Administrative Recalculation Program

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This Program recalculates the table amount of child support where a court order or registered agreement allows for this to happen. The recalculation happens once a year at the time of the anniversary of the court order. The Program recalculates certain child support orders based on updated income information provided by the parent paying support. The person paying support is called the ‘payor.’

Only orders that have a section in them saying that they are a part of this Program can be considered for recalculation. There are other requirements for using this Program as well, like what the payor’s income source is. The Program allows parents to update the table amount of child support without having to file a court application, pay a filing fee or negotiate with each other.

If you are a lawyer and need information about the Administrative Recalculation Program, click here.

1. What is the Administrative Recalculation of Child Maintenance or Support Program?

This Program recalculates the table amount of child support where a court order or registered agreement allows for this to happen. The recalculation happens once a year at the time of the anniversary of the court order. The Program recalculates certain child support orders based on updated income information provided by the parent paying support. The person paying support is called the ‘payor.’

Only orders that have a section in them saying that they are a part of this Program can be considered for recalculation. There are other requirements for using this Program as well, like what the payor’s income source is. The Program allows parents to update the table amount of child support without having to file a court application, pay a filing fee or negotiate with each other.

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2. Why would I want an order to go through the Recalculation Program?

There may be many reasons. The Program makes the process of updating an order quicker, cheaper and easier for most parties.  This is because, under this Program, people generally do not have to go to court to get a new order, they do not have to take time off work, hire a child care provider, travel, or get a lawyer. They do not have to negotiate with the other parent. All that has to happen is that the paying parent files the most recent income tax information as directed and the Program will do the rest.  Having legal advice is always recommended, though.

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3. What is the start date for the Program?

November 1, 2014.

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4. Is the Program available all through the province?

Yes. There is one office that covers all of Nova Scotia. The contact information, including a toll free number, is:

NS Administrative Recalculation of Child Maintenance Program

P.O. Box 23

Halifax, NS   B3J 2L4

Telephone: (902) 424-0600

Toll Free Telephone: 1-844-424-0600 (outside Metro Halifax)

Fax: (902) 424-0840

Email: Admin.recalc@novascotia.ca 

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5. Is recalculation done automatically?

Yes, as long as the order or registered agreement has been accepted into the Recalculation Program then recalculation will be done automatically on an annual basis.

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6. Is there a fee for this Program?

There is no fee. Parties must pay a fee to make a court application, though.

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7. Does either party have the right to get legal advice in this process?

Yes. Getting legal advice is always recommended for anyone going through a legal process. For information about how to get legal advice, click here.

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8. How is a child support order recalculated?

The Recalculation Program Office sends out a notice when the anniversary of the court order is approaching. This happens 90 days before the anniversary date. The payor must file updated financial information at least 60 days before the anniversary date of the order. Once the information is received by the Program, the table amount of child support will be reviewed and changed, if appropriate, based on the updated information. If a payor does not file updated financial information, the payor’s income is assumed to be 10% more than the payor’s income as stated in the most recent order.

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9. Are all child support orders able to be recalculated?

The court or the Recalculation Program may not recalculate an order if certain circumstances exist. For example, if either the person paying support or the person receiving support does not ordinarily live in Nova Scotia, the order will not be recalculated.

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10. Is a recalculation the same as a variation?

No – recalculation and variations (changing a previous order) are two separate things, although they both may result in a change to the amount of child support payable.

Recalculation allows child support payments to be changed based on updated income information and happens once a year around the anniversary date of the order that put the Program in place. The recalculated amount of child support payable will take effect 31 days after both parents have received notice of it. A recalculation cannot deal with arrears or support payments prior to the date the recalculated order takes effect.

A variation can make changes to an order other than the base amount of child support. These changes can include prior support payments and arrears, or making changes to an order based on a change in circumstances other than income. An example of a change in circumstances is when a child is no longer dependent or is moving to live with the other parent. Only a judge can order a variation of child support. For more information about variations, click here.

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11. Who is eligible for child support recalculation?

To be eligible, both parties must live in Nova Scotia. They must have a court order that allows automatic recalculation of child support.

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12. Does it matter whether I was married to the other parent or not?

No, it does not matter. The Program applies to recalculation of child support orders made under the Maintenance and Custody Act or the Divorce Act.

