a relationship ends – they must first establish an entitlement. If an entitlement is established, the amount of support is guided by the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines. These guidelines use two formulas to calculate spousal support: one for if there are no dependent children, and a second if there are dependent children.

While the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines guide the awarding of spousal support, they are not law, and it is possible that a court may deviate from them. There are several situations where the guidelines may not apply and a court may use their discretion in awarding spousal support.

How We Can Help

The awarding of child and spousal support payments have been standardized to a certain extent by the introduction of the Child Support Guidelines and the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, but every family law situation remains different. It is recommended individuals seek the advice of a lawyer for their specific set of circumstances.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact AP Professional Family Lawyers in Pickering, Toronto, Markham, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.