the right of the child

Children have the right to be financially supported by both of their parents upon divorce or separation.

The starting point for determining child support is exchanging the financial information of both parties. Learn more about that step by clicking here. Once we have the relevant income information of both parties, we can then work on finding a reasonable child support payment.

The law is different depending upon whether your children are children of a marriage or not. For divorcing parents, we look to the federal Divorce Act and the Federal Child Support Guidelines for guidance. For unmarried parents, Alberta’s Family Law Act and Alberta Child Support Guidelines apply. There are some very important differences between the federal and provincial legislation – how long child support is payable, for example. Complications can arise where there is a shared parenting arrangement, where one or both parents have incomes over $150,000 or are self-employed, or when someone is behind on their child support payments.

There are two types of child support: a base amount, for day-to-day living expenses; and another amount for special or extraordinary expenses (often referred to as “section 7 expenses”). The base child support is paid on a monthly basis, and is dependent on the parenting schedule. Section 7 expenses are not included in the base child support and are shared proportionately based on both parents’ incomes. Section 7 expenses may include the following:

  •  child care expenses incurred as a result of the custodial parent’s employment, illness, disability or education or training for employment;

  • that portion of the medical and dental insurance premiums attributable to the child;

  • health-related expenses that exceed insurance reimbursement by at least $100 annually, including orthodontic treatment, professional counselling provided by a psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist or any other person, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and prescription drugs, hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses;

  • extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school education or for any other educational programs that meet the child’s particular needs;

  • expenses for post-secondary education; and

  • extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities.

At Oakley Family Law, child support doesn’t need to be complicated. Contact us online or call us today at 587-943-1394, and let us help you understand the Guidelines, what child support should look like, and what you should do next.

Absolutely thrilled to work with such an attentive, caring woman. Melissa has been an invaluable resource. – E.F.

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