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Child support is generally not complicated. The Federal Child Support Guidelines specify the amount that has to be based for child support based on 1) which province the children reside in, 2) the income of the payor and 3) the number of children who are being supported.

In addition to the “baseline” child support set out in s. 3 of the Child Support Guidelines, parents may also claim “special” or “extraordinary” expenses under s.7. These typically include, but are not limited to, daycare, sports fees, uninsured medical and dental expenses etc.

In certain circumstances, the access parent may be able to have their child support reduced if they are paying very high costs to exercise access in the form of plane fair, hotels etc. There are other circumstances in which a payor may claim undue hardship but as a general rule, it is very hard to prove undue hardship and payors should not expect any reduction of their child support.

Spousal support, also called maintenance or alimony, is not determined in the same way that child support is. A party claiming spousal support must prove their entitlement to spousal support by demonstrating that they have been disadvantaged by the breakdown of the marriage, and that their spouse has the ability to pay spousal support.

Factors that are considered when determining spousal support are: the length of the marriage, each party’s ability to work, a change in lifestyle after the marriage, ongoing child support obligations, whether or not a party is disabled, etc. Generally speaking, the court will refer to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines as a framework for determining the amount and duration of spousal support. That said, the court is not bound by the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines and can deviate from them where necessary.

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