Child Support & Spousal Support


Child and Spousal Support is a Complex Area of Family Law.

Child support refers to the amount payable by one parent to the other for the support of a child, while spousal support refers to the amount payable from one spouse to the other for the support of the recipient spouse.


The Child Support Guidelines govern child support in Ontario. Child support refers to a monthly amount of support payable by one parent to the other parent for the support of a child (to assist with items such as food, clothing, housing costs, transportation costs, etc.), as well as add-on expenses known as special or extraordinary expenses, which are either ongoing or one-time expenses that are in addition to the monthly Guideline amount.

The monthly Guideline amount is usually straightforward and commonly based on the payor’s income, the number of children, and the corresponding value in the Child Support Guidelines. However, there are complicating factors that can significantly affect the amount of child support payable, which parents should obtain legal advice on, including:

  • Shared physical custody (i.e., both parents having the child for at least 40% of the time over the course of a year) or split physical custody (one parent having one or more children primarily, and the other parent having the other children);
  • Undue hardship claims;
  • Determining income: RRSP income, self-employed individuals, non-taxable income, etc.;
  • Imputing income – when a parent is intentionally underemployed or unemployed (intentional simply means capable of earning more income than that parent is earning, not necessarily an intention to avoid child support);
  • A child over the age of 18 years;
  • A child withdrawing from parental control;
  • A parent not providing proper financial disclosure;
  • A parent earning $150,000.00 or more; and

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At Chapman McAlpine Law, we can help you navigate through and resolve these complex child support issues in family law.

The child support lawyers at Chapman McAlpine Law can also help you in the area of determining child custody and special or extraordinary expenses (i.e., add-on expenses). 

These expenses refer to certain health-related expenses, child care expenses, medical and dental insurance premiums, educational expenses, and extracurricular activities. There are tests and conditions to meet for each of these types of expenses to be eligible for contributions from the other parent and in what amount.

If you have any questions or concerns relating to child support or special or extraordinary expenses, contact our lawyers today to book a no-obligation consultation.

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Spousal Support may be referred to as “alimony”. It is a payment from one spouse to the other for that spouse’s own benefit. Spousal support can be made in periodic payments (monthly is the most common) or in a lump sum. Periodic payments ,so long as they are in a proper separation agreement or court order, are tax deductible for the payer and taxable income for the recipient.

There are four issues in spousal support that need to be determined: entitlement, quantum, commencement date and duration.

Spousal support entitlement is based on a number of factors such as:

•  The length of cohabitation (i.e., how long have the parties lived together);

•  The roles of each spouse during their marriage or common-law relationship;

•  The financial means and needs of both parents;

•  The post-separation roles of caring for the children;

•  The financial hardship of one party over the other as a result of the relationship or its breakdown;

•  Whether one party was financially disadvantaged by the relationship or its breakdown (e.g., gave up work opportunities for the sake of the family while the other party pursued a career, staying at home to raise the family rather than working, etc.); and

•  Any order, agreements or arrangements already in place about spousal support.

Unlike, child support, the amount of spousal support one spouse may have to pay to the other is not straight forward and is complex, as is the duration of spousal support. There are Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines which can help produce a range of outcomes but these Guidelines have not been made into law. While Courts do take these Guidelines into account they are not bound by them. The commencement or start date for spousal support is also governed by complex legal principles especially if someone has delayed in pursuing their rights. Further, agreements regarding spousal support should take into account any reviews, future changes, unemployment, retirement, and other factors.

Spousal support is a complex area of family law.

 It is important to receive independent legal advice about spousal support as soon as possible after separation or even before separation. The lawyers at Chapman McAlpine Law will ensure that you understand your spousal support rights and obligations.If you have any questions or concerns regarding spousal support please contact our office today to book a no-obligation consultation with one of our lawyers.

helping with resolution agreements

Spousal support after separation is important for your children.

The following are some of the objectives that the judges are tasked with determining whether or not spousal support would accomplish:

  • To compensate the partner whose income is lower for the fact that they have given up some of their ability to make cash while they are married;
  • To serve as a means of compensating the partner with the lesser income for the continued responsibility of child care; or
  • To provide assistance to one partner who is struggling financially if the other partner has the means to do so.

In the same vein, the court is obligated to take into consideration the fact that a spouse who is awarded maintenance has a duty to work their way up to the point where they can support themselves.

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