Child Support Lawyer Toronto
One of the most basic obligations for people that are separated is the obligation of one parent to pay child support to the other parent, if the latter parent has the child or children in his or her physical custody more than 60% of the time. When it comes to child support, the “custody”, or decision-making arrangements, are not what matters; rather, it is who has the physical care of the child most of the time.
When one parent has the child 60% of the time, there is no question that one parent must pay full Guidelines table child support to the other. However, if the sharing is 55-45 or some other combination, the situation is more complex. In those situations, one parent may have to pay the offset of the parents’ child support obligation,
- no child support,
- full child support, or
- one of many options in between
The formula for how to determine what support ought to be paid is not straight forward. Our Toronto child support lawyers can help you with this process for determining child support.
How is Child Support Calculated?
In straightforward cases, the payor can simply pay based on the tables in the Child Support Guidelines. However, many cases can become more complex. Child support becomes complex when the parents share close to equal time with the child or children. In addition, child support can get complex when the payor is not just a salaried employee. For example, a payor may run his or her own company, may earn cash “under the table”, or may have multiple sources of income.
Sometimes, third-party professionals, like income and business valuators, are required to assist with determining income. How income is added back to someone who runs their own corporation and how to include their deductions in income can become very complicated.
Indeed, child support can become complicated in a lot of different cases. The Child Support Guidelines Tables don’t always apply in situations where a child is over 18 and away at school, where the parents share time close to equally, as discussed above, and where a child is over 18 and disabled. Therefore, it is not just determining income that can be tricky, but also determining what amount of child support someone has to pay even if his or her income is known.
Divorce Source has extensive experience in cases involving adult children, and especially adult disabled children, who still are entitled to child support. These type of situations can be very complex. Whether you are the payor or the recipient, Divorce Source lawyers can provide you experience-based guidance on how to conduct a case dealing with these issues.
When Does Child Support End?
Child support generally ends when a child is 18 and no longer in a “full-time” education program. However, the definition of “full-time” is flexible and it may not mean simply the common meaning of the word. Child support may end after one degree at university or college, or after two degrees. For adult disabled children, child support may only end once a parent dies or the child is no longer residing with the care-giving parent.
One positive element for recipients of child support is that a government organization, the Family Responsibility Office, or FRO, enforces child support payments. That means that rather than pay a lawyer to garnish pay, put liens on property, or seize bank accounts, a government organization can do that for you. The FRO also has other measures at its disposal to enforce support, including, in some extreme cases, imprisonment. The FRO exists because the government believes it is important that people should not have to spend their own funds chasing child support payors for money owed to them for either child or spousal support. The FRO can also be useful because they track the support paid and therefore can help avoid disputes over what has or what has not been paid. However, it is important to remember that the FRO is like the police officer, not the judge. The FRO can only enforce what the judge orders and does not determine the amount of support independently.
Like custody and spousal support, child support can be varied if there is a “material change in circumstances.” This means that if something important has changed regarding either party’s income, child support may be varied. Therefore, it is never really final. Courts are more flexible about changing child support than about almost any other issue. Child support is the right of the child and, because of that, courts want to make sure that the amount of child support being paid accords properly with a parent’s income. Any dollar not paid in child support is a dollar going towards an adult instead of a child.
In addition, like legal fees for spousal support, any legal fees you incur to obtain child support can be deducted from your taxes. This can be very significant and effectively results in lowered legal fees that are partially supplemented by the government, by way of reduced income taxes. The lawyers at Divorce Source can provide you the documentation you need to claim this deduction and ensure you are able to benefit even further from any claim for child support.
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The lawyers at Divorce Source can help you navigate this area of the law to ensure your rights are protected and you pay or receive the proper child support amount.
When you meet with a Divorce Source lawyer, we immediately assess your goals for the case, what needs to be done, and what documents you need to obtain. Getting organized from the beginning is a critical aspect to a case to make sure costs are reduced and your child support case is handled properly. Divorce Source provides a tailored approach to your case, as we understand that each case is unique and does not fit into a “cookie cutter” mold. Everyone has different goals and objectives for their child support case, and lawyers at Divorce Source understand that. Divorce Source is your source for all matters relating to your child support case.