Financial support is a need that children expect from their parents. They have a legal right to get it under the laws governing divorce in all countries. In general, parents have the welfare, health, financial security and emotional well-being of their children, even when their own marital relationship breaks down. Courts also ensure that all their judgments regarding access, custody and support of children keep the best interests of children uppermost.
Couples can work out the details regarding all these aspects between themselves, with or without the help of an experienced child custody lawyer, family lawyer or divorce lawyer. Each situation is unique and the issues are varied, based on the circumstances in each. The level of acrimony, the kind of disputes and emotions involved can also determine how well the parents are able to put aside their own individual problems and address their children’s rights and entitlements.
Child Support In Divorce
Details regarding custody and access have to be worked out keeping the child’s interests, each parent’s duties and responsibilities, financial/emotional/physical circumstances, religious and spiritual needs etc. Once there is agreement on these, the aspect of financial support can be considered.
Even when they’re divorced, each parent remain legally obligated to financially support their children. The Divorce Act and provincial/territorial laws regarding family support are intended to address:
- Child support in shared custody situations
- Access costs’ impact on child support
- Support for children above majority age
- Obligations of spouse who stands in place of parent
In shared custody situations, where a parent must have access/physical custody of children in 40% of the time, support amounts are based on parental income, living standards that the child has been used to, increased costs of shared custody arrangements, means and needs of parents and children.
Judges also take common-sense factors into consideration while awarding the support amounts. Income of parents, number of children, place of residence, cost of living in both locations, income tax and average amounts that families spend nationally on care of children are important aspects. For instance, a parent with a six-figure income should not need financial assistance to raise the children. Parents with low income may be eligible to Child Tax benefit. The support amount awarded is a minimum and not a maximum.
Travel costs to provide access to children have to be worked out mutually and be part of the support award. Tax breaks are allowed when a parent is in financial distress. Reciprocal enforcement between provinces is very important when the couple lives in separate regions. Direct payment to children over the age of majority could ease the tension between parents, though strictly speaking, the costs are incurred by the parent. The support amount should not be taken as an allowance for the child, but as an amount meant to defray costs incurred by the parent.
Child support income is not taxed as income for the recipient nor is it deductible by the payee.
There are strict penalties for non-payment. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you with the right advice and assistance.