If you are contemplating separating from your spouse or partner and have minor children, you may have heard some myths about child support and have general concerns.
Myth #1: The parent that earns the most always pays child support.
While it might seem this might seem true, it is not always the case. This is because the family courts consider different factors when determining which parent will pay child support. For example, if the parent, who earns the most, has the majority of parenting time with the children, they may not have to pay child support.
Additionally, if the discrepancy in income between the parents is not that much and they have a shared or split parenting time agreement, neither parent may be required to pay child support.
Myth #2: Child support payments are required for parenting time.
A major misconception separated parents have is if the payor – the parent who is paying child support – stops paying child support or has arrears of past-due payments, the other parent can withhold parenting time until payments are current.
This is not true. Parenting orders and child support orders are two separate things. If the payor is not making child support payments, they are still allowed parenting time. Conversely, some parents may be required to pay child support payments and have no parenting time with their children.
Myth #3: If the payor quits their job, they don’t have to pay child support.
Another common misconception about child support payments is if the payor parent quits their job or intentionally takes a job earning less money to either get out of paying child support or reduce their payments.
The family courts put the child’s best interest first and foremost about the parents. So while parents are free to quit their jobs, take a job earning less, or even start a business, they still are required to pay child support.
In cases like this, the court will impute the payor parent’s income to ensure they are meeting their financial obligation to their minor children. Imputing income means the court will base child support payments on an amount that better reflects the payor parent’s earning capacity, not what they are currently earning.
Myth #4: Once a child support agreement is finalized, it can never be modified.
Some people believe that once they reach a child support agreement, it remains in effect until the agreed-upon termination of the order, like the children turn 18 or complete their post-secondary degrees.
However, the payor parent must submit updated earnings and financial information should the other parent make a formal request. Normally, these requests are made in cases where the payor got a pay increase or started a new job at a higher wage.
Child support orders can also be modified if there is a change in parenting time. For instance, the payor’s parenting time increased from 40% to 50%. Since the children are with the parent more often, the payor could request a reduction in child support to reflect this change.
As evident, both parents have a financial responsibility to their minor children. For help resolving child support issues, including obtaining a child support agreement, please feel free to contact Ottawa’s child support lawyer, Tanya Davies from Davies Law Firm, at (613) 688-0462 today!