Divorce in Ontario and the
Federal Child Support Guidelines
The Federal Child Support Guidelines (Federal Guidelines) are regulations made under the Divorce Act. They set out some rules and tables to show how much child support parents should pay when they divorce. The child support amounts in the tables reflect what parents living in the same province, with the same incomes and the same number of children would spend on their children.
The goal of the Federal Guidelines is to set a fair standard of support for children. The Federal Guidelines have been shown to reduce conflict and tension between parents because they make child support calculations fair, objective and predictable. They also help parents come to an agreement about support by themselves so they do not have to go to court. Going to court can be an expensive, time consuming and stressful experience but it may be necessary in some cases.
If you negotiate a child support agreement out-of-court, you are not bound by the Guidelines. However, a court may (will likely not) enforce an agreement where you agreed to accept/pay child support that less than the applicable Federal Guidelines Table amount.
Also note: the Guidelines Table amount is the ‘base’ monthly child support amount. The Guidelines call for proportionate sharing of ‘special and extraordinary expenses’ based on the parties’ respective incomes. See Section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines.
Click here for an online child support calculator.