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Since the enactment of the Child Support Guidelines in 1997, the monthly amount of child support is primarily based on the income of the non-custodial parent, the number of children in the family and which province the children reside in. Tables are published that set out the amount that the non-custodial parent must pay to the custodial parent. The table amounts are for the children’s ordinary expenses such food, clothing and shelter. For example, a non-custodial parent of two children in Ontario who earns $40,000 per year will pay to the custodial parent a table amount of $570 per month. The custodial parent’s income becomes relevant where the children have special or extraordinary expenses such as daycare, extracurricular activities or private school tuition. In that case, the parents share these costs in proportion to their incomes.
As soon as one of the following three circumstances has occurred: the other spouse has committed adultery, the other spouse has committed cruelty, or the spouses have separated. As soon as one of these circumstances has occurred, a spouse can commence an application for divorce. If separation is used as the ground to obtain a divorce, the spouses need to have been separated for at least one year before a judge will grant a divorce order.
A parent who does not have day-to-day care and control of the children usually will be responsible for paying child support. The amount is based on that parent’s income and on the special and extraordinary expenses of the children.