The Federal Child Support Guidelines: Step-by-Step

About the Child Support Tool

The Department of Justice Canada family law webpages have links to a variety of resources that may help you deal with family law issues, such as child support.

You can use this Child Support Tool to:

  • keep a record of your findings and decisions as you go through Steps 1 to 8 of this guide
  • help you determine what information to include in your agreement

Only complete the sections in this tool that apply to your situation. In some sections, there are a number of options to choose from. You may want to check the box that best describes your situation. Feel free to add notes in each section of this tool.

The tool provides several examples based on information that courts must include in support orders issued under the Federal Guidelines. It also provides examples based on situations that you may want to address.

The tool may not cover all the issues you want to address in your child support agreement. Some examples may not apply to you. It is simply meant to help guide your thinking and discussions. The important thing is to have an agreement that works for your family’s unique situation.

You will remember that there are three worksheets in this guide that you can use to help you with some calculations. If you use the worksheets, you can copy your results in this tool. You can also attach a copy of your completed worksheets to the tool. It is a good idea to keep these documents together. This allows you to keep a record of how you arrived at certain results.

It is a good idea to ask a legal adviser to review your agreement before you finalize and sign it. This will help to ensure that you don’t miss anything important and that your rights and your children’s rights are protected.

Child Support Tool

Date: line

  1. Names of parents and province or territory of residence

    Parent A: line
    Province or territory of residence: line

    Parent B: line
    Province or territory of residence: line

    Notes: line

  2. Applicable child support guidelines

    (Refer to Step 1: Determine which guidelines apply)

    • Federal Guidelines, or
    • Provincial or territorial child support guidelines

    Specify the province or territory: line

    Notes: line

  3. Name and birth date of each child for whom child support will be paid

    (Refer to Step 2: Determine the number of children requiring support)

    Include the names and birth dates of each child you will be supporting and identify how they are treated for child support purposes. If you have more than four children to support, add lines at the end of this section.

    Name: line
    Birth Date: line

    • This child is under the age of majority; or
    • This child is at or over the age of majority and:
      • we will treat this child as a child under the age of majority for calculating support; or
      • we will look at the child’s needs, means and other circumstances, and the ability of each of us to contribute financially to determine support.
      or
    • Parent A acted in place of a parent to this child; or
    • Parent B acted in place of a parent to this child

    Name: line
    Birth Date: line

    • This child is under the age of majority; or
    • This child is at or over the age of majority and:
      • we will treat this child as a child under the age of majority for calculating support; or
      • we will look at the child’s needs, means and other circumstances, and the ability of each of us to contribute financially to determine support.
      or
    • Parent A acted in place of a parent to this child; or
    • Parent B acted in place of a parent to this child

    Name: line
    Birth Date: line

    • This child is under the age of majority; or
    • This child is at or over the age of majority and:
      • we will treat this child as a child under the age of majority for calculating support; or
      • we will look at the child’s needs, means and other circumstances, and the ability of each of us to contribute financially to determine support.
      or
    • Parent A acted in place of a parent to this child; or
    • Parent B acted in place of a parent to this child

    Name: line
    Birth Date: line

    • This child is under the age of majority; or
    • This child is at or over the age of majority and:
      • we will treat this child as a child under the age of majority for calculating support; or
      • we will look at the child’s needs, means and other circumstances, and the ability of each of us to contribute financially to determine support.
      or
    • Parent A acted in place of a parent to this child; or
    • Parent B acted in place of a parent to this child

    More children: line

    Notes: line

  4. Type of parenting time arrangement

    (Refer to Step 3: Determine the parenting time arrangement)

    • Parent A has the majority of parenting time
      or
    • Parent B has the majority of parenting time
      or
    • We share parenting time
      • The children are spending line% of the time with parent A.
      • The children are spending line% of the time with parent B.
      or
    • We split parenting time
      • Parent A has the majority of parenting time with (names of children): line
      • Parent B has the majority of parenting time with (names of children): line
    • We have different parenting time arrangements for each child (please describe): line

    Notes: line

  5. Applicable child support tables

    (Refer to Step 4: Find the right table)

    • We use the table for the following province or territory: line
      or
    • The applicable tables are:
      • For parent A, we use the table for the following province or territory: line
      • For parent B, we use the table for the following province or territory: line

    Notes: line

  6. Income determination

    (Refer to Step 5: Calculate annual income)

    • We agree, in writing, that our annual income is:

      Remember, depending on the case, you may need to calculate the income of:

