The Federal Child Support Guidelines: Step-by-Step

Worksheet 3: Compare households’ standards of living

Line-by-line help

As indicated in Step 8, either of you can ask for a change in the child support amount if the amount would create undue hardship for you or for a child.

Undue hardship refers to excessive financial difficulties.

To determine undue hardship under the Federal Child Support Guidelines, you need to compare the standards of living in both households. To do this, you need to:

  1. calculate the income of every member of both households;
  2. adjust each person’s income according to the rules set out in the Federal Guidelines; and
  3. calculate the household income ratio.

A claim for undue hardship can only be accepted if the parent making the claim can show that their household’s standard of living is not higher than the standard of living in the household of the other parent.

You can use Worksheet 1 to calculate the income of each member of your household. But you will probably need to make some adjustments to those incomes for undue hardship purposes. This is because the objective of the undue hardship test is to give a complete and accurate picture of the standard of living for each household. Worksheet 3 will help you make those adjustments and calculate the household income ratio.

Remember, Worksheet 3 provides one way to calculate the standards of living for the two households. You may decide to use another way to compare the standards of living of your households if you think it is more appropriate in your circumstances.

Have your information ready

Since the comparison of your households’ standards of living is based largely on income, have on hand the same income information and/or documents that you needed to calculate your income in Worksheet 1. A completed Worksheet 1 for each of you, as well as for any other income earning member of your household will be important for your calculations.

How to use this worksheet

This worksheet uses the terms parent A and parent B to help both of you keep track of your information. These terms could apply to either of you. There are two parts to Worksheet 3. You can use part A for parent A’s household and part B for parent B’s household. These terms could apply to either of you. Just make sure you use the same term for the same parent all the way through.

Not all lines will apply to your situation. You can just skip those. Parts A and B each have separate columns that you can use for each member of the household. If there are more than three income earners in either household, you can print off another copy of Worksheet 3 and attach the two together.

Annual income for undue hardship purposes

Line 47 – annual income

Copy on this line the annual income from line 19 on Worksheet 1 for each income-earning member of your household. Use a separate column for each household member.

Line 48 – Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB)

Enter on this line the amount of UCCB that any member of your household received for any child, if deducted on line 4 of Worksheet 1.

Line 49 – spousal support received from the other parent

If you receive spousal support from the other parent, put the amount here. You can find this amount on line 3 of Worksheet 1.

Line 50 – federal taxes payable

If your most recent return or notice of assessment represents an accurate and up-to-date report on current income, deductions and credits, enter the amount of federal tax payable from line 420 of your return or notice of assessment on this line.

If your income, deductions or credits have changed since your last return was filed and assessed, you will need to calculate the revised amount of federal taxes payable. This can be done by filling in the revised income, deductions and credit amounts on a return. (You do not need to send this return to anyone. It is just to help you with these calculations.)

This will help you calculate the amounts to enter on lines 50 and 51. Use pay slips or other income records to update the income amount to use for the tax return.

When you have completed this return, enter the amount appearing on line 420 of the return on this line.

Note: The figure on line 420 of the return does not apply to Quebec residents. Refer to the General Income Tax and Benefit Guide for information on how to calculate actual federal taxes payable. For example, consider how the Quebec abatement will affect federal taxes.

Line 51 – provincial or territorial taxes payable

Enter the amount of provincial or territorial taxes payable from line 428 of your return on this line.

Note: The figure on line 428 of the return does not apply to most Quebec residents. Refer to the Quebec income tax return (and, if applicable, line 428 on the return) to calculate actual provincial taxes payable. Please review the notes for line 50 about using the most up-to-date income information.

Line 52 – EI premiums payable

Enter the amount of premiums paid under the Employment Insurance Act from line 312 of Schedule 1 of your return (from Box 18 on all T4 slips) on this line of the worksheet. Please review the notes for line 50 about using the most up-to-date information.

Line 53 – CPP and QPP premiums payable

Write the amount of contributions made to the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan from lines 308 and 310 of Schedule 1 of your return (from Box 16 and Box 17 on all T4 slips and in accordance with Schedule 8 of your return) on this line. Please review the notes for line 50 about using the most up-to-date information.

Line 54 – total taxes and premium payable

Add lines 50, 51, 52 and 53 and enter the total on this line, for each applicable column.

Line 55 – annual income to compare standards of living

Add lines 47, 48, 49 and subtract line 54, then enter the result on this line for each applicable column.

