Child support agreements in Ontario
When parents separate or divorce, they should try to agree on the amount of child support. You and the other parent may set up your own child support agreement. It is a good idea to put your agreement in writing and sign it. If you do this, there is less risk of a misunderstanding. It is also easier to enforce a written and signed agreement.
If you and the other parent set up your own agreement, you may have some flexibility about the child support amount as long as it is fair. When deciding on a child support amount, you may find it helpful to know how much support a judge would likely order to be paid in your situation.
Judges must base decisions about child support on child support guidelines. These are sets of rules and tables. The Federal Child Support Guidelines (Federal Guidelines) are regulations under the Divorce Act. There are also child support guidelines in provincial and territorial laws. The ones that apply to you depend on your situation. The Step-by-Step Guide will help you figure out which guidelines apply in your case.
This Guide also has other information to help you make decisions about child support. For example, it has information on how to calculate income to determine a child support amount. It also has information on some things you should consider to ensure that the child support amount is fair.
Most provincial and territorial child support guidelines are a lot like the Federal Guidelines. However, there may be some differences. To get information on provincial or territorial guidelines, contact the Ministry of Justice or Attorney General of that province or territory or check their website.
Where to get help
You are strongly encouraged to seek advice from a professional, such as a family law lawyer, even if you can only afford one or two consultations.
For example, we can help you:
- understand which guidelines apply to you
- use those guidelines to calculate a child support amount
- understand your legal rights and obligations
- understand your child’s rights and best interests
- provide the right documents if you go to court.