(More) Myths About Child Support.

AuthorHagen, Erika

Debunking the myths and legends that haunt family law.

Most times when you ask a lawyer a question, the first words out of their mouth are "that depends ..." Family law is no different! However, Canada's child support legislation is legislators' best possible attempt to create black and white laws--clear, concise, and consistent.

The foundational principle that underpins this area of the law is that child support is the right of the child. Child support has lifted countless children out of poverty since the Child Support Guidelines were introduced in 1997. It has also provided parents an avenue out of family violence. Despite the Guidelines' attempt to be clear and consistent, it is still a complex area of the law with many technical nooks and crannies. Let's dig deeper.

Myth: If I sign away my parenting rights then I will not have to pay child support.

Myth: I told her to get an abortion so I should not have to pay child support.

Alberta's legislation does not tie child support to parenting in any way (aside from in shared parenting scenarios). This is because child support is the right of the child, not the right of a parent. The result is that all parents, regardless of how involved (or uninvolved) they are, by law must financially support their children.

There are a few narrow exceptions to this rule, including:

* persons whose human reproductive material has been used in assisted reproduction for third parties (although this does not include pregnancies arising from intercourse)

* where the other parent's new partner has legally adopted the child

Myth: My business' income does not count. Only what is on my personal tax returns counts in figuring out my income for child support.

The starting point for calculating a parent's Guideline Income is typically Line 15000 (formerly Line 150) of their income tax return. However, this is not always the end of those calculations. Sometimes the court will look at:

* the parent's pattern of income over several years

* how much money is available to the parent to pay support, including pre-tax corporate income, where the parent is a shareholder, director, or officer of a corporation

* the value of the services the parent is providing to the business

* making adjustments to account for any transactions the business has with persons who are not at arm's length from the parent or business

Beyond this, the court can also impute (assign) income to a parent for several reasons. Reasons that often affect...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT