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How is the amount of child support determined?

Even after divorce, both parents have a legal duty to support their children financially.

Once you have worked out the residential arrangements for your children, you will need to look at the payment of child support. Before granting a divorce, the judge must be satisfied that appropriate financial arrangements have been made.

You will use a set of rules and tables, called child support guidelines, to help you figure out the amount of child support. The federal government has produced a number of publications to help you calculate child support.

Who pays child support depends on the child’s residential arrangements. The basic amount is based on three things:

  • the paying parent’s income;
  • the number of children involved; and
  • the province or territory where the paying parent lives.

In some circumstances, the base amount can be increased or decreased. For example, the amount could be adjusted if the children have special expenses, such as childcare. The amount could also be adjusted to prevent financial hardship for a parent or the children. This might be fair when, for example, the parent paying the child support is suffering a hardship—perhaps because that parent is supporting a new family and has a lower standard of living than the parent receiving the child support.

  • The person who receives the child support payments does not have to list them as income on his or her income tax form.
  • The person paying the child support cannot deduct the support payments from his or her income.