How Much Should Be Paid / How Does it Work?

Parents who have separated, are required to make reasonable arrangements for the financial support of their children.  Deciding who should pay child support, and the amount that should be paid, can be a complex process depending on factors such as parenting arrangements, income levels, and the different types of compensation structures of the parties (which may make the determination of income difficult).

Generally, the amount of child support that needs to be paid is prescribed by either the Federal Child Support Guidelines in the case of married parents or the Alberta Child Support Guidelines for both married and non-married parents.   These Guidelines provide tables which will set out a child support amount that will correspond to the payor parent’s gross (pre-tax) income and the number of children that the parties have.  This amount is often referred to as Section 3 base child support or “table support” and is intended to pay for the children’s basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter.

In addition to the base child support amount, both parents are also required to contribute to additional expenses for the children which are referenced as “Section 7” expenses which may include: child care expenses related to a parent’s employment or educational pursuits, extracurricular activities, medical expenses not covered by insurance and/or a portion of insurance premiums, school expenses and post-secondary expenses.   Section 7 expenses are shared by the parents in proportion to their respective incomes.

Child support is adjusted yearly and parents have an on-going obligation to provide financial information to each other to ensure that the appropriate amounts of child support are being paid.

Our lawyers will help each family determine their child support obligations and rights based on their unique circumstances.