Following the breakdown of the marriage, if there are children of the relationship, one of the first issues parties typically wish to address is child support. Determining the amount of child support payable is done by determining both parent’s incomes for the current financial year and by taking into consideration the living arrangements of the children. If you and the other parent are salaried T4 employees, then this calculation is typically straight forward. However, child support can often become tricky if one party is self employed, owns a corporation or earns income from multiple revenue streams. Our Calgary child support lawyers are well versed in assisting clients determine the appropriate amount of child support no matter their income.
Calgary Child Support Lawyers and Financial Disclosure
In Alberta, one of the first steps in determining child support is the exchange of financial disclosure to determine the parties incomes, assets, liabilities and monthly budgets. Initially, disclosure will be exchanged pursuant to a standard Notice to Disclose Application. The disclosure can be exchanged on a voluntary basis, or the parties may opt to file a Notice to Disclose Application. Once filed, the parties are obligated to exchange their financial documents within 30 days. If either party refuses to provide their disclosure, or only provides partial disclosure, the other party can seek on order from the Court for all outstanding financial documents. If, following this order being granted, full financial disclosure is still not provided, then the court can order costs against the party who is not providing their financial documents. As such, the most efficient and cost-effective way to move forward is by providing full disclosure on a voluntary basis.
When to Hire Child Support Lawyers
Your divorce / family law lawyer will be able to assist you with determining the amount of child support payable. It is important to note that in Alberta, child support is considered the right of the child and you are not able to opt out of child support without fully satisfying that the means and needs of the child will be met. However, there are some important circumstances which can greatly impact child support:
- Shared Parenting – if the child spends 40% or more time with each parent, and the parents earn a comparable income, they may opt to use the set off child support method. The set-off method involves each parent paying the other the amount that would be payable in the event the child was in the primary care of the other and there was no shared parenting.
- Split Parenting – split parenting is when each parent has one child in their care. In this situation, the amount of support will be the net difference between the amount that each spouse would have to pay if a child support order was sought against each of the parents.
- Adult Children – in some circumstances, child support may continue once the child reaches the age of 18. For example, the child may have developmental delays which prohibit the child from becoming self-sufficient. Post-secondary education can also impact child support if parties agree to split these fees.
What is a Section 7 Child Support Expense?
Section 7 expenses, or extraordinary expenses, are not as straight forward as base child support and can often be a grey area of the law. Typically, section 7 expenses cover things such as child care expenses, health insurance premiums, health care costs not covered by insurance in excess of $100, extraordinary extracurricular activity expenses such as hockey, horse back riding, gymnastics, extraordinary educational expenses; and postsecondary educational costs, having regard to the parties’ means and needs and the child’s ability to contribute. Parties are able to determine what they wish to include as section 7 expenses and can amend the agreeable upon section 7 through mutual agreement or court order. For example, some families consider after school child care, bussing or hot lunch programs as section 7 expenses.