Child support is a sum of money paid monthly and usually paid to the parent with whom the Children are primarily resident. Child support is the right of the child and the purpose is to ensure that the children continue to benefit from both parents’ financial resources. Child support is meant to cover essential expenses such as:
– School costs
Child support is determined by the Federal Child Support Guidelines (the Guidelines) and depends on the payor’s income and the number of children. The Guidelines generally apply however there are some exceptions such as when the payor earns more than $150,000.00 or where the parents share parenting time with the children equally. In the case of shared parenting arrangements, child support would be payable based on a set-off amount between the two parties’ incomes. Child support is generally adjusted year to year to take into account income changes of one or both of the parties.
Separation can be emotionally and financially challenging. Spousal support (also known as maintenance or alimony) is money paid from one spouse to the other. It is intended to help with living expenses upon separation and to encourage financial independence within a reasonable amount of time. Spouses may either reach their own agreement about spousal support and incorporate those terms into a separation agreement, or apply to court for an order for spousal support.
Unlike child support, spousal support is not automatic and the receiving spouse would need to show that they are entitled to such support. Factors to be considered in assessing entitlement are:
– The financial means and needs of both spouses
– The length of the marriage
– The roles of each spouse during their marriage
– The effect of those roles and the breakdown of the marriage on both spouse’ current financial positions
– The care of the children
The federal Divorce Act governs spousal support for married couples who are divorcing. The provincial Family Law Act governs spousal support for either unmarried in common-law relationships for married couples. Child support takes priority over spousal support where there is an application for both.