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Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To

For more than 20 years you have witnessed Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s trademark straight-up money wisdom, both on Radio and Television, most notably as host of TVs Till Debt Do Us Part, Princess and Money Moron. Gail is a multiple time, best-selling financial author, and one of the top Canadian authors of the past decade. Gail brings her common sense wisdom to answer your questions about child support and divorce in Ontario.


Gail Vaz-Oxlade Divorce and Finances

Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To

For more than 20 years you have witnessed Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s trademark straight-up money wisdom, both on Radio and Television, most notably as host of TVs Till Debt Do Us Part, Princess and Money Moron. Gail is a multiple time, best-selling financial author, and one of the top Canadian authors of the past decade. Gail brings her common sense wisdom to answer your questions about child support and divorce in Ontario.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade Divorce and Finances
Child Support In Ontario 1

Child Support In Ontario

Next to questions about custody, child support is usually the most asked-about parenting issue. In Ontario, children have the right to financial support from both of their parents. If you and the other parent do not live together, by law, you MUST share the costs of caring for your children.

The amount that you will pay in child support is based on your gross income (before taxes and deductions), where the children live and how many dependent children you have. This amount is set by federal and provincial guidelines. This means that you are not allowed to negotiate the amount of child support, pay less, decline or amend the support amounts.

Support payments will continue until your children are 18 years old or until they complete their post secondary education. If your children live predominantly with one spouse (more than 60% of the time) than you may be entitled to extra child support from the other parent.



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What if I Don't Pay My Child Support?

In Ontario, the government has created an office called the Family Responsibility Office (FRO), which enforces support payments if necessary. The FRO will require paying parents to make all support payments to the FRO who will, in turn, send the payment to the other parent. If any payments are missed, the Family Responsibility Office will take action to enforce the order or agreement which can include the garnishing of wages, registering a lien against a property, taking money from a bank account, ordering a collection, cancelling a passport or suspending a driver’s license

Child Support in Ontario: Calculations

Child Support in Ontario must be calculated according to the Ontario Child Support Guidelines. If you are a parent, you will pay child support.  Both parents maintain the responsibility of financially supporting their children and that support is based on your income and the number of children involved. Support will continue until your children are 18 years old or until they have completed their post-secondary education.

Can We Negotiate Child Support?​

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Child Support in Ontario - The Major Questions and Answers

Q: Can I stop paying child support if my ex will not let me see my child? 
A: No, support for your children and visitation rights are two very distinct and different legal matters and you must continue to pay child support regardless of how much you have access to your child.

Q: Is child support the same in every province? A: No child support is not the same amount in each province. Depending on which province you live in or whether you even live in Canada, child support may be calculated using a federal or a provincial guideline.

Q: Do I have to pay parental support if we were never married?
A: Yes, parental support has nothing to do with marriage but is applicable to all parents.

Q: If I declare bankruptcy do I still have to pay support?
A: Yes, filing bankruptcy does not end your obligation to pay child support payments, including both arrears and on-going payments.

Q: Can the amount of support I pay ever be changed?
A: Yes.  Typically your parenting plan states that child support will be calculated annually according to your income. Either parent can also go to court and request that child support be increased, decreased, or even eliminated if there has been a significant change of circumstances.

Q: Can my wages be garnished if I do not pay support?
A: Yes, failure to pay child support can lead to serious consequences like garnishing your wages,  withholding of unemployment benefit, sizing your assets, credit bureau reporting, or even driver’s license suspension or passport denial.

Q: What is the Family Responsibility Office (“FRO”)?
A: The FRO is an organization that collects, distributes, and enforces child and spousal support payments. If your Ex doesn’t pay their support payment, the FRO has the authority to take enforcement action to recover the money owed.

How do I register my Child Support with the Family Responsibility Office (FRO)?
A: You can register your separation agreement with the FRO by filing your completed Agreement with the Ontario Court of Justice or Superior Court of Justice with an affidavit for filing and then mailing a copy of the separation agreement, the affidavit for filing, and a completed FRO registration package to the FRO.

