On its surface, calculating child support in Regina is a simple matter of making use of a predetermined formula. The court takes the non-custodial parent’s gross income and the amount of children to be supported and orders that parent to pay a percentage of that income to the parent with physical custody.
So why does child support cause any contention at all? Because other laws and rules can swiftly skyrocket the cost of child support past what anyone could possibly pay. For example, special support amounts may be levied if the child has certain educational or medical expenses not covered by the formula.
Another issue which may arise is how the paying parent’s income is calculated. If a lawyer does not convince a judge to avoid adding in bonuses and commissions, for example, the parent could end up with a payment which is vastly inflated over and above his or her regular monthly income.
This gives both parents a stake in fighting to maximize or minimize the support amount.
Child Support Agreements
The parents who tend to come out of the child support action the happiest and the best equipped to co-parent are those who make their own child support agreements. Though these agreements cannot stray too far from the federal guidelines as a judge must approve them, this method does offer a great deal of flexibility that will not be possible if a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench must make the decision, without any agreement in place.
Thus, if you are the payer it is a good idea to keep this issue at the forefront of your mind when negotiating, and think on ways you might convince the payee to make such an agreement. We can help you whether you are the payer or the receiver. Bear in mind however that the Courts are concerned with child support and treat it as the right of the child, so an agreement must not be unconscionable or the Courts will not approve them. Court approval is necessary in cases where a final order of divorce is sought and children are to be accounted for.
Access & Child Support
There is less of a relationship between access and child support than most people believe.
The non-custodial parent cannot stop paying child support if the parent with physical custody stops complying with access orders. By the same token, the parent with physical custody can’t withhold access because child support goes into arrears. Access is considered to be an entirely separate issue, and the parent who violates either court order is going to run afoul of the law.
By the same token, negotiating for more access will not lower your child support payments. It is best to negotiate for more access because you have a genuine interest in seeing your child more.
There is one exception. In a 50/50 shared custody agreement, parents may create what’s called a set-off agreement. Each parent calculates the amount of support he or she would be paying if he or she were the noncustodial parent. The lower amount is then subtracted from the higher amount, and the higher earning parent pays the lower earning parent the difference.
Under Saskatchewan law, both parents have a duty to provide for their child. The formulas are meant to simulate what each parent would be paying for the child’s food, clothing, medical expenses, and educational expenses if the child were living with that parent.
Child Support Resources in Regina, SK
If your ex is failing to pay court-ordered child support you can contact the Maintenance Enforcement Office in Room 100 on 3085 Albert St., Regina, SK, S4S 0B1. You can also call them at (306) 787-8961, or toll-free at (866) 299-9712.
The MEO has a number of enforcement actions it can take if the payor does not keep up with child support payments. These include putting a lien on the payor’s real estate, garnishing the payor’s wages or government programs, seizing and selling property and assets, credit reporting, and suspension of government-issued licenses. The payor may also be charged with contempt of court.
If you cannot pay your child support it’s a good idea to contact one of our family lawyers immediately. We can make a case for a modification or a variation which could take some of the financial pressure off of you, especially if your circumstances have changed considerably since the ruling.
Need help fighting your child support case?
Stop by our office at 2401 Saskatchewan Dr., Regina, SK S4P 4H8, conveniently located off of SK-6/11. You can also take public transit to the 11th and Lorne stop, then walk a few blocks north to turn right on Smith Street.
Call and make an appointment any time by calling (306) 359-7777. We look forward to meeting you and helping you with this important family law issue.