Child & Spousal Support

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Financial Support for Children

Child support matters should be approached with sensitivity, fairness, and a focus on achieving financial stability for your family. Let us give you the peace of mind that comes from securing a fair and just support arrangement for your loved ones.

Both parties share a joint financial obligation to care for their children. Individuals who act in place of a parent (like stepparents) may also be required to pay support. Federal and provincial guidelines specify child support amounts based on income, the number of children, and the parenting arrangement. Children need financial support from their parents–and they have a legal right to it. Even adult children may be entitled to continuing support, such as while they attend full-time studies.

Child support falls into two categories: section 3 expenses (like food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities) and section 7 (expenses that fall outside of basic living expenses). Typically, section 3 expenses are paid to the recipient parent monthly, while section 7 expenses are apportioned between the parents.

Determining Support Payments

Parenting arrangements may alter how child support is determined. Shared parenting is when each parent has the children more than 40% of the time. Split parenting means that at least one child lives with one parent more than 60% of the time. If the proper amount of support is not paid, retroactive child support payments may go back as far as three years. Both parents owe a duty to disclose their incomes.

You may be able to raise or lower a child support obligation if you’re experiencing undue hardship. This could be educational debt, support obligations for other children or spouses, or costs associated with supporting a current spouse who is unable to support themselves due to illness or disability. While the test for undue hardship is not easily met, we can advocate on your behalf if you feel it applies to you.


To help you determine the amount of child support you will pay or receive, you can access these government resources online:


Spousal support is commonly determined using this resource:

When Spouses Need Support

In addition to child support, you or your spouse may have to pay spousal support. This refers to support provided between spouses or partners who were married and are applying for support under the Divorce Act or the Family Law Act. Partner support is support provided between adult interdependent partners as defined in the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act.

This support recognizes the interdependence of relationships and seeks to balance the advantages and disadvantages of the situation. The process of determining support accounts for whether there is an entitlement to support, and if so, how much support and for how long it is payable.

Spousal support can be contractual, meaning that the parties sign an agreement. It can also be compensatory, awarded because of an economic disadvantage of the marriage (for instance, if one parent was responsible for childcare during the marriage and suffered a loss of earning capacity as a result). Finally, non-compensatory spousal support is based on the recipient’s needs. This may apply if one spouse or partner has a significant decline in their standard of living after the separation, for example.

Find out more about our services for Family & Divorce, Child & Spousal Support, and Property Division. 

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