Do I need to pay Child Support we never married long enough to be considered Common-Law?

It's real simple... If you are the parent of a child, you are obligated to pay Child Support.

Child Support In Ontario 2

Is Child Support linked to

Child Support is different from child custody which is different from residency. Custody is about which parent will make decisions on behalf of your child and residency is about where your child will live. Child Support is based on the paying parent’s income, the number of children, and the province they reside in. However, there are some scenarios where Child Support may be adjusted depending on how much your child lives with one parent or the other (residency).

Family Mediation with a Financial Twist
“For most, divorce is less about legalities and more about finances, tax implications and making smart money decisions. This is why we created The Common Sense Divorce." – Gail Vaz-Oxlade
Make Smart
Money Decisions
I'm not sure what to do?
I've never managed the money...
How do I plan for MY future?
Bag Lady Syndrome
(syn) 'Street Guy Syndrome'
NOUN - The fear that one will become financially destitute after a divorce.

If my Ex gets re-married,

YES... as it doesn't matter if either of you remarry. Any change in your Ex’s living arrangements doesn't affect the Child Support that is paid. Child Support is the responsibility of both parents and continues regardless of any future relationships.

Child Support In Ontario 3

What happens

You are a parent, regardless if your children live here in Ontario, across the country or on the other side of the world. You will still need to pay Child Support even if your spouse moves out of Ontario.

2. Can the amount I pay in Child Support

Yes - There may be changes in Child Support in some circumstances, such as if there is a change in income or a financial crisis.

Child Support In Ontario - Unique Questions and Their Answers

Q: How will my spouse and I determine income if one of us is self-employed?
A: When a spouse is self-employed, it adds a layer of complexity as their true income is likely not reflected in their tax returns because of write-offs, deductions, and exemptions. You and your spouse will then need to negotiate the actual income.  This can be done simply in mediation or a collaborative process but if necessary you can take this situation to court and a judge will deem (make a decision) about what you actual income is.

Q: Will I need to pay for things like hockey or skating lessons if I already pay Child Support?
A: Such things are not typically considered as part of child support and  you both may be required to pay additional payments that are known as special and extraordinary expenses (also called Section 7 expenses). The guidelines state that these special and extraordinary expenses must be necessary and reasonable. Necessary, in the sense that they are in the child’s best interests, and reasonable given the means of the parents and in relation to the family’s spending habits prior to separation.

Does my spouse need to spend the Child Support on the children?
A: There is no requirement that the spouse receiving Child Support must spend the support money on the children as it is assumed that the parent who regularly lives with the child is caring for their financial well-being and flexibility and discretion is afforded accordingly. In more simple terms, Child Support is meant to contribute to household necessities and basic needs as if the paying parent was living together with the child.

Q: Can I pay my child directly?
A: As a norm, Child Support is paid directly to the other parent.

Q: What if I had a pre-nuptial agreement that said I don’t need to pay Child Support?
A: Nice try, but sorry you can’t make an Agreement contrary to the laws of Ontario.  As Child Support is the right of the child rather than a right of one of the parents, neither you or your spouse can contract out of Child Support.

Q: Could I have to pay Child Support if I am not the biological parent?
A: You may be required to pay Child Support if you have “stood in place of a parent”. When such a bond has been established, it cannot be unilaterally withdrawn by the adult.

Q: Is Child Support tax deductible?
A: Child Support is not tax deductible for the paying parent and is not added to the income of the parenting receiving the support.

When you are living together and functioning as parents together you usually don’t have to sit down and create your own rule book or guidelines of how to parent together.  When you are not parenting together that changes.  Do not get sucked into the idea that a Parenting Plan is not important and that you can just wing it.  Kids work well with structure and most separated parents work well with clear and agreed upon guidelines, if anything to minimize further conflict and drama.

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