Child support, or ‘child maintenance’, is the money paid by one parent to the other parent to contribute to the cost of bringing up their children, including the children’s living expenses. The Child Support Guidelines are federal rules for calculating how much child support will be paid, and these Guidelines include tables that show how much the paying parent will pay every month.
The basic amount paid is called the table amount. It is based on the paying parent’s gross (before tax) yearly income, the province or territory where the paying parent is living, and the number of children. Every province and territory has its own table that takes into account the standard of living and tax rates in that province/territory, and what it costs to raise a child there (this is why gross income is used to determine the monthly amount).
The Guidelines also include rules for calculating ‘special or extraordinary’ expenses, undue hardship, and support amounts in cases of split or shared custody.
Generally speaking, child support is paid at least until a child reaches the age of majority (which can differ between provinces – in Nova Scotia, the age is 19). Child support can extend past that time if the child is still dependent (for example, if they are still in school, or cannot support themselves because of a disability).