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What should we do if we can't agree on child support?
If you and your partner cannot agree on child support, with or without the help of lawyers, you have a few options. You can:
- use the Ontario government's child support service
- ask a family law professional to help you resolve your issues
- go to court and ask a judge to decide.
A parent cannot agree to "give up" receiving child support just because they don't want to deal with the other parent. Child support is a right of the child. The law says that both parents are responsible for financially supporting their dependent children.
Online child support service
You and your partner may be able to use the Ontario government’s online Child Support Service (CSS) to get child support.
The government uses income information to calculate how much child support should be paid. In general, the CSS can only decide child support in simple cases where the table amount applies. It can only be used for some special or extraordinary expenses. And, it does not allow for retroactive child support.
Family law professionals
There are different types of family law professionals who can help you and your partner resolve your issues. These are neutral people who are trained to work with both of you to help you reach an agreement or make a decision for you.
For example, each family court location in Ontario offers subsidized mediation services. You can get up to 8 hours of mediation for a fee that is based on each person's income. You can use this service whether or not you have a court case. And if you have a court case, you can get up to 2 hours of mediation for free at the court.
These processes are sometimes called alternative dispute resolution because they help solve your issues without going to court.
Go to court
If you and your partner still cannot agree even with the help of a family law professional, or if this is not the right option for you, one of you will have to start a family law court case.
A family court makes decisions using the family law rules and laws. Going to court can be a complicated process and it can take a lot of time. It can be stressful and expensive, but it is sometimes necessary to decide your issues.
Changing the process
You don't have to stick with one of these options. For example, you and your partner might not be able to solve your case with the help of a family law professional, so you decide to go to court.
Or you might start a court case first, but then you and your partner agree to pause your case while you try to reach an agreement with the help of a family law professional.