WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN’S NEEDS DURING A DIVORCE OR A SEPARATION?

When going through a separation or divorce and children are involved, many times there are financial questions which may arise and cause differences between the parties.

Child support is payable by one parent to the other and is based on their respective gross incomes and revenues.

Child support is also payable in every type of custody arrangement if there exists a discrepancy between the incomes of the parties.

In addition, child support is also payable if the parties were never married as in accordance with article 522 of the Quebec Civil Code, “All children whose filiation is established have the same rights and obligations, regardless of their circumstances of birth.”

Child support can be based on Federal guidelines or Provincial guidelines depending on where the parties reside.

In the case of the application of the Federal guidelines, the parties use only the income and revenues of the payer to establish the child support and the amounts vary depending on the number of children and province of the where the payer resides.

If the payer no longer resides in Canada, then it is the province where the child and the creditor of the child support reside.

Since divorce is regulated by the federal government, the Federal guidelines apply solely in circumstances of parties who are in the midst of a divorce or are already divorced and wish to have the amount revised and modified.

The Provincial guidelines are in accordance with the gross revenues and incomes of both parties and the number of children involved. They are applicable when both parties reside in the province of Quebec and also in the case of parties who reside in different provinces or countries but have never been married.

In both Federal child support and Provincial child support cases, the child support can be payable to the creditor directly or through the involvement by the Quebec Revenue Agency in order to ensure the consistent payment of same.

The basic Child Support amount is meant to cover the basic expenses for the children, such as:

  • food
  • lodging
  • communication services
  • household maintenance
  • personal care
  • clothing
  • furniture
  • transportation
  • activities

There are also Special and Particular expenses relating to the children which may have to be assumed by the parties for the benefit of the children.
These particular expenses must be necessary and reasonable both in terms of costs and to the age of the child.
Parents are also encouraged, to the greatest extent possible, to try and diminish the overall costs associated with these expenses.
A quick explanation of particular expenses would be expenses that are not commonly associated to every child.

For example:

  • Tutoring
  • Medical costs not covered by the RAMQ such as orthodontic (braces)
    • Private school in the event that both parents agree or if is required for the child
    • Costs related to special programs in elementary and secondary schools or for boarding school
  • Costs associated with extra-curricular activities for the child.  (A special mention must be made at this point in that the costs associated with same exceed the normal cost allotted to extra-curricular activities.  Normally costs for extra-curricular activities are included in the basic child support. Parents should be vigilant and not automatically expect that all costs will be covered simply because it is an activity. A cost such as piano or violin lessons may be considered a special or particular expense for one family but not for another family)
  • Day camps and overnight camps during summertime periods </div>
Ultimately, if one of the parents is not in agreement with assuming a portion of the cost associated with the particular expense, the courts may be seized. The court however may decide that the expense is not necessary based on the immediate needs and circumstances  of the child.

Do not hesitate to communicate with our firm with regards to any questions you may have relating to child support and special expenses for your children.

Ofelia Lamanna, attorney

Azran & Associés Avocats inc.

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