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Children need financial support from their parents – and they have a legal right to it. When parents separate or divorce, child support is money that one parent pays to the other parent to cover the costs of raising a child. The primary parent can apply to the Provincial Court of Alberta or the Court of Queen's Bench for child maintenance payments.
The child support payments are usually paid biweekly or monthly. To determine the Child Support payment amount, the court will rely on statutory guidelines and the primary factors examined to calculated child support include:
1) Parenting arrangement with respect to the children: For instance, a child that primarily resides with one parent vs. a child resides with both parent, will have varying child support responsibility;
2) Parents annual income: Both parents annual income is considered by the court, especially when calculating section 7, also known as special expenses, for the child.
3) Number of children: The number of dependent children that the paying parent has to pay child support.
4) Location of the paying parent: the paying parent is typically considered while determining child support.
5) Basic child support vs. extraordinary expenses: If the parties are getting divorced then the federal guidelines child support calculations are always considered. Further, special expense for the child are also considered, such as daycare costs, medical costs, etc and if such expenses are reasonable in relation to the parent’s financial circumstances and the child’s needs.
There can be numerous factors affecting the amount of child support you can be required to pay or receive. Further, a child support order can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances for either parent, which is why we recommend the clients to meet with our lawyers to discuss in details what their situation entails.
"A parent-child relationship is a fiduciary relationship of presumed dependency and the obligation of both parents to support the child arises at birth. In that sense, the entitlement to child support is “automatic” and both parents must put their child’s interests ahead of their own in negotiating and litigating child support. Child support is the right of the child, not of the parent seeking support on the child’s behalf, and the basic amount of child support under the Divorce Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 3 (2nd Supp.)" -Kerr v Baranow  1 SCR 269
For basic child support, also known as section 3 child support, you can calculate child support based on your spouse net income. To calculate basic child support see: Section 3 child support calculation. For special or extraordinary child support expenses, also known as section 7 child support, please contact our office, Laws & Beyond, directly.
However, numerous factors can affect your child support obligation. Your unique circumstances may entitle you to higher child support payment or may entitle you to reduce your child support payments. We recommend you contact our office to your child support obligations.
The parties can decide if they wish to be paid directly or through MEP, such that the Alberta's Maintenance Enforcement Program can collect payments and forwarding them to the individuals awarded this child maintenance.
The MEP clause can be added to the child support order.
Once the court enters an order for child support, then the recipient parent must contact MEP.
For more details see: Alberta MEP contact website
Federal and provincial laws set out a variety of tools to enforce child support. For instance, the court could order you to pay a fine and all the legal costs for enforcing the child support order or written agreement. A court may even order you to serve time in jail if you do not pay child support.
You should seek legal advice immediately if you are no longer able to pay child support payments.
The parent who makes child support payments, cannot deduct these from your annual income. Similarly, the receiving parent declare child support as income in their annual income tax returns.
However, you still need to report all child support payments you make or get on your tax return.
The child support payments are usually payable until the child reaches the age of majority. The child support may continue after 18 years of age, if the child has anyillness, disability or is enrolled in a post-secondary institution.
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