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Jackie Porter | Guest Author

Receiving and Paying Child Support What You Need to Know

You have two children who will be residing with your former partner 50 percent of the time. You have elected to have joint custody of your children in the separation agreement. What will your legal obligations be to your children in terms of child support? What will your former partner be entitled to as the recipient of child support payments? Read on for the essential information you need to know: whether you are paying or receiving child support.

Understanding Child Support

You have a legal obligation to financially support your dependent children. Typically, when a relationship breaks down and children are involved, there is an agreement between former partners. One that addresses where the child will reside most of the time now that they are living apart. Are you the partner who cares for the child most of the time? Do you manage the day to costs associated with raising the child? You have sole custody. Are you are the person who does not live with your child on a regular basis? You have a legal duty to provide financial support to your children and pay your ex partner the funds necessary to care for your child. This payment is child support.

The arrangement of custody can do via a court order or written in a separation agreement. Custody can also be arranged informally between the ex-partners.

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Calculating Child Support

Monthly basic child support is the table amount. The basic amount is calculated based on your gross annual income when you are legally responsible to pay support. The parent required to pay support is the payor parent. Child support payments are also calculated based on the number of children you have. They factor in the gross income the payor parent earns before taxes.

When it comes to calculating support, if you earn more than your ex you could still need to pay child support. Even if you and your ex-partner spend an equal amount of time with your child and split custody!

If you are legally becoming the payor, you may want to reach an agreement with your ex before court. Consider the amount of child support they will need, to care for your children. Please refer to the government of Canada child support tables for each province and territory.

Common Expenses For Child Support to Cover

Expenses would include groceries, clothing school supplies and other basic expenses. Ones that would normally cover if the child lived with the payor parent full time.

Paying Child Support

Other Factors that may affect the support claim amount now and in the future.

Do you have young children in daycare? Costs of daycare are normally not covered in calculating basic child support. These would be an extra expense that may increase your support payment. Older children can also come with additional expenses if your children are in post secondary education.

On the other hand, if you are experiencing financial hardship, as the payor parent, you may be able to reduce your monthly support obligation.

 Another factor to consider is the date the agreement came into effect and if you are up to date on the payments. You may need to pay up any outstanding payments as well as your ongoing obligation as the payor parent.

Enforcement of Child Support

If you are having trouble staying on top of your child support payments, as the payor parent, you may be susceptible to enforcement by the Family Responsibility Office (FRO). FRO is a government agency can collect support directly from the payor parent and keeps record of the payments and then pays them out to the recipient.  You need to know that if your child support payments resulted from a court order, or your ex-partner registered the separation agreement with the family responsibility office, FRO can collect support payments on your partners behalf for any payor who lives in Canada, the US and approximately 30 other countries. It is advisable to work with your ex-  directly on getting support payments up to date if you fall behind with your payments to avoid enforcement.

How to Financially Prepare To be Payor Parent

Remember the support payments you need to pay contribute to your children’s well being. Now may be a good time to revisit your overall financial situation to minimize the support payments impact on your lifestyle as much as possible, if you are concerned about your ability to pay them now that you are facing paying the bills on your own.  Reviewing your financial circumstances is also an important money move to make if are also reliant on child support payments to fund your new household as a single parent.  Check out my article Finance 101 for the newly divorced to learn financial steps you can take to improve cashflow as forge a new life on your own on solid financial footing…

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