      • only one of you
      • both of you
      • another person, such as your child
      • Parent A (if applicable): $line
      • Parent B (if applicable): $line
      or
    • We have used Worksheet 1 to calculate each person’s income. (Attach a separate worksheet to this tool for each person whose income you calculated.)
      • Parent A’s income (if applicable): $line
      • Parent B’s income (if applicable): $line
    • Other person:
      • Name: line
      • The person is (e.g. child, new partner): line
      • Income: $line

    Notes: line

  7. Basic child support amount (per month)

    (Refer to Step 6: Find the table amount)

    Remember, you need to consider your parenting time arrangements to determine how to calculate child support. If one of you has the majority of parenting time with the children, then you only need to find the table amount for the other parent. If you share or split parenting time, you need to find the table amount that applies to each of you, based on your incomes and situation.

    You can use this section to include information about the basic monthly child support amount determined for your specific parenting time arrangement. The basic child support amount could be the table amount for the total number of children needing support or another amount, if applicable.

    If either of you has an income over $150,000 per year

    If one or both of you have an annual income over $150,000, please refer to the bottom of this section for help to determine the child support amount that would apply to you. That amount can then be added under the appropriate parenting time arrangement below.

    Acting in place of a parent

    If one of you acted in place of a parent to a child, do not count that child in this section but refer to section 10 in this tool.

    • Majority of parenting time

      1. Table amount (or another amount if applicable) for children under the age of majority, and for children over the age of majority whom you are treating as if they were under the age of majority for child support purposes: $line
      2. Amount for children over the age of majority if you are basing the amount on the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of the children and your financial ability to contribute: $line
        You may want to include information about the condition, means, needs and other circumstances you considered in establishing the amount: line
      3. Basic child support amount (add amounts at (i) and (ii), if any): $line per month.
    • Split parenting time

      • Table amount (or another amount if applicable) that parent A would pay for children that spend the majority of parenting time with parent B:
        1. Table amount (or another amount if applicable) for children under the age of majority and for children over the age of majority whom you are treating as if they were under the age of majority for child support purposes: $line
        2. Amount for children over the age of majority if you are basing the amount on the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of the children and your financial ability to contribute: $line
          You may want to include information about the condition, means, needs and other circumstances you considered in establishing the amount: line
        3. Basic child support amount parent A would pay for children that spend the majority of parenting time with parent B (add amount you copied at (i) and the amount you copied at (ii), if any): $line
        and
      • Table amount (or another amount if applicable) that parent B would pay for children that spend the majority of parenting time with parent A:
        1. Table amount (or another amount if applicable) for children under the age of majority and for children over the age of majority whom you are treating as if they were under the age of majority for child support purposes: $line
        2. Amount for children over the age of majority if you are basing the amount on the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of the children and your financial ability to contribute: $line
          You may want to include information about the condition, means, needs and other circumstances you considered in establishing the amount: line
        3. Basic child support amount parent B would pay for children that spend the majority of parenting time with parent A add amount you copied at (i) and the amount you copied at (ii), if any): $line
      Basic amount for split parenting time arrangement (deduct the lowest amount from the highest amount in (iii) for parent A and parent B): $line per month.
    • Shared parenting time

      1. Table amount for parent A: $line
      2. Table amount for parent B: $line
      3. Amount for increased costs of shared parenting time and the conditions, means, needs and other circumstances of each of you and your children: $line
        You may want to include information about the conditions, means, needs and other circumstances you considered in establishing the amount: line

      Basic child support amount for shared parenting time arrangement (consider amounts you included at (i), (ii) and (iii)): $line per month.

      Determining a basic amount when a parent whose income is needed for child support purposes has an income over $150,000

      If you determined that the income of a parent is more than $150,000 a year, you made some choices in Steps 5 and 6 of the guide to calculate the child support amount. You can use the following to help you with your calculation. If both of your incomes are needed (for example, if you split or share parenting time), and you both earn more than $150,000, you will need to repeat the calculation for parent A and for parent B. You can copy the result under the appropriate parenting time arrangement in the first part of this section.

      • Parent A has an income over $150,000
        1. Table amount for the first $150,000 of income: $line
        2. For the portion of income over $150,000, we chose one of the following:
          • to multiply that portion of income by the percentage shown in the table for the province or territory where the parent lives. The result is: $line
          • to base the additional amount of support on the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of the children and our financial ability to contribute. The result is: $line

      Basic child support amount (add the table amount for the first $150,000 (i) of annual income to the amount determined for the portion of income over $150,000 (ii)): $line

      • Parent B has an income over $150,000
        1. Table amount for the first $150,000 of income: $line
        2. For the portion of income over $150,000, we chose one of the following:
          • to multiply that portion of income by the percentage shown in the table for the province or territory where the parent lives. The result is: $line
          • to base the additional amount of support on the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of the children and our financial ability to contribute. The result is: $line
      Basic amount (add the table amount for the first $150,000 of annual income in (i) to the amount determined for the portion of income over $150,000 in (ii)): $line

    Notes: line

  8. Special or extraordinary expenses

    (Refer to Step 7: Determine if there are special or extraordinary expenses)

    Remember, the expenses should take into account any subsidies, benefits, tax deductions or credits relating to a specific amount.

