The new Guidelines came into force in Québec On May 1, 1997. The previous system was based on the specific needs of the children and the ability of the parent to pay. The parent with custody had to calculate reasonable payments for each child. That resulted figure was divided between the two parents - proportionally to their incomes. Such method resulted in unpredictable and uneven support amounts.
The new child support model introduced major changes. The new Guidelines base the amount of support on the paying parent’s income and the number of children. The required child support amounts take into consideration the average spending on children at a similar income level. It can be calculated with the Quebec Child Support Calculator.
The Guidelines provide both lawyers and judges with a consistent method for detecting the appropriate amount of child support and protects a basic amount of income for the self-support of the paying parent.
What Are Net Child Care Expenses?
Net child care expenses are the annual child care expenses which must be paid to a child care provider so that the custodial parent can work, attend school or a training program or because of the custodial parent’s illness. Any benefit, subsidy, deduction or income tax credit relating to the expenses must be deducted from the total, such as the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) paid to the parents. Since the UCCB is taxable, the net after-tax amount received must be applied to reduce the amount of net child care expenses. Each parent must calculate the tax benefit related to child care expenses and deduct it from the gross amount of the expenses paid. The net cost of child care expenses will be divided between the two parents in the final calculation of child support.
What Are Net Post-Secondary Education Expenses?
Net post-secondary education expenses are the annual expenses paid to enable a child to pursue a post-secondary education. They include tuition fees, the cost of books and materials, and necessary transportation, food or housing costs. Any benefit, subsidy, deduction or income tax credit relating to the expenses must be deducted from the total, as must any amount received by the child as a student loan or bursary. Each parent must calculate the tax benefit related to the expenses and deduct it from the gross amount of the expenses paid. The net cost of post-secondary education expenses must then be divided between the two parents in the final calculation of child support.
What Are Net Special Expenses?
Net special expenses are expenses other than child care and post-secondary education expenses. They typically include medical expenses or the costs relating to a child’s elementary or secondary education, another educational program or extra-curricular activities. Any related benefit, subsidy, deduction or income tax credit must be deducted from the total. Each parent must calculate the tax benefit related to the expenses and deduct it from the gross amount of the expenses paid. The net cost of the special expenses must then be divided between the two parents in the final calculation of child support. If the parents cannot agree on the necessity of the special expenses, they will have to ask a Court to decide whether the expenses will be allowed, and the amount that will be allowed.
Do the Guidelines Permit Adjustments?
Yes. Not all families or children are alike. The Guidelines are intended to set a minimum level for parental contribution. The amount of support may be adjusted in certain circumstances. For example, a court may adjust the payments if the table amount causes undue hardship to either parent or the child. This might happen when the parent paying support has exceptionally high family-related debts, or significant costs in visiting the children or supporting other children or dependants. However, the court will only reduce the amount if the standard of living of the support payor’s household would be lower than the other household.
The Child Support Guidelines recognize that other factors might justify support payments that are different from the table.
These include the type of custody arrangement, special provisions contained in an order, income over $150,000, and so on.