All parents must support their children (biological, adopted and step).
The Child Support Guidelines (Guidelines) are used to determine support and are based on the payor’s income and number of children.
Special expenses include such items as daycare, medical costs, extra-curricular activities, tuition, and post-secondary expenses.
Child support is paid by one parent (guardian), the payor, to the other (recipient) to help cover such necessities as food, shelter and clothing for the child(ren). It is viewed as the right of the child. It is for their benefit, not the caregiver.
The amount of support to be paid is generally fixed according to the tables within the Guidelines. The number of children are also considered along with income(s) when calculating support. While some exceptions do exist, support is almost always determined by way of the tables.
If a child resides mostly with one parent, that parent will have to shoulder more of the costs associated with raising the child, such as accommodation. Child support is intended to distribute such expenses between either the parents (guardians), or others responsible for raising the child. Support is paid to help meet the costs the recipient bears because of the child’s needs. It is not intended to increase the child’s standard of living, but it is meant to either maintain, or improve the child’s welfare.
It is paid for the child’s benefit and must be distinguished from spousal support. Of course there will always be overlap between what the recipient pays for housing and what portion of the housing fees cover the child. Child support will always take precedence over spousal support.
Child support is not a fee paid in exchange for time spent with the child. In fact, child support is different and unrelated to parenting/contact time. However, in a shared parenting situation (for example, where the child resides with both guardians separately, but on an equal (50%) basis), there will likely be an exception to the hard and fast rule of how child support is calculated.
Child support is paid based on the principle that parents have a legal obligation to financially contribute to the raising of their child. The basic notion of parenthood instigates this duty; even if the paying parent never sees the child, does not make any decisions related to the child’s well-being and has no relationship with the child.
Child support can be either ordered by the courts, or parents can simply arrive at an Agreement regarding support. It should not be negotiated away. And non-payment may prevent a divorce.