Special or extraordinary expenses

AuthorJulien D. Payne; Marilyn A. Payne
e court may, on the request of either spouse or former spouse, provide in a child support
order for the payment of any of the following expenses, or any portion of those expenses ,
taking into account the necessit y of the expense in relation to the child’s best interests and
the reasonableness of the expense, having regard to the mea ns of the spouses or former
spouses and those of the child a nd to the family’s spending pattern prior to the sepa ration:
) child care expenses i ncurred as a result of the custod ial parent’s employment, illness,
disabil ity, or education or traini ng for employment;
) that portion of the medical and dental insu rance premiums attributable to the child;
) health-related expenses that exceed insura nce reimbursement by at least  annu-
ally per illnes s or event, including orthodontic treatment, professional counsell ing pro-
vided by a psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist or any other person, physiotherapy,
occupational therapy, speech therapy, prescription drugs, hearing aids, gla sses, and
contact lenses;
) extraordina ry expenses for primar y or secondary school education or for any educa-
tional programs that meet t he child’s particu lar needs;
) expenses for post-secondary education; and
) extr aordinary expens es for extracurricu lar activities.
A reference to “special or extraordinary expense s” appears in the margina l note to sec-
tion  of the Federal Child Support Guidelines but the term “special expen ses” does not
appear in the body of section . Section  of the Federal Child Support Guidelines g ives
the court the discretion to order payment of an amount over and above the regular table
Middleton v MacPherson, [] AJ No  (QB).
Federal Child Support Guidelin es, s ().
amount. However, in order to qualify for a section  order, the expenses must be proven
to be “special” or “extraordinary ” in some way. is is because the basic table amounts of
child support are designed to cover all the “ordinar y” costs of raising a child. Food, shelter,
clothing, and other necessities are a ll ordinary, as are many educational, extracurricu lar,
and recreationa l expense s. “Special,” as distinct f rom “extraordinary,” expenses are gener-
ally added more or less as a routine matter, provided that the y are not unreasonably h igh,
but controversy can arise with respect to t he “necessity” for a child to be engaged in extra-
curricular activities.
Section  of the Guidelines is not presumptive; it indicates that a cour t may on either
spouse’s request provide for an amount to cover all or any por tion of the expenses enumer-
ated, which expenses may be estimated t aking into account the necessity of t he expenses
in relation to the child’s best interests and the reas onableness of the expenses in relation
to means of the spouses and those of the ch ild and to the family ’s spending pattern prior
to separation . e onus is on the parent seeking a contribution to plead and prove the
expense.Although expen ses may be estimated, there must be some cogent evidence of a
particular expense.
An order for special or extraordinar y expenses under section  of the Federal Child Sup-
port Guidelines i s not premised on a prior or concurrent order for the payment of the basic
table amount of child support. A non-prima ry residential parent m ay seek contribution to
a child’s extraordinar y expenses for extracurricular act ivities and the amount ordered may
be set-of‌f against the table amount of child support payable by the non-primary residentia l
parent. Wh ile ordering a pro rata sharing of al l of the allowable expenses under sect ion
 of the Guidelines, a court may order that the mother shall a ssume the primary respon-
sibility for dealing w ith certain designated ex penditures while the father shall assume the
primar y responsibility for t he others.
Although child care ex penses, medical and dental i nsurance, health-related expenses,
and post-secondary educational expenses need not be ext raordinary under sect ions ()(a),
(b), (c), and (e) of the Federal Child Support Guidelines in order to warra nt a judicial alloca-
tion, expens es for primary or seconda ry school education or for any educat ional programs
that meet a child’s particu lar needs under section ()(d) of the Guidelines and expenses
for extracurricula r activities under section ()(f) of the Guidelines must be extraordi n-
ary in order to be allowable. All ex penses, however, must meet the tests of necessity and
C larke v Clarke,  BCSC  at para s –, Baird J; TMR v SMS,  NBQB  at para .
Slade v Slade, [] NJ No  (CA); VC v JDB,  NSSC . Comp are Olaitan v MacDougall,  PECA  .
Sharf v Sharf, [] OJ No  (SCJ).
Russell v Russell,  NSSC .
 See H v J,  NBQB  (application by uncle and gr andmother).
Carr uthers v Carruthers,  BCSC ; Cook v Cook,  NBQB  citing H v C ,  NBQB ;
Bradley v Brooks,  N LTD(F) ; Vantomme v Vantomme,  SKQB .
