Child and Spousal Support and Special Expenses
Learn more about Child and Spousal Support and Special Expenses from our lawyers in Vaughan, ON. Contact Ciccone Law for more details.
If your common law relationship ends, and you do not have enough money to support yourself, you can ask your spouse to pay support. You can ask for support for yourself if you have been living together for three years, or if you have lived together for less time and have had or adopted a child together. You and your spouse can settle on an amount for support through negotiation, mediation, collaborative law or arbitration. If you can’t resolve the issues, you can go to court and ask a judge to decide if you should get support.
If you and your spouse have or adopt a child together, you can ask for support for that child. Children of parents living in a common law relationship have the same rights to support from their parents as the children of married couples. If your spouse treated your child as their child while you lived together, you can also ask for support. You can settle on support for your child through negotiation, mediation, collaborative law or arbitration. If you can’t resolve the issues, you can go to court and ask a judge to order your spouse to pay support for that child. The amount of support is set under the Child Support Guidelines.
As part of a support order for you or your child, you may also ask to stay in the home you shared when you lived together. The judge can order this even if you do not own the home, or if your name is not on the lease. This is different than for married couples. Married couples automatically have an equal right to stay in the home.
If you do not get support, you may not have the right to stay in the home if it is not yours.
Financially supporting your children
Both parents have a responsibility to financially support their children. They share this responsibility when they are living together and continue to share it after they separate. This responsibility applies to all parents, regardless of whether they were married, living together or have never lived together.
The parent with custody of the children has to take care of them, buy food and clothes for them, pay for outings and activities, look after all their day-to-day needs and keep the home running.
The parent who does not have custody of the children usually has to pay the parent with custody money to help cover the costs of taking care of the children. This payment is called child support.
The amount of child support to be paid in Ontario is set out under the Child Support Guidelines. Under the Guidelines, child support payments are based on the income of the person who does not have custody or the person with whom the children do not usually live and the number of children that need support.
In some cases, the court can order an amount that is higher or lower than the guideline amount.
- For example, the court can award more than the guideline amount where the child has “special expenses.” These might include, for example, childcare expenses, tuition for private school, fees and equipment for hockey, or the cost of getting braces.
- In very limited circumstances, the court can also award less than the guideline amount where paying this amount would cause “undue hardship” for the parent required to pay. In order for the court to consider awarding less than the guideline amount, the parent asking for the decrease would have to prove hardship and prove that the standard of living in his or her household is lower than the standard of living in the child’s household.
This is not legal advice. For legal advice, please contact Ciccone Law.