Federal Child Support Guidelines
P.C. 1997-469 1997-04-08
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice, pursuant to section 26.1Footnote a of the Divorce ActFootnote b, hereby establishes the annexed Federal Child Support Guidelines.
1 The objectives of these Guidelines are
(a) to establish a fair standard of support for children that ensures that they continue to benefit from the financial means of both spouses after separation;
(b) to reduce conflict and tension between spouses by making the calculation of child support orders more objective;
(c) to improve the efficiency of the legal process by giving courts and spouses guidance in setting the levels of child support orders and encouraging settlement; and
(d) to ensure consistent treatment of spouses and children who are in similar circumstances.
2 (1) The definitions in this subsection apply in these Guidelines.
Act means the Divorce Act. (Loi)
child means a child of the marriage. (enfant)
income means the annual income determined under sections 15 to 20. (revenu)
- majority of parenting time
majority of parenting time means a period of time that is more than 60% of parenting time over the course of a year. (majorité du temps parental)
- order assignee
order assignee means a minister, member or agency referred to in subsection 20.1(1) of the Act to whom a child support order is assigned in accordance with that subsection. (cessionnaire de la créance alimentaire)
spouse[Repealed, SOR/2020-247, s. 1]
table means a federal child support table set out in Schedule I. (table)
- universal child care benefit
universal child care benefit means a benefit provided under section 4 of the Universal Child Care Benefit Act. (prestation universelle pour la garde d’enfants)
Marginal note:Income Tax Act
(2) Words and expressions that are used in sections 15 to 21 and that are not defined in this section have the meanings assigned to them under the Income Tax Act.
Marginal note:Most current information
(3) Where, for the purposes of these Guidelines, any amount is determined on the basis of specified information, the most current information must be used.
Marginal note:Application of Guidelines
(4) In addition to child support orders, these Guidelines apply, with such modifications as the circumstances require, to
(a) interim orders under subsections 15.1(2), 18.1(12) or 19(10) of the Act;
(b) orders varying a child support order;
(c) orders under subsections 18.1(15) or 19(13) of the Act;
(c.1) calculations of child support under subsection 25.01(1) of the Act; and
(d) recalculations of the amount of child support orders under subsection 25.1(1) of the Act.
Marginal note:Calculations and recalculations
(5) For greater certainty, the provisions of these Guidelines that confer a discretionary power on a court do not apply to calculations or recalculations by a provincial child support service under subsection 25.01(1) or 25.1(1) of the Act.
- SOR/2007-59, s. 1
- SOR/2020-247, s. 1
Amount of Child Support
Marginal note:Presumptive rule
3 (1) Unless otherwise provided under these Guidelines, the amount of a child support order for children under the age of majority is
(a) the amount set out in the applicable table, according to the number of children under the age of majority to whom the order relates and the income of the spouse against whom the order is sought; and
(b) the amount, if any, determined under section 7.
Marginal note:Child the age of majority or over
(2) Unless otherwise provided under these Guidelines, where a child to whom a child support order relates is the age of majority or over, the amount of the child support order is
(a) the amount determined by applying these Guidelines as if the child were under the age of majority; or
(b) if the court considers that approach to be inappropriate, the amount that it considers appropriate, having regard to the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of the child and the financial ability of each spouse to contribute to the support of the child.
Marginal note:Applicable table
(3) The applicable table is
(a) if the spouse against whom an order is sought resides in Canada,
(i) the table for the province in which that spouse habitually resides at the time the application for the child support order or for a variation order in respect of the child support order is made,
(ii) if the court is satisfied that the province in which that spouse habitually resides has changed since the time described in subparagraph (i), the table for the province in which the spouse habitually resides at the time of determining the amount of support, or
(iii) if the court is satisfied that, in the near future after determination of the amount of support, that spouse will habitually reside in a given province other than the province in which the spouse habitually resides at the time of that determination, the table for the given province;
(a.1) if the spouse who is subject to a calculation or recalculation under subsection 25.01(1) or 25.1(1) of the Act resides in Canada, the table for the province in which that spouse habitually resides at the time the amount of child support is to be calculated or recalculated under subsection 25.01(1) or 25.1(1) of the Act; and
(b) if the spouse against whom a child support order is sought, or who is subject to a calculation or a recalculation under subsection 25.01(1) or 25.1(1) of the Act, resides outside of Canada, or if the residence of that spouse is unknown, the table for the province where the other spouse habitually resides at the time the application for the child support order or for a variation order in respect of the child support order is made, or at the time the amount of child support is to be calculated or recalculated under subsection 25.01(1) or 25.1(1) of the Act.
- SOR/97-563, s. 1
- SOR/2020-247, s. 2
Marginal note:Incomes over $150,000
4 Where the income of the spouse against whom a child support order is sought is over $150,000, the amount of a child support order is
(a) the amount determined under section 3; or
(b) if the court considers that amount to be inappropriate,
(i) in respect of the first $150,000 of the spouse’s income, the amount set out in the applicable table for the number of children under the age of majority to whom the order relates;
(ii) in respect of the balance of the spouse’s income, the amount that the court considers appropriate, having regard to the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of the children who are entitled to support and the financial ability of each spouse to contribute to the support of the children; and
(iii) the amount, if any, determined under section 7.
Marginal note:Spouse in place of a parent
5 Where the spouse against whom a child support order is sought stands in the place of a parent for a child, the amount of a child support order is, in respect of that spouse, such amount as the court considers appropriate, having regard to these Guidelines and any other parent’s legal duty to support the child.
