The number of Canadians who are either divorced or separated increases each year as more and more couples decide to end their relationship or live separate and apart. When couples have children, the laws in Ontario and throughout Canada recognize the potentially detrimental effect of a divorce or separation and provide methods for protecting children from harm. One area of concern is ensuring that children do not suffer financially because their parents have split up.
Canadian law imposes an obligation on both parents to continue to provide for the financial support of their children regardless of the marital status or living arrangements chosen by the parents. Parents who fail to meet this obligation can be ordered to do so by the court. When circumstances create an urgent situation that cannot await the normal child support application process, you can apply for temporary child support.
Ontario child support
The obligation of parents to provide for the support of their minor children generally lasts at least until a child reaches 18 years of age. Parents may reach an agreement between themselves for the payment of child support using guidelines provided by the Ontario government to calculate the base or minimum monthly child support amount.
Parents may agree to pay more than the amount calculated using the guidelines, but courts could reject agreements that provide for child support payments below the base amount. Expenses parents might agree to include as part of their child support obligation could include:
- Extraordinary medical or dental costs not covered through insurance or other sources
- Educational expenses, including post-secondary tuition
- Expenses related to shared parenting or split custody arrangements
- Daycare expenses
- Expenses related to a child’s extracurricular activities, such as music lessons or sports
Judges have the authority to order child support payments that deviate from the guidelines when evidence shows it would be a hardship for a parent to meet the base child support obligation.
If parents cannot reach agreement on child support, they can resort to the family court in Ontario by filing an application. Ontario residents must complete Form 8, which is the general application to get a case into the family court. Completion of the form online guides you through the process and provides prompts for other forms, such as financial disclosures, that must be completed in connection with a request for child support.
Temporary child support
There could be circumstances requiring a faster than normal process for getting your request for child support to a judge. Emergency or ex parte motions can be filed with the court seeking a temporary order for child support. Use of an emergency motion is limited to situations that are urgent and require immediate attention by the court in order to prevent serious consequences including hardship. If the court is persuaded that it is in the interests of justice to allow it, you application for temporary child support can be expedited through an ex parte motion.
A motion is a written request asking a court to grant some form of relief to the party making it. Motions are made to the court on notice to the other party to give the person the opportunity to respond at or before the hearing date to contest the relief requested.
Ex parte motions allow a judge to grant temporary relief before the other party has an opportunity to respond. The case is scheduled for a court date within 14 days from when the ex parte request is made and temporary relief is granted.
Speak with a lawyer
You should seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer whose practice focuses child support and other family law issues if you are in need of temporary child support. The lawyer can review the facts and circumstances to determine the best method of proceeding to obtain the result you desire.