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Do I have to pay my ex for special or extraordinary expenses?

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My ex-wife  put my kids into after-school programs (hockey and other extracurricular activities) without my consent or permission, and is now asking for 60% of my share for the costs after months, or more than a year later. Is she automatically allowed to receive this payment? She makes good money.

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Maybe — but it is certainly not automatic.  As with so many aspects of Family Law, it all depends on your fact situation.

The Federal Child Support Guidelines sets (and its mirror counterpart legislation, the Ontario Child Support Guidelines) out that “special or extraordinary expenses” might be payable from one of you to the other in some circumstances.  They are found in section 7 of both pieces of legislation, which is why they are often referred to as “Section 7 Expenses”.

These are different from the basic child support amount that you may be required to pay under an order or agreement, and constitute additional expenses that:

  • Are necessary because they are in your child’s best interests; and
  • Are reasonable, considering the means of both of you as parents, and the means of your child, in light of your spending patterns before you and your Ex separated.

The Guidelines set out a long and definitive list of what can be considered to be “special or extraordinary expenses”, and includes certain health-related and educational or extracurricular expenses that your Ex may incur for your child.   After-school programs and extracurricular sports can qualify, but it depends on many factors including your pre-separation lifestyle and spending habits.

There are also special rules in the Guidelines for determining whether an expense can be considered “extraordinary” for these purposes, and is tied partly to what your Ex earns and can reasonably pay.

As you can see, the determination of whether you have to pay your Ex special or extraordinary expenses is a complicated one. It is always wise to get the advice of an experienced Family Lawyer who can tailor the advice to your scenario.

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