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13. What kinds of child support orders are covered?

Orders can be recalculated only for the table amount of child support. They must be final orders - not interim orders - made under the Maintenance and Custody Act or the Divorce Act.

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14. What kinds of situations does the Recalculation Program cover?

In order to use this Program, the order and the parties’ circumstances have to meet the following requirements:

  • The order must say that the child support will be recalculated at regular times in accordance with the Program
  • The order must contain an amount for child support based on the Child Maintenance Guidelines or Child Support Guidelines and tables (even if the payor’s income is $150,000 or above)
  • The order must be based on the annual income of the parent paying the child support and not a pattern of income or an undue hardship amount
  • Both parents must ordinarily live in Nova Scotia
  • The order cannot be an interim order
  • The parties cannot have a shared custody arrangement
  • The payor cannot have income from self-employment or partnership, be in control of a corporation or receive dividend income
  • The order cannot have a calculation of child support that is not based on the tables if the payor stands in the place of a parent (is a guardian of a child)

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15. Can orders that include special expenses be part of the Recalculation Program?

Yes, but only the table amount will be automatically recalculated.  The part of the order dealing with special expenses could be dealt with by making an application to the court or through other kinds of negotiation if changes are needed. 

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16. What does the court order need to say to allow recalculation to take place?

Standard clauses are used in the order to allow the recalculation of child maintenance or support. You can find the standard form of order to allow recalculation here.

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17. I have a child support order and it doesn’t have a recalculation clause in it. What do I do to get a recalculation order?

If your current child support order does not provide for recalculation under the Program, you must apply to the court for an order authorizing the recalculation of child support under the Program. If you and the other parent are able to agree that the child support order should be part of the Program, you can enter into a consent order stating this. The order must be granted by the court before it can be registered in the Recalculation Program.

If both parties agree to have a recalculation order put into place they may be able to use court-based dispute resolution programs to help them. Contact your local family law court for more information on the programs they offer.

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18. Will the recalculation clerk notify the payor to file financial information?

Yes. The recalculation clerk will send out a notice to the payor and the court, and will send a copy of this notice to the other party as well.

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19. When will the payor’s financial information have to be filed?

It must be filed no later than 60 days before the review date. The review date is the anniversary date of the time the Recalculation Authorization Order was issued. The recalculation clerk will confirm the review date for both parties.

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20. When does the new amount of child support in a recalculated order take effect?

The new amount in a recalculated order must be paid starting 31 days after the parties are notified of the recalculation. Parties are considered to be notified of the new order 5 days after the clerk mails it.

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21. Does a Recalculation Authorization Order ever expire?

Yes.  It will expire when:

  • the original order authorizing the recalculation order has been changed, rescinded (withdrawn) or suspended
  • any child receiving support under the order reaches the age of majority (19 in Nova Scotia)
  • it was issued under the 2010 regulations and was not filed with the Director on or before November 1, 2014, the order will expire five years after the date the court issued it. 

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22. What income information do I file before a review takes place?

The recalculation clerk will give you information about what needs to be filed. The details of what the clerk will want you to file will be put in a notice the clerk will send to the parties about 90 days before the anniversary date of the order.

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23. When will I be asked to file my financial information?

Your financial information will be due 60 days before the review. The review will usually take place about one year following the date that the court order (or registered written agreement) that allowed recalculation was issued.

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24. What is sufficient income information?

The clerk will give you directions on what to file. These directions will be specific to your case. The income information that you must give to the clerk will normally depend on the time of year that the income information is due.  The clerk will ask for a completed Income Tax Return (with all slips, schedules and attachments included) and all notices of assessment or reassessment from the Canada Revenue Agency for the most recent tax year.  

In some cases, the clerk may direct you to file, and may accept, other documents instead of the Income Tax Return and notice of assessment. For example, if you are being asked to give your information before you have filed an Income Tax Return, then the clerk may direct you to file end of year income stubs and letters from income providers setting out gross income for the year. 

In all cases, the clerk must be able to determine from the documents you file whether the information is accurate, complete and reliable.

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25. What are T-information slips?

