Child support can be a confusing issue for many families, with confusion leading to unpaid or overdue child support, resulting in a slew of stressful financial issues. To make matters worse, several child support myths are spreading, causing additional stress and confusion. We’ve put together this guide to debunk five myths about child support in Ontario to help you get the answers you need!
‘Once my child reaches the age of 18, I no longer have to pay child support!’
This is a common misconception that leads some parents to believe that a child’s financial obligations end when he or she reaches the age of 18. While some of this is correct, there is a caveat. Child support can be terminated at the age of 18, as long as the child is no longer financially dependent or under the control of their parents.
So, if your child has moved out, can live on their own income, and is not reliant on their parents for basic living expenses, child support can be terminated. If a child is still in full-time education, financially dependent on their parents, and living at home with their parents paying their maintenance costs, child support must be continued.
You pay the most child support if you are the parent who earns the most money.
Child support in Ontario is intended to equalize parent pay, but there are a few variables. Even if a parent earns more, he or she may not be required to pay child support. This will be determined by the parents’ shared custody. If the parent with the highest income also bears the majority of the responsibility for raising the children, they are the child support recipient, not the payor.
If the payor parent loses their job, they are not required to pay child support.
Child support is not about the parent’s financial situation, and a court will argue that regardless of the parent’s employment status, the child’s best interests and basic maintenance must come first. That means the payor must continue to pay child support regardless of their earning status. However, courts may adjust payments to better suit a parent’s earning capacity. This is referred to as ‘imputing.’
Finalized child support agreements cannot be changed.
Times change, and income patterns shift, particularly if you start paying child support when your child is young. It would be impractical for courts to assume that circumstances will not change in 18 years, so payors must provide earnings updates if the other parent requests them. If a parent’s income rises, child support arrangements can be adjusted to reflect this rise.
Changes in parenting time can also affect finalized child support agreements. For example, if a parenting arrangement reduces parenting time from 50% to 30%, the payor may be asked to pay more for their child.
‘I’m in financial difficulty, so I don’t have to pay child support!’
In the event of financial difficulties, parents will not be able to simply decide to stop paying child support. To modify the finalized support agreement, parents must reach a signed agreement. In most cases, you may be able to reduce the amount of child support you pay to more accurately reflect your earnings, but you are unlikely to be able to completely eliminate it.
Are you looking for a lawyer who has handled child support cases? Contact Baker Doodnauth.
Looking for an experienced law firm in Newmarket that can connect you with a good child support lawyer? Baker Doodnauth is the answer. Our professional and experienced lawyers will help you negotiate child support with your ex-spouse, making it easier for you to put your child’s needs first. Contact us right away to find out how we can assist you.
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