C. Presumptive Rule; Table Amount of Child Support; Section 7 Expenses

Author:Julien D. Payne - Marilyn A. Payne

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In the absence of specified exceptions, section 3(1) of the Federal Child Support Guidelines requires the court to order the designated monthly amount of child support set out in the applicable provincial table. The table amount of child

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support is fixed according to the obligor’s annual income and the number of children in the family to whom the order relates. Where the obligor resides in Canada, the applicable provincial or territorial table is that of the province or territory in which the obligor resides.3If the obligor’s residence is outside of Canada, the applicable table is that of the province or territory wherein the recipient parent resides. Section 3(1) of the Guidelines also empowers a court to order a contribution to be made towards necessary and reasonable special or extraordinary expenses that are specifically listed under section 7 of the Guidelines. Although the court has discretion in ordering section 7 expenses, it has no corresponding discretion with respect to ordering the table amount. It must order the table amount except where the Guidelines or the Divorce Act4expressly provide otherwise. The onus is on a parent seeking special expenses to prove that the claimed expenses fall within one of the categories and are reasonable and necessary.5In determining a father’s concurrent obligations to pay court-ordered support for his two children born of different mothers, where neither child is living with the father, section 3(1) of the Federal Child Support Guidelines requires the court to separately determine the table amount of support payable for each child. It is not open to the court to treat the children as members of the same family unit by using the column in the applicable provincial table for the total number of children and then dividing the specified amount so that each child receives an equal share. In ML v RSE,6Sullivan J granted two orders that required the father, whose annual income was $22,900, to pay the full table amount of $203 to each of his two children, in addition to specified section 7 expenses. Because the table amounts of child support reflect economies of scale as the number of children residing in the same household increases, but no such economies apply when two children reside in different households, Sullivan J held that, in fixing the table amount of child support, the two children must be treated as members of distinct family units, and the two families could not be...

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