    You may be using or have used Worksheet 2 to calculate special or extraordinary expenses and to determine how you will share the payments. Attach the filled-out worksheet(s) to this tool.

    We have the following special or extraordinary expenses:

    • Special expenses for child care
      Total monthly amount: $line
    • Special expenses for medical and dental insurance premiums
      Total monthly amount: $line
    • Special expenses for health care needs
      Total monthly amount: $line
    • Extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities
      Total monthly amount: $line
    • Extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary education or other educational programs
      Total monthly amount: $line
    • Special expenses for post-secondary education
      Total monthly amount: $line

    The total monthly amount for all special or extraordinary expenses is: $line

    The total annual amount for special or extraordinary expenses is (multiply monthly amount by 12): $line

    Sharing of expenses

    • We have decided to share the annual amount of special or extraordinary expenses in proportion to our incomes
      or
    • We have decided to share the expenses in the following way: line

    Parent A’s share of annual special or extraordinary expenses is: $line per year. The amount per month is (divide annual amount by 12): $line per month.

    Parent B’s share of annual special or extraordinary expenses is: $line per year. The amount per month is (divide annual amount by 12): $line per month.

    Notes: line

  9. Total child support amount

    • Majority of parenting time
      • To determine the total amount of child support that will be paid for your children each month, add the monthly amount for special or extraordinary expenses you included in section 8 of this tool to the basic monthly child support amount you included in section 7 of this tool:
        • Basic monthly child support amount $line
          +
        • Monthly amount for special or extraordinary expenses $line
          =
        • Total monthly child support amount $line
    • Split parenting time
      • If you have a split parenting time arrangement, add the special or extraordinary expenses you included in section 8 to each of your basic child support amounts:
        • Parent A:
          • Basic monthly child support amount $line
            +
          • Monthly amount for special or extraordinary expenses $line
            =
          • Total monthly child support amount $line
        • Parent B:
          • Basic monthly child support amount $line
            +
          • Monthly amount for special or extraordinary expenses $line
            =
          • Total monthly child support amount $line
      • Then deduct the lower amount from the higher amount. The result is $line per month and will be paid by:
        • Parent A to parent B
        • Parent B to parent A

    Notes: line

  10. Child for whom either of you acted in the place of a parent

    (Refer to Step 2: Determine the number of children requiring support)

    If you decided that support will be paid for a child for whom either of you acted in the place of a parent, you can determine an appropriate child support amount by taking into account what the Federal Guidelines say and the legal obligation of any other person to support that child.

    Did you consider the obligation of another person to support the child?

    • Yes
      • Name of that person: line
      • What is their legal obligation to support the child: line
      • Amount paid (or to be paid) by that person for the support of the child: $line
    • No

    Child support amount that must be paid by the person who acted in place of a parent: $line per month.

    Notes: line

  11. Undue hardship

    (Refer to Step 8: Determine if there is undue hardship)

    If you used Worksheet 3 to compare the standards of living in both households, attach the completed worksheet(s) to this tool.

    • Parent A claimed undue hardship based on the following circumstance:
      • unusually high debts that were reasonably incurred to support the family before the separation or to earn a living
      • unusually high costs associated with exercising parenting time with the child
      • a legal duty to support a dependent child from another relationship
      • a legal duty to support any other person—for example, a former spouse or a new spouse who is too ill or disabled to be able to support himself or herself
      • other (please identify): line
    • Parent B claimed undue hardship based on the following circumstance:
      • unusually high debts that were reasonably incurred to support the family before the separation or to earn a living
      • unusually high costs associated with exercising parenting time with the child
      • a legal duty to support a dependent child from another relationship
      • a legal duty to support any other person—for example, a former spouse or a new spouse who is too ill or disabled to be able to support himself or herself
      • other (please identify): line
    • We found that the household standard of living of the parent claiming undue hardship is lower than the household standard of living of the other parent and we have decided to set the child support amount at: $line
      or
    • We found that the household standard of living of the parent claiming undue hardship is higher than the household standard of living of the other parent, so no changes will be made to the child support amount.

