If you have children then arranging for their needs to be met will be a big part of any divorce settlement. That means your divorce decree will have to include provisions for child support payments.
While the formula for calculating child support is fairly straightforward, some issues do arise, both during settlement negotiations and after the divorce is finalized. If you’re struggling with child support issues, the lawyers at family law of Edmonton can help.
How is Child Support Calculated in Alberta?
Courts use a fairly straightforward formula to calculate child support. The payee is usually the parent with primary care and control of the child, and the payor is usually the parent with access. The courts then look at the income of both parents and the number of children.
You can calculate your own base support amount by using the Federal child support tables. If custody is near 50/50, the courts will take the child support amount both parents would have owed, and subtract one from the other. The higher-earning parent pays the lower-earning parent the difference.
The tables aren’t always adequate, though. Some children have special needs or expenses. These can be negotiated between parents in the divorce settlement, but the court will almost never approve child support amounts lower than those provided for on the table. You can always negotiate for more money if there is a pressing need to do so.
How Long is Child Support Paid in Alberta?
Contrary to popular belief, child support does not terminate automatically when a child turns 18. Some children are entitled to support if they are enrolled in college. Some are entitled to ongoing support because they have physical and mental disabilities.
Your divorce decree will tell you when support will end or what provisions have been set up for ongoing support. If you’re not sure, contact your lawyer.
Note that the amount of child support may change as circumstances change. For example, if you or your spouse experience a change in income then you can petition the court for a child support modification.
Is Child Support Mandatory in Alberta?
Yes, each parent is legally obligated to provide financial support for their children. Even if you agree on a divorce settlement a judge will not approve it until the court is satisfied that adequate arrangements have been made.
Child support is a right that children maintain, and should not be seen as a payment made solely to the other parent. Courts believe children should be able to get the full benefit of the “financial means of both parents as if they were still together.”
Failing to pay child support will mean the province will step in. They may seize your tax refunds, suspend your passport, or take money from other sources like your employment insurance benefit. Parents who get too far behind may face jail time. If you’re having trouble paying child support you should turn to your divorce lawyer first, so that your lawyer can help you resolve the problem.
Get Help Today
Call (587) 689-3333 to schedule an appointment with one of our top-notch divorce lawyers. Our experienced family law lawyers can help you navigate complex child support issues.