New Federal Child Support Guidelines came into effect

November 23, 2017

By: Jeff Li

On November 21, 2017, the new updated Federal Child Support Guidelines and the corresponding Child Support Table came into effect. It is important for those parents who pay or receive child support to use the new Tables to determine the quantum of child support.

Backgrounder: Child Support and Child Support Tables

In Canada, a separated or divorced parent needs to pay child support to the other parent who lives primarily with the children. To streamline the method and process in determining child support, the Government legislated the Federal Child Support Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) which must be applied throughout Canada. The child support has two components: one is the Table amount which can be determined by simply looking up the Child Support Table. The other is the special and extraordinary expenses, which are defined in section 7 of the Guidelines (hence it is also called “section 7 expenses”).

The Federal Child Support Tables set out the basic monthly amounts of child support, which must follow the principles and calculations mandated by the Guidelines, and have gone through several permutations. One of the elements in setting the Table amount is tax. Theoretically, the Table should be updated whenever there is an important change in the tax rules. As socio-economic conditions and tax rules vary in different provinces, there is a corresponding Table applicable in each province.

The previous Tables had not been updated since 2011, which was based on the tax rules effective as of 2011. The updated Guidelines and corresponding Tables have now been amended to reflect more recent tax rules, and have been incorporated into an updated version that takes effect on November 22, 2017.

As a result of the changed conditions, the Table amount child support has been increased in the latest Tables. For example, for support of two children based on the support payor’s income of $50,000, the Table amount child support was $743 under the previous (2011) Table (for Ontario). Now it is $755 under the current Table. If the support payor’s income is $150,000, the previous Table amount was $2,012. Now, it is $2,077 under the new Table.

The new 2017 Guidelines and Tables come into force on November 21, 2017.   For people who need to determine how much child support is owed for a period before that date, the prior version of the Guidelines should still be used. In addition to the Tables, one may also use an online calculator to determine the Table amount.

Imputed Income

If there is no dispute about the support payor’s income, the determination of the Table amount child support is straight forward. The starting point in determining the support payor’s income is the Total Income (line 150) in his/her Notice of Assessment. In some cases, however, the income reported in the payor’s Notice of Assessment does not reflect the true income of the support payor. This is often the situation where the support payor is self-employed or has his/her own business or companies. If the reported income does not reflect that person’s true income, an income may be imputed to him/her to determine the appropriate amount of child support. You may wish to consult with a family law lawyer if you are seeking to impute income to a support payor.

 

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