FAQs on Child Support

The percentage ratio of people undergoing divorce in Canada has risen largely and this has led to homes having single parents. As a result there are a number of aspects that arise due to divorce such as separation, child support, spousal support, child visitation and access. There are a number of frequently asked questions in respect of child support. This article will address some of these questions.

Question: What is the difference between child support and child maintenance?

Answer: The only major difference between child support and child maintenance is that child support is governed or regulated by the Federal Divorce Act while child maintenance is governed or regulated by the Maintenance and Custody Act. Further, child maintenance is a provincial law while child support is a federal law.

Question: How do I know that the child support I am paying is being spent properly and for my child?

Answer: The short answer is that you do not know, mainly because child support is meant to be a contribution to the basic necessities of the child that is housing, food, clothing etc. further, neither the court nor the Maintenance Enforcement Program will keep track of what the parent receiving child support spends the money on. However, the table amount assumes that the parent caring for the child is always contributing to the financial support of the child. Therefore, the amount a parent pays for child support is the paying parent’s contribution as they would if they were living with the other parent and child helping each other with the child’s expenses.

Question: What is imputed income?

Answer: If the court feels that the amount of income a parent claims that they earn is not a true or fair reflection of his or her actual income, then the court attributes income to that person. The act of attributing income to a parent is imputing income. If a court imputes income to a parent this means that the court can set the child support amount based on what the person should be earning (i.e. the imputed income) instead of what they are earning or claim to be earning.

A court may impute a parent’s income under the following circumstances:

  • The parent is purposefully unemployed or underemployed (unless due to reasonable educational or health needs or this is a requirement for the needs of the child)
  • The parent is exempt (legally is not to pay) income tax
  • The parent lives in a country where income tax is much lower than in Canada
  • The parent appears to have diverted or hidden his or her income which would affect the level of child support
  • The parent’s property is not reasonably used to generate income
  • The parent failed to provide income information as required by the court.

In respect of cases or situations relating to the imputing of one’s income it is imperative that the parent seek legal assistance from a lawyer who handles matters regarding Toronto divorce law. This will allow him or her to receive advice on ways to deal with the imputing of income.

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