These are the papers that an employer, income provider or other income source send to people at income tax time that set out information that is to be included in that person’s Income Tax Return. T-4 slips set out income and other amounts dealing with employment. The following are some information slips that you might receive:

  • T4, Statement of Remuneration Paid
  • T4A, Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income
  • T4A(P), Statement of Canada Pension Plan Benefits
  • T4E, Statement of Employment Insurance and Other Benefits
  • T4RSP, Statement of RRSP Income

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26. What if I have not received my T4 slips or Notice of Assessment, or have not filed my Income Tax Return at the time that I am required to give my financial information to the recalculation clerk?

In specific situations, the Regulations allow the clerk to accept financial documents other than the payor’s Income Tax Return and Notice of Assessment or Reassessment from the Canada Revenue Agency for the previous tax year.

For example, if the payor has filed an Income Tax Return but has not yet received a Notice of Assessment or Reassessment, he or she may give the clerk a copy of the Income Tax Return and any other documents acceptable to the clerk. 

If the annual recalculation takes place before the payor has filed an Income Tax Return, the payor may be able to file documents that set out the payor’s annual income from all sources. The documents must be acceptable to the recalculation clerk. Normally this would include all T-information slips from the last tax year, or other reliable documents.

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27. Can any expenses be deducted from my gross income when determining child support? What are Schedule III adjustments?

If you are an employee, generally the only expenses that may be deducted from your gross income when determining your income for calculating child support are 'Schedule III adjustments.' The most common Schedule III adjustment is union dues. Union dues are the money you pay if you are a member of a union at work. The rest of the possible Schedule III adjustments do not apply to most people, and many of these adjustments are something that you would include on your Income Tax Returns if they applied to you.

A list of Schedule III adjustments can be found here. These amounts are very specific, and can be difficult to calculate. Some of the amounts apply to people who earn income other than employment income. Do not assume that you understand what the amounts are just by reading the category they fall under.

You can find information on how to calculate Schedule III adjustments on Justice Canada's website. It is recommended that you get help from a lawyer, accountant or tax professional to calculate any Schedule III adjustments.

For additional help calculating income with Schedule III adjustments, click here.

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28. What happens if the payor doesn't provide any financial information or provides insufficient financial information?

If a payor does not give sufficient financial information to the Recalculation Program by the time it is required, then the Regulations allow the recalculation clerk to 'deem' income. This means that the clerk can add 10% to the income amount set out in the most recent order and then calculate the amount of child support based on that increased income amount. 

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29. I am the payor and I did not provide the financial information during the required time period. My income has been deemed to be ten percent higher. I do not agree with this decision. What do I do?

You may be able to make an application to the court to change, rescind (withdraw) or suspend the recalculated order. This must be done within 35 days after the order was sent to you. If you do not make such an application, then the recalculated order stays in effect. It will be up to a judge to decide how much child support should be paid. 

If the application to court is withdrawn, or is dismissed by the judge, then the payor will be required to pay the amount of child support stated in the recalculated order from the appropriate date under the recalculated order.

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30. What if I don't agree with the recalculated child support amount?

A party who disagrees with the recalculated child support amount may apply to the court to suspend, change (vary) or withdraw the original support order. The party must make the application within 35 days after the date that the recalculation order was sent out by the Program clerk.  In these cases, a judge will decide what the amount of the child support should be, unless the application is withdrawn.

A variation application filed within the 35 days stops the recalculated child support order from taking effect until the variation application has been dealt with and the child support order that was in effect immediately prior to the recalculation order will be enforced until the matter is decided or the application is withdrawn.  If the application is withdrawn by the applicant or dismissed by a judge, then the payor must pay the amount of child support set out in the recalculated order from the appropriate date under the recalculated order.  Getting legal advice about making an application to challenge the amount of child support calculated in the recalculation order is important.

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31. Can I get copies of the income information the other parent provides?

The recalculation clerk will send the non-paying parent and the court a copy of the financial information provided by the payor. The clerk will send this information to the latest address provided to the clerk by that parent.

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32. Can I get a recalculation to cancel my child support arrears?

No. If the party paying child support has an unexpected or sudden change in circumstances after the annual recalculation of child support happens, then that party must apply to court for a variation of child support. The Recalculation Program Office cannot deal with arrears of support. Arrears are child support amounts that were not paid, and are still owing. Arrears can only be reduced or cancelled by a judge through a variation application or by the parties through a consent order issued by the court. Contact the court if this is your situation.

