Prior to the introduction of the Child Support Guidelines on May 1, 1997 there was plenty of uncertainty regarding child support. There is still some uncertainty but a lot less.

If there was a payor earning $40,000.00 per annum we would argue about what he or she should pay in child support. The payor’s lawyer would go low and the recipient’s lawyer would go high and sometimes a Judge had to make a decision - and the decision could be different depending on the Judge. In hindsight, this all seems a bit silly. It was a waste of resources.

The federal government introduced legislation to deal with this. So, now if a payor earns $40,000.00 per annum we know what he or she will pay in child support for one child - $367.00 per month.

They are called "Guidelines" so clients think that there is some "wiggle room". However, often that is not the case as the table amount of child support is rubber stamped by courts.

If the payor can show that the payment will cause undue hardship then the amount can be reduced. However, it is a very difficult test. All child support payments cause hardship - the question is whether it is undue. As part of this test the law looks at the standard of living in each household.

The child support for payors who earn in excess of $150,000.00 per annum is not necessarily in accordance with the Guidelines but the case law has not permitted many reductions for this exception.

The Guideline amounts were first updated in 2006 and have been updated again as of December 31, 2011. A lot of people are not aware of these update.

The table amount of child support represents the payor’s contribution to the child’s expenses in the recipient’s home e.g. shelter, clothes, etc.

There is another category of expenses called section 7 expenses (you guessed it because it is in section 7 of the Guidelines). Examples, are daycare expenses for the custodial parent to go to work, health expenses, tutoring, competitive hockey, post-secondary expenses etc. If there is an expense that fits into section 7 then that expense is shared in proportion to the income of the parties. If they earn the same income then they pay 50% of the expense. If they earn more than his or her spouse then he or she pays a higher percentage of the expense.

I have information that I can send on Retroactive Child Support and more in depth information on section 7 expenses.