If both you and your spouse work a straightforward 40-hour a week job, then child support is the most straightforward issue in the world. The courts consult a chart, look at the differences between your income, look at the number of children you have, look at how often each child is with each spouse, and then they come up with a number.
If you are self-employed, own a business, work on commission, get bonuses, have variable income, or have a child with special needs, child support becomes a lot more complex.
When your situation is anything but straightforward, you’ll need a lawyer who specializes in child support issues to help you work out a fair settlement offer.
How is child support calculated in Calgary?
The base formula mentioned above uses the Federal Child Support Guidelines. You may never include a child support amount lower than those guidelines.
When your situation is more complex you may negotiate any amount above those guidelines that you wish. This amount would then be included into the divorce settlement according to the schedule you and your spouse agree on.
If the matter goes to court the judge may choose to default to the guidelines, or may agree there are special circumstances that require some additional calculations.
How long do you have to pay child support in Calgary?
Most people must pay child support until their child turns 18. In some cases, child support may last longer. A special needs child who needs care as an adult may receive lifetime child support. Parents may also agree to extend support into the child’s college years.
Paying until the child reaches the age of majority is mandatory. Everything else is negotiable.
Is child support mandatory?
Yes. Judges will not approve settlements that do not include adequate child support provisions based on the income of each spouse, even if you and your spouse both agree on a lower amount.
Since a judge must sign off on any divorce settlement this is worth keeping in mind. There is no getting out of child support. The only question is who pays and how much.
Keep in mind the parent with primary physical custody is paying child support too. They’re just doing it a bit more directly, by securing food, clothing, and housing for child.
Why Merchant Law?
When child support becomes a complex legal issue you’ll be happy to have a divorce lawyer with a strong business and civil litigation background. This gives our lawyers the understanding they need to craft complex child support settlements for complex situations.
To get started, call (403) 237-7777 to set up an appointment with one of our experienced child support lawyers.