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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Child Support Rules in Canada

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A Cook, Software analyst & Blogger.

Child Support Rules in Canada: Divorce is hard enough without the added complications of child custody and support negotiations. But, when children are involved, you can’t have a divorce without also working out a custody agreement and a support arrangement to ensure your kids are taken care of regardless of your situation with your former spouse.

GDH LLP Family Lawyers provide insight into the child support rules in Canada to help you navigate this difficult time in your life.

Main Premise

The family courts in Canada have one main premise when considering child support and that is “all children should continue to benefit from the financial means of both parents as if they were still together.” This means that the children should not experience a lower standard of living as a result of their parents’ divorce. 

It further means that child support is the right of the children and that one parent cannot negotiate their way out of paying child support even if the other parent agrees.

In other words, if you are the non-custodial parent of a minor child or children, you are responsible for paying child support to ensure your kids maintain their standard of living.


The Canadian government has devised a child support calculation based on income, the residency arrangements for the children, the number of children involved, and the providence or territory where each parent lives. These amounts are in a table known as the Child Support Guideline Table and are essentially written in stone. With few exceptions, parents pay the amounts on this table based on their gross income.

In some instances, you may be required to pay more than the table’s stated amount, particularly if the courts order payment for day care, educational expenses, healthcare or medical expenses not covered by insurance, extracurricular activities, and other expenses that aren’t factored into the table’s calculations. The only way you will pay less than the stated amount is if you petition the court for a reduction and the court grants it.

Private Agreements

You don’t have to go to court to get a child support order. If your separation is amicable, you can write your own agreement that may have some flexibility built in based on income fluctuations. The only rule that you have to follow when you write a private child support agreement is that both parties agree that the amount is fair and binding. Be aware that your agreement is subject to a court’s review if either party later becomes dissatisfied with the agreement or if either party later files for divorce.

Child Support Rules in Canada
Source: Gettyimages

Couples tend to use the government’s child support tables as a starting point for their private agreements. They then make provisions based on special circumstances that might require a party to pay more or less than the stated amount. For instance, a couple might decide to delay the sale of their house so their children can continue to live in it. This might warrant a lower payment from the non-custodial parent because they are losing their fair share of the home.

Conclusion: Child Support Rules in Canada

The important thing to keep in mind with regard to child support is that the money benefits your children. Not paying it only hurts them, so whatever your agreement is, stick to it. If you need a reduction, contact an attorney to help you take your case to court.

FAQ: Child Support Rules in Canada

How much does a father pay for child support in Canada?

A father pays for child support in Canada based on his income and the number of children he is responsible for. The amount of child support a father pays is set by the Federal Child Support Guidelines.

What happens if you don’t pay child support Canada?

If you do not pay child support in Canada, you may be subject to wage garnishment, seizure of assets, or denial of passports.

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