Undue hardship

When can a parent pay less child support?
This question has an answer and 5 steps

Undue hardship

The term undue hardship means that financial difficulties are making it very hard for the payor parent to pay the amount of child support set out in the Child Support Guidelines and the Government of Canada’s child support tables.

Or, it can mean that the parent receiving child support is finding it very hard to support the child with the table amount.

Some reasons for undue hardship are:

  • You have an unusual or excessive amount of debt.
  • You have to make other support payments to children of another family.
  • You are supporting a disabled or ill person.
  • You have to spend a lot of money to have access to the child.

Undue hardship is difficult to prove.

The court uses a "Household Standards of Living Test". The court compares the standard of living in your household with your partner's household.

The court compares all the money coming into your house, including income from a new partner, to the money coming into the other parent's house. This is the only time that the income of a new partner is relevant.

If you can show that the standard of living in your household is less than the other parent's, you may be successful. But, if you have a higher standard of living than the other parent’s household, you cannot get a reduction in child support payments.

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Department of Justice Canada
Reviewed: August 31, 2017

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