Myths about Child Support.

AuthorDargatz, Sarah

Debunking the myths and legends that haunt family law.

This article continues our series on debunking the myths and legends that haunt family law. Today's topic: myths on ways to avoid paying child support.

A note about child support

First, let's address what underlies these myths: that child support is something to be avoided. Canada's lawmakers and courts have found that dependency and obligation follow the parent-child relationship. In the 2006 case of DBS v SRG, the Supreme Court of Canada noted that "upon the birth of a child, parents are immediately placed in the roles of guardians and providers" (paragraph 36). It further noted in the 2011 case of Kerr v Baranow that "both parents must put their child's interest ahead of their own" and "child support is the right of the child" (paragraph 208).

Parents have an obligation to support their children whether or not they are in a relationship with each other. If the parents separate, a fair amount of child support must be paid, as set by our elected lawmakers. Paying child support is simply meeting some of your obligations to your children.

There are some fair concerns with how support is calculated in Canada. Discussions with lawmakers about the best way to do so continues. However, since the Child Support Guidelines came into effect, calculating support has generally been objective and consistent from family to family.

Myth: If my ex doesn't know that my income has increased, I don't need to increase my child support payments.

Myth: As long as I pay what the Order says, then my ex can't come after me for support.

Parents should update, or "vary", their child support orders whenever circumstances change. A common change in circumstances is a change in the payor's income. Children are entitled to be supported by their parents, based on their parents' incomes. Continuing to pay support based on an outdated income does not meet a parent's financial obligations.

We expert that child support orders will change over time. The Federal Child Support Guidelines and most child support orders require parents to exchange basic income information every year. Changes to income should be noted and child support should be adjusted to reflect the changed income. Many provinces have programs that help with this annual adjustment, such as Alberta's Child Support Recalculation Program.

Sometimes parents do not exchange income information and then the payor's income increases. Once the recipient knows that...

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