Marginal note:Medical and dental insurance
6 In making a child support order, where medical or dental insurance coverage for the child is available to either spouse through his or her employer or otherwise at a reasonable rate, the court may order that coverage be acquired or continued.
Marginal note:Special or extraordinary expenses
7 (1) In a child support order the court may, on either spouse’s request, provide for an amount to cover all or any portion of the following expenses, which expenses may be estimated, taking into account the necessity of the expense in relation to the child’s best interests and the reasonableness of the expense in relation to the means of the spouses and those of the child and to the family’s spending pattern prior to the separation:
(a) child care expenses incurred as a result of the employment, illness, disability or education or training for employment of the spouse who has the majority of parenting time;
(b) that portion of the medical and dental insurance premiums attributable to the child;
(c) health-related expenses that exceed insurance reimbursement by at least $100 annually, including orthodontic treatment, professional counselling provided by a psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist or any other person, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and prescription drugs, hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses;
(d) extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school education or for any other educational programs that meet the child’s particular needs;
(e) expenses for post-secondary education; and
(f) extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities.
Marginal note:Definition of “extraordinary expenses”
(1.1) For the purposes of paragraphs (1)(d) and (f), the term extraordinary expenses means
(a) expenses that exceed those that the spouse requesting an amount for the extraordinary expenses can reasonably cover, taking into account that spouse’s income and the amount that the spouse would receive under the applicable table or, where the court has determined that the table amount is inappropriate, the amount that the court has otherwise determined is appropriate; or
(b) where paragraph (a) is not applicable, expenses that the court considers are extraordinary taking into account
(i) the amount of the expense in relation to the income of the spouse requesting the amount, including the amount that the spouse would receive under the applicable table or, where the court has determined that the table amount is inappropriate, the amount that the court has otherwise determined is appropriate,
(ii) the nature and number of the educational programs and extracurricular activities,
(iii) any special needs and talents of the child or children,
(iv) the overall cost of the programs and activities, and
(v) any other similar factor that the court considers relevant.
Marginal note:Sharing of expense
(2) The guiding principle in determining the amount of an expense referred to in subsection (1) is that the expense is shared by the spouses in proportion to their respective incomes after deducting from the expense, the contribution, if any, from the child.
Marginal note:Subsidies, tax deductions, etc.
(3) Subject to subsection (4), in determining the amount of an expense referred to in subsection (1), the court must take into account any subsidies, benefits or income tax deductions or credits relating to the expense, and any eligibility to claim a subsidy, benefit or income tax deduction or credit relating to the expense.
Marginal note:Universal child care benefit
(4) In determining the amount of an expense referred to in subsection (1), the court shall not take into account any universal child care benefit or any eligibility to claim that benefit.
- SOR/2000-337, s. 1
- SOR/2000-390, s. 1(F)
- SOR/2005-400, s. 1
- SOR/2007-59, s. 2
- SOR/2020-247, s. 3
Marginal note:Split parenting time
8 If there are two or more children, and each spouse has the majority of parenting time with one or more of those children, the amount of a child support order is the difference between the amount that each spouse would otherwise pay if a child support order were sought against each of the spouses.
Marginal note:Shared parenting time
9 If each spouse exercises not less than 40% of parenting time with a child over the course of a year, the amount of the child support order must be determined by taking into account
(a) the amounts set out in the applicable tables for each of the spouses;
(b) the increased costs of shared parenting time arrangements; and
(c) the conditions, means, needs and other circumstances of each spouse and of any child for whom support is sought.
Marginal note:Undue hardship
10 (1) On either spouse’s application, a court may award an amount of child support that is different from the amount determined under any of sections 3 to 5, 8 or 9 if the court finds that the spouse making the request, or a child in respect of whom the request is made, would otherwise suffer undue hardship.
Marginal note:Circumstances that may cause undue hardship
(2) Circumstances that may cause a spouse or child to suffer undue hardship include the following:
(a) the spouse has responsibility for an unusually high level of debts reasonably incurred to support the spouses and their children prior to the separation or to earn a living;
(b) the spouse has unusually high expenses in relation to exercising parenting time with a child;
(c) the spouse has a legal duty under a judgment, order or written separation agreement to support any person;
(d) the spouse has a legal duty to support a child, other than a child of the marriage, who is
(i) under the age of majority, or
(ii) the age of majority or over but is unable, by reason of illness, disability or other cause, to obtain the necessaries of life; and
(e) the spouse has a legal duty to support any person who is unable to obtain the necessaries of life due to an illness or disability.
Marginal note:Standards of living must be considered
(3) Despite a determination of undue hardship under subsection (1), an application under that subsection must be denied by the court if it is of the opinion that the household of the spouse who claims undue hardship would, after determining the amount of child support under any of sections 3 to 5, 8 or 9, have a higher standard of living than the household of the other spouse.
Marginal note:Standards of living test
(4) In comparing standards of living for the purpose of subsection (3), the court may use the comparison of household standards of living test set out in Schedule II.
Marginal note:Reasonable time
(5) Where the court awards a different amount of child support under subsection (1), it may specify, in the child support order, a reasonable time for the satisfaction of any obligation arising from circumstances that cause undue hardship and the amount payable at the end of that time.
(6) Where the court makes a child support order in a different amount under this section, it must record its reasons for doing so.
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