Child support is what a separated or divorced parent pays to the other parent to ensure the child’s needs are being met. The parent paying child support is commonly referred to as the “paying” or “payor” parent. The payor parent has a legal obligation to provide support to the other parent to ensure the child’s needs are being met.
Child support is based on the payor’s income, and is generally determined by the Federal Child Support Guidelines.
Child support is generally payable so long as the child remains a “child” within the meaning of the applicable legislation. People commonly think that child support automatically stops once a child turns 18 or stops or completes Grade 12. This is not always the case as child support often depends on the unique circumstances of each child.
In some cases, child support will differ based on where and with whom the child is living. If the child is living with both parents on an equal or close to equal basis, this will impact child support, depending on the parents’ incomes.
“Basic” or “monthly” child support is based on the payor parent’s income and is intended to meet the child’s basic needs (e.g. rent, food, clothing, and the like). There are also obligations for each parent to ensure the child’s needs are being met in terms of “extraordinary” expenses. These can include daycare, sports, extra-curricular activities, tutors, and in some cases healthcare (depending on insurance coverage). These “extraordinary” expenses are also generally determined by the Federal Child Support Guidelines, but in these cases, both parents’ incomes are considered.