When parents separate, the parent who does not have custody is usually required to help pay for the daily needs of the children. This money is called child support. It is not a punishment or reward for the behaviour of the parents. The goal of child support is to make sure that both parents contribute to the financial support of their children.
When child support is calculated, the deterioration of the relationship between parents is not a contributing factor. Child support is based on the best interests of the child. There are different regulations that will apply, depending on the relationship between the separating parties.
You may have to pay child support if you fall under one of the following categories
Collecting child support can be a challenge. There are various different ways you can receive child support.
Domestic Contract – Both parents may come to a written agreement about child support outside of Court. A judge will look at the amount to see if it is reasonable in comparison to the Child Support Guidelines.
Support Enforcement agency – If both parents cannot agree but want to work out the issue outside of Court, the services of the Support Enforcement Agency can be used.
Court Application – If an agreement cannot be reached between the parents, a judge can decide the issue in Court. However, upon making application directly to the Court for child support, the application will be forwarded to Family Justice Services. The Parent Information Session offered by Family Justice Services is mandatory and there is an expectation the parties will engage in mediation services.
Child support is typically payable until the age of majority, which is 19 years of age in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Support is normally paid beyond this age if the children continue to be dependent on the parents; reasons for dependency might include that the child is attending post-secondary school (university or college) or that the child is physically or mentally disabled.
Child support amounts are based on a set of rules called ‘child support guidelines’. The guidelines are based on a number of factors, including the number of children, the parenting arrangement, and the income of the paying parent (income usually found on Line 150 of your Income Tax Return).
The amounts calculated according to the guidelines can be increased or decreased according to the situation, Judges have very little freedom to deviate from the Guidelines.
There are Federal and Provincial Guidelines, the amounts of child support are the same in each set of Guidelines.
Federal Child Support Guidelines apply if:
Provincial Child Support Guidelines apply if:
NOTE: The amount of child support ordered may be different from the Guidelines if the parent or child is experiencing undue hardship. Parties can also apply for special expenses (such as medical, dental, child care, post-secondary education, etc.) which may be shared on a proportional basis between both parents. These are special circumstances. You should speak to a lawyer if you think you have special circumstances that impact the amount of child support required.