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What is child support?
The law says that parents are responsible for financially supporting their dependent children. Dependent usually means until the child turns 18 and sometimes longer.
A parent can be a birth parent, a non-birth parent, an adoptive parent, and sometimes a step-parent.
Generally, child support is money paid by the parent that spends the least amount of time with the child to the parent who takes care of the child most of the time. It is used to help cover the costs of caring for the child.
Even if your child spends an equal amount of time with each parent, the parent with the higher income may still have to pay some child support.
You and your partner can try to reach an agreement about child support before going to court. You can use the Child Support Guidelines and the Government of Canada's child support tables to see how much child support a judge might order.
The tables show the basic monthly amounts of child support to cover expenses like clothes, groceries, and school supplies. It is based on the gross annual income of the payor parent and the number of children they have to support. There is a separate table for each province and territory.
There are other factors that may affect the amount of child support a judge might order. For example:
- special or extraordinary expenses, like daycare that are not covered in the table amount
- the type of parenting arrangement, such as shared custody or split custody
- undue hardship or financial difficulties that make it very hard for the payor parent to pay child support
- retroactive support with a start date before the date of the court order
- children over the age of majority, which means 18 years old or older