Child Support Agreements – Basic Questions that the Parties Need to Answer

Written by Allison R. McAlpine

A Separation Agreement outlines the various obligations and rights that each party has in relation to all issues resulting from the breakdown of the relationship including child support.

There are various issues that have to be worked out in a child support agreement which include the following:

  • Determining the income to be used for each spouse.
  • Who will pay monthly child support, a start date, and an amount?
  •  When will child support stop? What age? After how many degrees/diplomas?
  • How much will each parent pay towards a child’s special or extraordinary expenses (e.g., daycare, educational expenses, extracurricular activity expenses, health expenses), when and what documentation needs to be provided? This is usually resolved with a percentage of the expense.
  • Each party’s, and the children’s, obligations towards post-secondary educational costs.
  • How to deal with RESPs the parties have accumulated during the relationship.
  • Ongoing financial disclosure obligations after the Agreement is signed for so long as child support is payable.
  • When child support can be changed and the process for that.
  •  Each parent’s rights regarding tax benefits and credits.
  • How child support will be paid and enforced (e.g., filing or non-filing with the Family Responsibility Office).
  • Interest on late support payments.
  • Medical and dental benefit obligations of the parties.
  • Life insurance obligations (to secure child support) of the parties, disclosure relating to same and any review clauses (i.e., when life insurance obligations can change or terminate).

These are the basic questions that are answered in determining how a child support agreement is drafted.

There are various ways that parents can resolve the issues relating to child support which include (from least expensive to most expensive):

  1. A Kitchen-Table Agreement – the parents note what they have agreed to and one takes it to a lawyer to get prepared into a proper and binding agreement, and the other parent hires a lawyer to provide independent legal advice on it.
  2. Mediation – the parents meet with an independent mediator who helps the parties to resolve the issues. The parents then meet with separate lawyers to get the Agreement drafted and obtain legal advice on it.
  3. Lawyer Negotiation/Collaborative – the parents each retain a lawyer to help him/her resolve the issues and draft an Agreement.
  4. Arbitration – the parents hire an arbitrator to make a decision on the issues.
  5. Court – a Judge makes the final decision on these issues. Although, the parties can settle their dispute at any time during the court process.

At Chapman McAlpine Law, we are experienced in answering these questions relating to child support and Agreements. If you would like to discuss these issues relating to child support with one of our lawyers, please contact our office to book a no-obligation consultation at 705-302-3696.

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