Alberta family law: Calculating the correct child support payment

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute LLP posted in Family Law on Friday, January 11, 2019.

When a couple with children splits up, there may be questions from each regarding child support — who pays and how much. Family law in Alberta has succinct rules regarding how child support payments should be calculated. Who pays depends a lot on the custody arrangement and how much income each parent generates. Usually, the one who earns the most is the payor.

Essentially, who the children spend most of their time with will be the payee. Once the paying parent knows his or her gross income, he or she can use the Child Support Look Up Table in Alberta to come to a support figure by using the online calculator. To use the calculator, the paying parent enters his or her annual income before taxes, enters how many children are involved, selects the province in which he or she lives and then clicks on the look up button. The monthly payment will appear in blue.

The federal government fashioned child support payment guidelines that are administered by each province. The calculator follows those guidelines. It gives both parents an indication of what the law considers to be a fair payment, keeping in line with the best interests of the children. The calculator also figures out what each parent should be paying if parenting is shared, but it is still the higher income earner who usually pays more.

There are many areas which can be confusing when it comes to child support. An Alberta lawyer is in a position to enlighten his or her clients regarding those areas that may seem unclear. A lawyer can also explain calculating other expenses for children such as extracurricular activities, extra health care costs and child care costs.

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