Adjustments to annual income to compare standards of living

Deductions

Line 56 – annual amount related to undue hardship

You figured out circumstances causing undue hardship in Step 8 of this guide. Now, you need to figure out how much those circumstances are costing you annually. Include the amount on this line.

This line applies only to a parent who is claiming undue hardship. It does not apply to other household members.

If both of you are claiming undue hardship, both of you could have an amount on this line, in parts A and B of this worksheet.

Do not include on this line an amount for supporting a second family. The costs for this second family are taken into account in the low-income measures amount that will be included on line 65.

Line 57 – annual amount of child support you would pay to the other parent

This is the basic child support amount that either of you would pay the other under the Federal Guidelines if there were no claim for undue hardship. For the purposes of this line, you must enter the annual amount, not the monthly amount.

Note: Line 57 applies only to the parents.

Line 58 – annual amount of child and spousal support you and any other household member pay

This line represents the total amount that you and any other household member pay for child support or spousal support under a court order or written separation agreement.

Do not include any amount if line 56 already includes this support, or if the amount of support includes child support payable for a child for whom the amount on line 57 is calculated.

Line 59 – total deductions

For you, add lines 56, 57 and 58, and enter the total on this line. For any other household member, copy the amount from line 58 to this line.

Additions

Line 60 – annual amount of child support you would receive from the other parent

This is the amount that you would receive from the other parent under the Federal Guidelines if there were no undue hardship claim. For the purposes of this line, be sure you enter the annual amount, not the monthly amount.

Line 61 – annual amount of child support received by you or any other household member for another child

Enter the annual amount that you and any other household members receive for child support under a court order or a written separation agreement. Do not enter an amount for any children who are included in the amount on line 60.

Line 62 – total additions

For you, add lines 60 and 61 and write the total on this line. For any other household member, copy the amount from line 61 to this line.

Calculate the household income ratio

Line 63 – adjusted annual income to compare standards of living

Before comparing standards of living, you need to adjust annual income. To do so, subtract line 59 from line 55 and add line 62. Write the result for each of you on this line in the applicable column.

Line 64 – total annual income for all household members

Add the amounts on line 63 for each member of the household and copy the total on this line. This line shows the total amount of adjusted annual income for all members of a household.

Before you compare standards of living, you must take into account this total amount of adjusted annual income in relation to the size of your household.

Line 65 – low-income measures amount

The Federal Guidelines provide a low-income measures chart (with figures from Statistics Canada) that gives the minimum after-tax cost to run a household, according to the number of adults and children. You will need to determine the low-income measure amount for both households. To do so:

  1. Figure out the total number of adults and children in each household. You have to count all the adults and children in the household, even if they have no income.

    For example:

    • parent A’s household: two children and one adult;
    • parent B’s household: three children and two adults.
  2. For parent A: find the appropriate line in the low-income measures chart for that parent’s household size and write the corresponding amount on this line 65 in part A.

    Since parent A’s household has two children and one adult member, you would look under the heading “Three persons, 1 adult and 2 children” and write $17,649 on line 65.

  3. For parent B: do the same to find the appropriate line in the low-income measures chart for that parent’s household size and write the corresponding amount on this line 65 in part B.

    Since parent B’s household has two children and two adult members, you would look under the heading “Four persons, 2 adult and 2 children” and write $20,764 on line 65.

Line 66 – household income ratio

In parts A and B, divide line 64 by line 65 and write the result on this line.

The household with the smaller number on line 66 is the household with the lower standard of living. For example if the standard of living of parent A’s household is 1.33 and the standard of living of parent B’s household is 1.55, the first household has the lower standard of living.

If the parent claiming undue hardship lives in the household with the higher standard of living, the child support cannot be changed.

If the parent claiming undue hardship lives in the household with the lower standard of living and the other parent or the judge agrees that there is undue hardship, then the parents or the judge can change the child support amount that would otherwise be payable under the Federal Guidelines.

