Shared Custody

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Family Law - Child support
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ministry of the Attorney General

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When can a parent pay less child support?
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Shared Custody

If your child lives with you and your partner for about the same amount of time over the year, this kind of custody arrangement is called shared custody or shared care.

This means spending at least 40% of the time with each parent. Time is generally calculated by counting the number of hours the parent is responsible for the child, not the number of hours the parent is physically with the child.

For example, the time the child is at swimming lessons or school is credited to the parent who is responsible for the child during that time.

The court usually decides the amount of child support by first looking at the table amount for each parent based on their gross annual income. Gross income means income before taxes and most other deductions. There are two ways to find this amount:

  • Look at line 150 income on the income tax return or notice of assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Look at pay stubs for a full year and add up the earnings before deductions.

There is an online calculator at the Child Support Table Look-up that can help you figure out the table amount of child support.

Usually, the court then subtracts the smaller amount from the larger amount. This amount is called the set off. The parent who would pay more in child support pays the set-off to the parent who would pay less in child support.

The court may also take into account the increased costs of shared custody on each parent, and the situation of each parent to meet those costs when deciding child support.

Example: George and Eva have shared custody of their daughter. George's gross income is $70,000. Eva's gross income is $40,000.

Using the Ontario Child Support Tables, George would have to pay monthly child support of $654 based on his gross income of $70,000 for one child. Eva would have to pay monthly child support of $359 based on her gross income of $40,000 for one child.

The monthly difference between $654 and $359 is $295. George pays Eva $295 in monthly child support for their daughter.

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Department of Justice Canada
Reviewed: August 31, 2017

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