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Child Support

Children are entitled to child support until they complete a course of study at a post- secondary institution, as long as the child attended school full time.

The child support amount is based on the custody arrangement (split or shared) and the payor’s income.

The court can adjust the support payment amount to reflect changes in the payor’s income. The payor (and, if this is spousal support, the recipient) must provide the other party with a copy of his or her income tax return every year so that the other party can decide whether he or she should bring a motion to change the previous support order.

When calculating the child support amount, the payor cannot deduct from his income any support payments he pays to either spouses or children from other relationships. This rule is true regardless if the relationship was before or after the relationship in question.

Generally, the child support payments are not taxable income and are not deducted from the payor’s taxable income.

The support recipient can ask the court to calculate the child support payment amount that sets the payor’s yearly income at a higher amount than the payor’s actual income. The recipient must persuade the judge that the payor is capable of earning this higher income amount, however.

Spousal Support

Spousal support amount and duration are based largely on four factors:

  • Difference in the spouses’ incomes when they separate;
  • Number of years the parties were married;
  • The recipient’s age when the spouses separated; and
  • The amount and duration of child support payable.

Both parties exchange income tax returns every year so that both parties can decide whether to bring a motion to amend the support amount.

With regard to taxes, spousal support payments are added to the recipient’s taxable income and deducted from the payor’s taxable income.Unlike child support, the payor’s support obligations arising from his or her previous relationships are factor in determining the spousal support amount.

The payor can argue that the support amount should be less than the Guideline’s prescribed amount. Conversely, the recipient can ask for the support payments that are larger than the Guideline’s prescribed amount. First, the party asking for the different payment rate must demonstrate that he she is already voluntarily paying money for the benefit of the other party. A party assuming full responsibility for paying a mortgage in both parties’ names is one example. A claim for undue hardship can succeed, however, only if the payor’s standard of living is lower than the recipient’s’ standard of living.

As stated above, a factor in calculating spousal support amounts is the difference in the parties’ incomes. This means that both the payor and recipient can argue that the other party is not working to his or her full capability.

A recipient can bring an Application to argue that the payor should be obligated to pay support from the time of the separation to the time of the recipient’s Application. The courts will balance the recipient’s need for compensation with the potential unfairness to the payor by the surprise request for backpayments.

Support orders are enforced by a government agency called the Family Responsibility Office. It arranges the transfer of the money between parties and can ask the court to impose sanctions (including imprisonment) if the payor fails to obey support orders.

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