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Child Support in Manitoba, Canada.
“All children should continue to benefit from the financial means of both parents as if they were still together”
Child support is the right of the child, and in Canada, a judge must be content that the best financial arrangements have been made for the children before granting a divorce. All children are legally entitled to support from both parents. If you are the non-principal residence parent and your children are under the age of majority, and or unable to live independently because of illness, disability, or because they are attending school at a post secondary level – then you are required by law to pay child support.
Child support amounts are based upon the following:
- Living arrangements of the children;
- Number of children;
- Federal Child Support Guidelines; and/or
- Provincial/Territorial Child Support Guidelines.
The government devised a formula to pay child support based upon the following factors:
- Gross income of the parents;
- Cost of living;
- Provincial income tax;
- Average national amounts that families spend on child care.
A child support agreement can be arranged by having the parents find mutual agreement outside of court, or by having a legal ruling set by a judge in court.
Parents can also write their own child support agreement without involving lawyers or the courts. To write their own agreement, both parties must agree that the amounts laid out are fair and binding. To determine fair payment of child support, parents will use the support guideline tables set by the government. It is not recommended to write your own agreements if you are not in an amicable situation with your ex partner.
The Child Support Guideline Table amount is mandatory. If a parent believes that the child support amount is too high, they can go to court and fight to have it reduced. In some cases, day care, extra-curricular activities, educational expenses or medical/health/ dental expenses which aren’t covered by health insurance plans may require a parent to pay more than what the table amounts indicate. In proportion to the parent’s incomes, after-tax costs of the above-mentioned special expenses are tax deductible.
If a judge is determining child support payments, they will utilize the following:
Federal Child Support Guidelines: These will be used if the parents were legally married. Although, if both parents reside in Manitoba, New Brunswick, or Quebec, the provincial guidelines will be applied.
Provincial/Territorial Child Support Guidelines: These will be used if the couple was never legally married, or if they are legally married and only seeking a separation (instead of a divorce). Although , if both parents reside in Manitoba, New Brunswick, or Quebec, provincial guidelines will be used for couples seeking divorce as well.
Parents are legally obligated to comply with all child support agreements/orders and there are consequences for not meeting these obligations. However, there are also legal options for individuals that are enduring undue hardships which make their support payments truly unmanageable.
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