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Who pays child support?

Who pays child support?
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ministry of the Attorney General

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Who pays child support?
This question has an answer and 3 steps
March 1, 2018

The law says that parents are responsible for financially supporting their dependent children. Dependent usually means until the child turns 18 and sometimes longer.

When parents do not live together, the parent who cares for the child for the least amount of time usually pays child support to the parent who cares for the child most of the time. If a child spends an equal amount of time with each of their parents, the parent with the higher income may still have to pay some child support.

The parent who pays child support is called the payor. A payor can sometimes be a step-parent or other person who had a parent-like relationship with the child.

Parents must support their children even if they:

  • do not live with the children
  • do not see the children
  • are not married to the other parent
  • did not live with the other parent
  • did not have an ongoing relationship with the other parent
  • have other children from a previous or new relationship

In some situations, a parent may receive child support and income assistance. Income assistance includes Ontario Works and  Ontario Disibility Support Program.

Child support is separate from access

The right to child support and access are two different things.  They are both rights of the child. A parent cannot be denied access to their child because they do not pay child support. And a parent who does not have access may still have to pay child support.

You can only refuse to allow access in limited situations, such as if you're afraid for your child’s safety. You may have to call child protection services if you believe your child is being abused by your partner or someone in their home. If you're in this situation, get help right away.

Talk to a lawyer who can tell you what to do to keep your children safe. If you can't afford to hire a lawyer, you may be able to find legal help in other places.

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