So you’ve paid your monthly child support on time and in full. Why are you still getting requests to pay for other things for the kids then? As outlined in the Federal Child Support Guidelines, there are different categories of child support. The monthly base child support that is typically identified in court orders through the use of the Guideline Charts are what is known as base or section 3 child support. Section 7 expenses of the Guidelines states that there may be additional costs and support. You may be on the hook to pay this and they are usually specific to the needs of each individual child.
What is this potential add on payments you might have to make? The government of Canada has characterized them as expenses that may be necessary. This is because they are in the child’s best interest. They may be reasonable given the financial means of the child’s parents. This gives a fairly broad test as to what can constitute a section 7 expense. The most prevalent section 7 expenses concern the care and general wellbeing of the child. These expenses might include daycare, dentists, and medical expenses.
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Section 7 Expenses Can Involve
- secondary school education
- disability or educational payments
- benefits or income tax
- medical and dental insurance premiums
- extracurricular activities
- income tax deductions
- subsidies benefits or income
- taking the childs best interests into account
- child support tables
- tax deductions or credits
- special or extraordinary expenses
- federal child support guidelines
Federal Child Support Guidelines
Other expenses such as post-secondary education costs and extracurricular activities can often cause intense conflict between ex-spouses. This is because they are not always clearly identified as qualifying as section 7 expenses. If your child is playing recreational hockey, both parents are likely not going to argue that they should pay for the child’s equipment and team registration fees.
This same child is chosen to play for a provincial-level team where the team fees include travel expenses for national tournaments. Other expenses might be additional equipment due to increased playing time, and higher registration costs as it is now an elevated level of hockey. Depending on the spending capabilities of the parents, these fees may all be recognized as section 7 expenses.
The best way to combat the confusion and stress surrounding what your child’s section 7 expenses may be is to consult a family law lawyer. You will need to work with your former spouse to establish mutual expectations. An understanding of your agreement concerning what fees are to be paid by who is important.
The Ontario Courts have recognized and followed individual agreements constructed by parents concerning what constitutes section 7 expenses in their specific family law matters. It is worth the extra effort to discuss these matters. Further, including them in your separation and parenting agreements is valuable. The alternative is facing future court battles in order to determine the issues later on.
These are basically additional expenses that are not covered under what the child needs to survive. It needs to be seen as being reasonable. Therefore, it needs to take into account the amount of money the other parents makes. Normally, the parents need to contribute equally to cover the section 7 expenses. These sorts of expenses are often:
- university of college expenses
- large medical costs
- getting extra teaching
- doing sports
- getting electronics
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Section 7 Expenses FAQ’s
Can Spouse Income Be Used for Child Support?
Yes, it is part of the calculation. However, there are other factors as well.
What Is Considered as Income for Child Support?
This would be defined by the CRA. There are definitions for what counts as income. In short, it’s complex.
Can You Use Child Support as Income for a Mortgage?
That is up to the bank to decide. It’s not a legal question.