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33. Is there anything else that parties have to do other than the paying party providing financial information?

The parties are required to provide updates to the Recalculation Program of any changes to their mailing address, email address, fax number and phone number. This is to make sure that parties receive notices and copies of orders from the Program.

Parties are given the option to provide a designated address to the Recalculation Program as long as they are sure that they will safely receive information at the designated address. Parties are considered to have received notices or orders from the recalculation clerk 5 days from the date the clerk mails them.  It is important to keep addresses up to date.

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34. What if there are safety issues in my case?

Any party who has experienced or is experiencing safety issues involving the other party may want to advise their local court and the recalculation clerk of this situation. In these cases, the party may wish to consider using a designated address and asking the clerk to keep their address information confidential from the other party. A designated address can be any address where you know you can safely and reliably receive anything mailed to you, and an address that you don’t mind the other party knowing.

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35. What if I see a mistake in the recalculated order?

Clerical errors, like spelling mistakes or typos, can be corrected by the recalculation clerk with a new order issued to replace it. This must happen within 30 days of the order being issued. Notify the recalculation clerk immediately if you spot a clerical error. Each party will receive a copy of the corrected order.

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36. Is the recalculated order sent to the court and the Maintenance Enforcement Program?

Yes. The recalculation clerk must send the original order to the court and a certified copy of the order to the Maintenance Enforcement Program. This is in addition to sending it to the parties.

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37. Will a new order be issued if the payor’s income has not changed?

No. A new order will not be issued if the payor’s income has not changed. The parties will receive a notice from the recalculation clerk confirming that there has been no change. This notice is called a Notice of No Change. A copy of this notice will be sent to the court and to the Maintenance Enforcement Program as well.

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38. Will we be notified if our order is not enrolled in the Program or is no longer able to continue in the Program?

Yes. The recalculation clerk will send a notice to both parties saying that the order cannot be enrolled or cannot continue to be enrolled if this is the situation.  A copy of this notice will be sent to the court and to the Maintenance Enforcement Program.

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39. I have an order that already has a recalculation clause in it. Is it enrolled in the new Program?

This will depend on the wording of the ‘old’ order.  Orders made under the 2010 regulations must meet both the old and new requirements regarding the payor’s income.  Contact the Program if you have any questions about this at:

NS Administrative Recalculation of Child Maintenance Program

P.O. Box 23

Halifax, NS   B3J 2L4

Telephone: (902) 424-0600

Toll Free Telephone: 1-844-424-0600 (outside Metro Halifax)

Fax: (902) 424-0840

Email: Admin.recalc@novascotia.ca 

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40. What happens if my old order does not meet the new requirements?

In these situations, the parties may be directed to the court to apply for a new Recalculation Authorization Order with terms that will meet the requirements of the new regulations.

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41. How can Recalculation Authorization Orders made under the 2010 Regulations be filed with the Director?

A payor or recipient, or their lawyer, may file a certified copy of an order authorizing recalculation (Recalculation Authorization Order) with the Director with a request that it be enrolled in the Program at:

NS Administrative Recalculation of Child Maintenance Program

P.O. Box 23

Halifax, NS   B3J 2L4

Fax: (902) 424-0840

Email: Admin.recalc@novascotia.ca

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42. Can an order be enroled and recalculated through the Program where the payor has no or low income, where no table amount would be paid at the time of the authorization?

Yes, subject to a judge's discretion. To qualify, the order must set out the income determined at that time for the payor, that this amount was based on the previous year's income, and that the table amount of child support to be paid is $0 per month.

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43. Are 'days' calculated as business days or calendar days?

For the purposes of this Program, 'days' mean business days. Days when the court is closed - like weekends and statutory holidays - are not included.

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44. What law allows recalculation to take place?

The ability to recalculate child support comes from the Nova Scotia Maintenance and Custody Act and the federal Divorce Act, and regulations called the Administrative Recalculation of Child Maintenance Regulations made under those laws.

The Nova Scotia table applies when the payor lives in Nova Scotia, which is one of the requirements for the Program to apply to an order for child support.

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45. Who issues a Recalculated Order?

These orders are issued by the Recalculation Clerk. They do not have to be issued by the court.

The Recalculation Clerk will send copies of the order to the parties or their lawyers, the court, and the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP).

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