How Does our Parenting Arrangement Affect our Child Support Arrangement?

The Federal Child Support Guidelines are 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. There are also Provincial Guidelines that mirror the Federal ones. 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 they are paying support for. The table amounts are based on situations where the children live most of the time with one parent, and the other parent pays support.

In split or shared parenting arrangements, child support arrangements can work differently – but, the Guidelines do not give an exact formula for how child support should work in shared parenting arrangements. There may still be support paid by one parent to another, even with these parenting arrangements. 

The way child support is paid in a shared parenting arrangement may affect your income tax. Click here for more information.

In split parenting situations, the Guidelines direct that child support is calculated by looking at what the table amount would be for each parent, to see if one parent would pay more than the other. For example, if Jane and Michael each have one child living with them full-time, the court may look at what Jane would pay Michael for one child based on her income, and what Michael would pay Jane for one child based on his income. If there is a difference in these amounts, it is the difference that may be paid as child support. This is called using a ‘set-off’ amount. 

If both parents' incomes, and therefore their table amounts, are about the same, there may not be any support ordered, but this will all depend on the particular facts of their case.

For shared parenting arrangements, the increased cost of having a shared parenting arrangement, and the condition, means and needs of both parents and their children, may also be considered.