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Child-Support and Employment Change

Posted in Child Support on 22nd August 2011

Child-Support and Employment Change

Child Support payments in Canada are appointed by the judge and starting from 1997 regulated by federal Child Support Guidelines. The initial appointment of the Child Support payments id divided into four steps. It starts with the calculation of the gross incomes of the parties. The second step is entering the non-custodial parent’s gross income is entered into the Table, under the appropriate number of children. It shows the tax free amount of money the non-custodial parent must pay the custodial parent each month for child support. If the parenting time is shared equal then the gross incomes of each parent are entered into the Table. The lower result is then subtracted from the higher number and then the difference is payable by the higher income earner to the lower income earner. Still there are some excepti`ons for some cases. Third step is determining the expenses for things like child care, health care, educational expenses, post-secondary educational expenses or extracurricular expenses, the expenses are shared in proportion to the parties’ gross incomes.

While in Canada everything is pretty clear with appointing the initial Child-Support itself a big question is what happens to the Child-Support payments when the payer changes his employment or salary. The Child Support Guidelines state that the court may impute such amount of income to a spouse as it considers appropriate in the circumstances. The circumstances include situations when the spouse is intentionally under-employed or unemployed, other than where the under-employment or unemployment is required by the needs of a child of the marriage or any child under the age of majority or by the reasonable educational or health needs of the spouse. The most important factor for all the decisions of the courts is how and why did the employment or salary changed. The court actually works under the line that after a divorce the child must benefit from the finances of the both spouses. If one of the spouses lost his job intentionally (voluntary act) for example choose to earn less than he or she is capable of earning or he or she choose not to work when capable of earning income, then the court will most probably be on the side of the other spouse. Still if the loss of the job or income is lost due to no fault of the spouse (like reducing the hours of work or being fired for some other reason), the section does not apply to such situations. In practice the results vary from case to case and from province to province. While it is easy to conduct an investigation and find out the reason of loosing income, there are also some ethical questions involved. The biggest one is that Child Support Payments usually limit the personal interests of the spouses. For example if you worked as an office clerk and decided to pursue a music career you will most probably be limited by the payments and the court will not support your decision.