Parents strive to ensure that their children are cared for physically, emotionally and financially. This desire does not change even if spouses separate or divorce. Child support allows parents who have separated to provide financially for the well-being of their children even if they cannot be physically present.
Children under the age of 19 have a legal right to be financially supported by their parents. If you and your partner have recently separated or divorced, an experienced family lawyer in Surrey can help you:
- calculate the amount of child support each parent should pay,
- understand how paying child support affects your annual tax returns, and
- help you prepare a written agreement.
Child Support Calculations
Child support is money paid from one parent to another parent to help support their child. This fiduciary responsibility belongs to both parents and continues until the child is 19. If a child has a disability or illness, child support may apply beyond 19.
Child support is calculated according to federal and provincial guidelines. The calculations depend on custodial arrangements, the number of children and the parent’s gross annual income. If a child spends more than 60% of their time in a year with one parent, then that parent has sole custody and the other parent is responsible for paying child support.
Parents have joint or shared custody if a child spends 40-60% of their time in a year with both parents. In this scenario, the parent earning a higher income would pay child support to the parent with a lower income.
Using Set-Off Amount to Determine Child Support
The Federal Child Support Table outlines the base monthly child support amount a parent should pay given the number of children, the province and their gross annual income. If you and your partner share joint custody, you will need to determine the set-off amount to calculate child support. To calculate the set-off amount, each parent uses the child support table as if the child was their sole responsibility. The difference between the base child support amounts equates to the set-off amount.
For example, parent A, who has a higher gross annual income, is required to pay $500 in child support. Parent B, who has a lower gross annual income, is required to pay $200. The set-off amount would be $300, paid by parent A to parent B.
Please note this set-off amount may not be the final total needed for child support. Calculations also consider the child’s specific needs, living conditions and other relevant factors.
Tax Considerations for Child Support
Conventionally, the parent making child support payments cannot claim the child as an eligible dependent on their annual income tax returns. The parent who is not paying child support can claim an amount for an eligible dependent on their annual tax returns.
Parents who share custody and who each made child support payments within the same year can only claim if both parents agree on who claims for that year. If parents can’t agree, neither parent can claim an eligible dependent.
For tax purposes, if a parent is calculating child support owed before November 22, 2017, they must use the 2011 Child Support Table. For periods after November 22, 2017, they should use the 2017 Child Support Table.
Family Lawyers in Surrey
Child support is governed by federal and provincial guidelines and considers many variables, including each family’s unique situation. At ALG Lawyers, our dynamic and knowledgeable family lawyers will guide you through the child support process and ensure you reach an equitable agreement.