Low-income Measures: Household Size 1-5 persons
Household Size Low-income Measures Amount
One person
1 adult $10,382
Two persons
2 adults $14,535
1 adult and 1 child $14,535
Three persons
3 adults $18,688
2 adults and 1 child $17,649
1 adult and 2 children $17,649
Four persons
4 adults $22,840
3 adults and 1 child $21,802
2 adults and 2 children $20,764
1 adult and 3 children $20,764
Five persons
5 adults $26,993
4 adults and 1 child $25,955
3 adults and 2 children $24,917
2 adults and 3 children $23,879
1 adult and 4 children $23,879
Low-income Measures: Household Size 6-8 persons
Household Size Low-income Measures Amount
Six persons
6 adults $31,145
5 adults and 1 child $30,108
4 adults and 2 children $29,070
3 adults and 3 children $28,031
2 adults and 4 children $26,993
1 adult and 5 children $26,993
Seven persons
7 adults $34,261
6 adults and 1 child $33,222
5 adults and 2 children $32,184
4 adults and 3 children $31,146
3 adults and 4 children $30,108
2 adults and 5 children $29,070
1 adult and 6 children $29,070
Eight persons
8 adults $38,413
7 adults and 1 child $37,375
6 adults and 2 children $36,337
5 adults and 3 children $35,299
4 adults and 4 children $34,261
3 adults and 5 children $33,222
2 adults and 6 children $32,184
1 adult and 7 children $32,184

Worksheet 3: Compare households’ standards of living

You can use this worksheet to help you compare your households’ standards of living if there is a claim for undue hardship. It is possible that not all parts of this worksheet will apply to your situation.

You can use the line-by-line help to help you fill out this worksheet.

Note: This Worksheet uses the terms parent A and parent B to help both of you keep track of your information. These terms could apply to either of you.

  • Parent A is: small line
  • Parent B is: small line

Part A: Establish the household standard of living for parent A’s household

  Parent A Other household member (if any) Name: Other household member (if any) Name:
Line 47 Annual income
(from Worksheet 1, line 19)
     
Line 48 Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB),
if deducted on Worksheet 1, line 3
     
Line 49 Spousal support received from the other parent    
Line 50 Federal taxes payable      
Line 51 Provincial or territorial taxes payable      
Line 52 EI premiums payable      
Line 53 CPP and QPP premiums payable      
Line 54 Total taxes and premiums payable
(add lines 50, 51, 52 and 53)
     
Line 55 Annual income to compare standards of living
(add lines 47, 48, 49 and deduct line 54)
     
Adjustments to annual income to compare standards of living
Deductions
Line 56 Annual amount related to undue hardship (parent A)    
Line 57 Annual amount of child support you would pay to the other parent    
Line 58 Annual amount of child and spousal support you and any other household member pay      
Line 59 Total deductions
(for parent A, add lines 56, 57 and 58. For any other household member copy amount on line 58 to line 59.)
     
Additions
Line 60 Annual amount of child support you would receive from the other parent    
Line 61 Annual amount of child support received by you or any other household member for another child      
Line 62 Total additions
(for parent A, add lines 60 and 61. For any other household member copy amount on line 61 to line 62.)
     
Calculate household income ratio
Line 63 Adjusted annual income to compare standards of living
(line 55 minus line 59 plus line 62)
     
Line 64 Total annual income for all members of parent A’s household
(add line 63 in each column)
 
Line 65 Low-income measures amount for parent A’s household  
Line 66 Parent A’s household income ratio
(divide line 64 by line 65)
 

Part B: Establish the household standard of living for parent B’s household

  Parent B Other household member (if any) Name: Other household member (if any) Name:
Line 47 Annual income
(from Worksheet 1, line 19)
     
Line 48 Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB),
if deducted on Worksheet 1, line 3
     
Line 49 Spousal support received from the other parent    
Line 50 Federal taxes payable      
Line 51 Provincial or territorial taxes payable      
Line 52 EI premiums payable      

Line 53 CPP and QPP premiums payable

     
Line 54 Total taxes and premiums payable
(add lines 50, 51, 52 and 53)
     
Line 55 Annual income to compare standards of living
(add lines 47, 48, 49 and deduct line 54)
     
Adjustments to annual income to compare standards of living
Deductions
Line 56 Annual amount related to undue hardship (parent B)    
Line 57 Annual amount of child support you would pay to the other parent    
Line 58 Annual amount of child and spousal support you and any other household member pay      
Line 59 Total deductions
(for parent B, add lines 56, 57 and 58. For any other household member copy amount on line 58 to line 59.)
     
Additions
Line 60 Annual amount of child support you would receive from the other parent    
Line 61 Annual amount of child support received by you or any other household member for another child      
Line 62 Total additions
(for parent B, add lines 60 and 61. For any other household member copy amount on line 61 to line 62.)
     
Calculate household income ratio
Line 63 Adjusted annual income to compare standards of living
(line 55 minus line 59 plus line 62)
     
Line 64 Total annual income for all members of parent B’s household
(add line 63 in each column)
 
Line 65 Low-income measures amount for parent B’s household  
Line 66 Parent B’s household income ratio
(divide line 64 by line 65)
 
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