Howe v Lorett e,  NBQB  at para , Wooder J.
 Whitley v W hitley, [] BCJ No  (SC); Davis v Davis, [] BCJ No  (SC); but see contra
Hannigan v Hannigan, [] BCJ No  (SC).
 Van Bilsen v Van Bilsen, [] OJ No  (SCJ).
 Fisher v Fisher, [] OJ No  (SCJ).
 Bodine-Shah v Shah,  BCCA ; KKS v JSS,  BCSC ; WL v RW, [] NBJ No  (QB);
Hiscock v Hiscock,  NLTD(F) ; Bocaneala v Bocaneala,  NSSC ; Hoover v Hoover, []
NWTJ No  (SC); MacKinnon v MacKinnon, [] OJ No  (CA); Titova v Titov,  ONCA ;
Beisel v Henderson, [] SJ No  (QB).
Special or Extraordinary Expenses 255
reasonableness set out in section () of the Guidelines. e onus falls on the applicant
who seeks special or extraordinary expenses u nder section  of the Federal Child Support
Guidelines to prove that the expenses a re necessary in relation to the chi ld’s best interests
and reasonable having regard to the parental f‌i nancial circumstances.
Ef‌fective  May , section  of the Federal Child Support Guideline s was amended
to promote clarity and consistency in t he def‌inition of “extraordinary expenses” under
sections ()(d) and ()(f) of the Guidelines. Pursua nt to section (.)(a) of the amended
Guidelines, expenses are ex traordinary if they exceed an a mount that the requesting parent
can reasonably cover. In determining whether the expen ses are reasonably af‌fordable, the
court must consider the income of the requesting spouse a nd any child support received.
Where section (.)(a) is inapplicable in that the expenses do not exceed an amount that
the requesting spouse can rea sonably cover, the court will determine whet her the expenses
are extraordinar y by taking into account the following f‌ive factors:
the amount of the expense in relation to the income of the spouse requesti ng the
amount, including the amount of chi ld support received;
the nature and number of the educational program s and extracurricular activities;
any special needs and ta lents of the child or children;
the overall cost of the programs a nd activities; and
any other similar fact or that the court considers relevant.
ese factors indicate the signif‌ica nt discretion reposed in the court of f‌i rst instance
to determine what is or is not an extraordi nary expense bas ed on the evidence before the
court. An import ant consideration is the total income of the spouse in receipt of child
support but there is no formula and the court must have regard to the evidence before it
concludes whether all, some, or none of the expenses in sections ()(d) and/or (f) are extra-
ord i na ry.  In LKS v DMCT, it was stated that it is “preferable to deal f‌irst with subsection
() [of the Guidelines] to determine whether the expenses are necessary in relation to the
child’s best interests and reasonable in relation to the mean s of the parents before dealing
with the def‌inition of extraordi nary expenses in subsection (A).”
To qualify as a section  expense, the applicant must meet the thresholds stated in sec-
tions () and (A) of the Federal Child Support Guide lines. In MacDon ald v Pink, For-
geron J of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court distilled t he following principles from relevant
Nova Scotia ca selaw:
 MA v FHA,  BCSC ; KKS v JS S,  BCSC ; NSC v DC,  NBQB ; Bocaneala v B oca-
neala,  NSSC ; Williams v Steinwand,  NW TSC ; Titova v Titov,  ONCA ; Zigiris v
Foustanellas,  ONSC ; Beisel v Henderson, [] SJ No  (QB); JC v SAW,  YKSC .
 Hamilton v Hamilton,  BCSC ; Newman v Tibb etts, [] NBJ No  (QB); Abbott v Crane,
[] NJ No  (UFC); Clark v Clark,  ON SC ; Olaitan v MacDougall,  PECA ; Carmi -
chael v Douglas, [] SJ No  (QB).
 SOR/-, s  ( November ), Canada Gazette, Vol , No  ( December ). And see
LKS v DMCT,  NSCA .
 CJT v GAT,  ABQB ; AM v GM,  BCSC ; LKS v DMCT,  NSCA ; Hardayal v Asr ula,
 ONSC ; Hennenfent v Loftsgard,  SKQB ; JC v SAW,  YKSC .
 Gaspers v Gasp ers,  SKCA .
   NSCA  at para ; Boylan v MacLean,  NSSC .
  NSSC  at pa ra ; Fedortchouk v Boubnoy,  NSSC .

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