In Canada, child support is determined by the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The amount of child support you will pay is dependent on your income and the number of children you are supporting. The Guidelines provide a minimum, known as the “Table Amount”, which is the automatic minimum. To determine the amount for your particular situation, you can consult the Child Support Tables, or simply input your information into Justice Canada’s Child Support Calculator, found here.

If your income is over $150,000, a judge may order you to pay more than the Table Amount in child support. This can be for a number of reasons, the most common being to keep your children in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. Child support payments above and beyond the table amount are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Despite the fact that Child Support quantums are crystal clear in Canada, there are sadly many parents who fail to pay the required amount out of inability or animosity towards their ex-spouse. Refusing to pay is never the answer. Courts do not look kindly on it, and your children will be the ones to suffer.

In 2011, a New York judge took an unusual approach to dealing with a deadbeat dad who had been delinquent with child support payments for his 2 daughters to the tune of $14,000.  Calling the violation “egregious”, the judge opted not to jail the father, but to put restrictions on his discretionary spending until the arrears had been fully repaid. The restricted items included cigarettes, cell phones, television, internet service, movie tickets, jewellery, magazines and newspapers.

When it comes to supporting your children, your relationship with your ex-spouse is inconsequential. As parents, you both have a responsibility to ensure the well-being of your children, and to make the separation or divorce process as easy on them as possible. Your kids are your responsibility. Do the right thing.

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