So you have just settled the big issue of sharing custody of the kids with your ex-spouse. You have at least 40% of the parenting time with your kids and things are starting to settle down with the new schedules in your life. That is when you get the letter, note, email asking for child support.
At this point you should seek out the advice of a family law lawyer or at the very least do some research on your options on how to deal with the demand for child support. Do not follow your gut reaction to angrily respond to your ex and be smart about what the next step is. For parents who are in a shared or joint custody situation with their children setoff child support needs to be discussed in detail with their lawyers. The Ontario Courts will recognize that if both parents are caring for their children a minimum of 40% of the time then there can be an offset or reduction in child support owing between the parents.
An easy example outlining how this works is as follows:
Dad has the 2 children 55% of the time and Mom has the 2 children 45% of the time. Dad’s income is $60,000.00 per year while Mom’s income is $72,000.00 per year. Based on their respective incomes and the Federal Child Support Guidelines, Dad would owe Mom a total of $892.00 in base child support per month and Mom would owe Dad a total of $1,066.00 per month. Instead of these payments going back and forth between the parties setoff child support allows the parents to agree that the difference of $174.00 per month will be paid from Mom to Dad.
It makes much more sense for parents needing to deal with support in a shared or joint custody situation where setoff child support may be appropriate to first consult with their family law lawyer to come up with a similar calculation and present the lower amount to the opposing spouse as $174.00 a month is much less of an issue than asking for $1,066.00.
A WORD OF CAUTION: when parents are dealing with setoff support, they should discuss how to properly word their support agreements with a family law lawyer in order to ensure that they do not run into any tax related issues involving the Canadian Revenue Agency.