All parents have an obligation to provide financial support for their children. This obligation exists whether the parents were legally married, cohabiting, separated, divorced or never residing together. Child support is dealt with under the Divorce Act as well as the Family Law Act.
The Divorce Act deals with child support for any child who is considered to be 'a child of the marriage. This is defined in section 2(1) of the Divorce Act and is: a child or two spouses, or former spouses who:
Is under the age or majority (18 years in Ontario) and who has not withdrawn from their charge, or
Is the age of majority or over and under their charge but unable to, by reason of illness, disability, or other cause, to withdraw from their charge or to obtain the necessaries of life.
Therefore, the obligation to provide child support continues past the age or 18 if the child is unable to support themself.
The Divorce Act defines a child of the marriage under section 2(2) as;
Any child for whom both spouses or former spouses stand in the place of parents, and
Any child of whom one spouse or former spouse is the parent and for whom the other stands in place of a parent.
This means that a spouse or former spouse who has acted as a parent to the former spouse's child may have an obligation to pay child support.
Whereas the Divorce Act deals with child support arriving from spouses who were married, the Family Law Act applies the same principles to all other parties who may apply for child support.
Unlike the informal Spousal Support Guidelines, the Federal Child Support Guidelines have been legislated to provide an accurate amount of support for children after separation. These guidelines base the amounts on the income of the parent who resides with the child less than 40% of the time. The amounts in the Guidelines become discretionary when the access time begins to even out between both parents.
The child support guidelines have amounts set for specific incomes as well as the number of children. If you believe you are entitled to, and are not receiving child support please contact our office to set up a consultation: 416-924-5969.