We’ve written before about child support in Ontario, and the obligation for every parent to financially support their children. And while parents usually have a general idea about how child support is calculated, not everyone is aware that there are two components to child support.
The table amount is intended to help cover everyday expenses for the child, including clothing, food, and shelter. But section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines (also known as special or extraordinary expenses) encompasses those costs that are over and above the normal ones that usually accompany the raising of a child. These expenses may include:
*Child care expenses incurred as a result of the custodial parent’s employment, illness, disability or education or training for employment
*The portion of the medical and dental insurance premiums attributable to the child
*Health-related expenses that exceed insurance reimbursement by at least $100 annually, including orthodontic treatment, professional counselling provided by a psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist or any other person, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and prescription drugs, hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses
*Extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school education or for any other educational programs that meet the child’s particular needs
*Expenses for post-secondary education
*Extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities
What qualifies as an extraordinary expense will differ for every family, depending on the parents’ individual incomes, the necessity of the expense in relation to the child’s best interests, and whether the expense would have been something the parents would have paid for prior to the divorce. So, while swimming lessons may be covered under the table amount for two parents that have a combined income of $200,000, it would likely be an extraordinary expense for parents who have a combined income of $80,000.
Generally, both parents need to be in agreeance about the necessity of the expense as it is shared by the spouses in proportion to their respective annual gross incomes after deducting tax incentives, and contributions from the child (if applicable).
If one parent does not agree to pay for a special or extraordinary expense, the other parent can submit a request to court for a judge to determine if it is reasonable for both parties to cover the expense.
To gain a clearer understanding of how section 7 expenses may factor into your support obligations, contact us to meet with one of our lawyers.