Child Support and Special and Extraordinary Expenses

Parents have an obligation to support their children.  Child support is usually paid for pay a child who is under the age of 18 and remains under parental control.  In most cases, the parent with whom the child primarily resides shall be the recipient of child support from the other parent.  The amount of child support to be paid is legislated and found in the Child Support Guidelines.  Child support is based on gross income and is non-taxable to the recipient.

Determining child support requires financial disclosure usually in the form of the last three years of Income Tax Returns and Notices of Assessment.  If a payor is self employed, more information may be necessary to make a determination as to that party’s income.  In addition, it is possible that the payor-parent is intentionally under-employed or deliberately unemployed.  In this case, the court may impute income meaning that the court will look at the actual or represented income and make a determination that the payor’s child support obligation is to be based on a a higher income.

If a child has a shared living arrangement, that is,  lives with each parent at least 40% of the time, child support payments may be adjusted to reflect this.

Often it is mistakenly believed that child support will automatically cease once the child turns 18.  This is  not the case as child support remains in effect  for so long as a child remains in school full-time and resides with a parent.  There are exceptions to this.  A child with disabilities or special needs will result in a longer term child support payment.

The purpose of child support is to pay towards the cost of day to day child expenses such as food, housing and clothing.  Other expenses such as extracurricular activities or medicines are dealt with as Special and Extraordinary Expenses. The payor parent is not entitled to an accounting of how the funds are being used.  A payor parent may not purchase supplies for the child and deem this to be child support.

Contact us at Heft Law for a No Fee 30 minute initial consultation to discuss your rights and obligations as regards child support.

Special and Extraordinary Expenses

In addition to child support, there are special and extraordinary expenses also called Section 7 expenses.

Special and extraordinary expenses include such things as daycare, summer camp, dental costs, orthodontia, medical expenses, extra-curricular activities and post-secondary education costs. Special and extraordinary expenses incurred on behalf of the child are shared in proportion to each parent’s income and are in addition to the child support payment.

Activities like hockey, dance, piano, skiing and similar activities are considered add-ons and they must pass a “reasonable” and “necessary” test: is the expense necessary and if necessary, is it reasonable in light of the financial circumstances of this family? For example, if the combined income of the parents is $60,000, then it would be unreasonable for the child to go to a summer camp costing $20,000.

At Heft Law, we have experience as well as creative solutions for issues regarding special and extraordinary expenses.  Contact us for your No Fee 30 minute initial consultation.

Family Responsibility Office

Child support can be paid directly to the recipient parent or it can be paid through the Family Responsibility Office commonly known as the FRO.  The FRO’s mandate is to enforce child support orders not interpret or change them. The FRO has great powers of enforcement when a parent is not paying their share of child support, including the ability to suspend a  drivers’ license, suspend a passport and even imprisonment.

Non-payment of child support is a serious matter.  If a parent is not paying their child support obligation because of an inability to pay due to job loss or other financial hardship, then it needs to be addressed immediately, usually by a process known as a Motion to Change an Order.  FRO cannot change support orders as their mandate is enforcement only.

Contact us at Heft Law for a No Fee 30 minute initial consultation if you need assistance with the FRO and enforcement of child support.  At Heft Law,  we have extensive experience dealing with the FRO and protecting your rights.