    Notes: line

  12. Child support payments – date and format

    • The child support will be paid every month.
      • Date on which the first child support payment will be made: line
        and
      • Day of the month on which all subsequent payments will be made: line

    Depending on your situation, you may decide that the child support should be paid either as a lump sum or more often than once a month. You may want to consult a legal adviser to determine what is the best option for you.

    Notes: line

    Sections 1 to 12 above follow the Federal Guidelines and the requirements to include specific information in a child support order. But many child support agreements and orders also include other information.

    The following sections (sections 13 to 15) provide examples of additional issues you may want to address in your child support agreement. You can also use section 16 if you wish to add other information not covered in this tool.

  13. Future changes/Review/End of child support

    Children’s needs change over time, and so do parents’ situations. You may need to update your child support agreement as children get older or if there are important changes in your situation (for example, if you change jobs). It is a good idea to include a clause in your agreement that will guide these future changes.

    It is important to remember that when there is a change to an income that was used to determine child support, the child support amount should be updated. Updated income information is important (see next section in this tool). In some provinces and territories, there are provincial child support services that can help you.

    You may want to provide a date on which you will look at whether child support needs to be updated. You may also decide to include specific clauses for reviewing your child support arrangements from time to time. The review might also occur after a particular event happens (for example, if the paying parent’s income changes or when the child reaches the age of majority). When you review your child support arrangements, you may determine that the amount should stay the same. You may also decide to modify the amount, either lower or higher. You may even determine that child support is no longer needed.

    You may want to include a clause that will specify how you resolve issues if you cannot agree on changes. For example, you may wish to specify that you will try to resolve the issue through mediation or collaborative law before going to court.

    Possible clauses:

    • Date on which the child support arrangements should be updated or reviewed: line
    • Events that would trigger a review of the child support arrangements: line
    • Date on which support should end: line

    Notes: line

  14. Continuing obligation to exchange income information

    (Refer to Step 5: Calculate annual income)

    Remember: if your income was used to determine a child support order or agreement, you must continue to provide income information if the other parent asks. The request for income information must be made in writing and may be made only once a year.

    To keep child support up to date, you need to keep income information up to date. To this end, you should continue to exchange income information used to determine the child support amount even after you have come to an agreement. You should also keep each other informed of any changes to your income. This is to ensure that you are paying the right amount of support—not more, not less. You may want to make this a specific requirement in your agreement.

    Income information that you should exchange includes all the information that was used to determine the child support amount, such as:

    • income tax returns
    • notices of assessment and reassessment from the Canada Revenue Agency
    • statements of earnings or pay slips (if you are an employee)
    • financial statements for a corporation (if you are self-employed or control a corporation)

    If you filled out Worksheet 1 you may want to refer to it to determine the income information that was used to calculate your income and help you identify the information that you should keep sharing. You may also want to refer to Step 5 of the guide.

    You have a number of options for determining how you will continue to exchange information. The following are examples of how you may deal with the continuing obligation to provide income information:

    • Everyone whose income was used to determine the amount of child support will provide each other updated income information each year on or before line.
    • The parent whose income was used to determine the amount of child support will provide updated income information within 30 days after receiving a written request from the other parent. A request for income information may be made once per calendar year.
    • If the income of either parent used to determine the amount of child support changes, that parent will provide updated income information to the other parent within 30 days.
    • The parent (or parents) whose income was used to calculate the amount of child support will provide updated income information at the request of the provincial child support service with which they are registered. There are provincial child support services in several provinces and territories.

    You may agree to use one or more of the above, or you may want to deal with your disclosure obligations in a different way: line

    If either of you find it more practical not to share your respective incomes directly with each other, you may want to identify a third party, such as a legal adviser, where the updated income information could be sent. In that case, you can agree on a date to send the information or how many times it should be sent.

    For example:

    • Parent A will send the required information
      • on (date): line
      • to: line
    • Parent B will send the required information
      • on (date):line
      • to: line

    Notes: line

  15. Life insurance

    It is normal for both parents to obtain life insurance – even the parent who is not paying child support. If there is no insurance and you should pass away, your estate will likely still have a child support obligation. You may wish to discuss this with a legal adviser.

    You may want to think about how your child will be supported if one or both parents die before the child becomes financially independent. Many child support agreements and court orders require parents to provide life insurance, with the other parent as the beneficiary in trust for the child or children.

    For example, both parents will:

    • keep an insurance policy of $line in force for the children
    • designate and keep the other parent as beneficiary in trust for the children as long as child support continues to be payable

    Notes: line

  16. Other Information

    line

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