Child Support Guidelines

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Child support is the money paid by a parent to help provide for his or her children, who are not in that parent's custody. Under the Child Support Guidelines, the amount of child support is determined by a set formula, rather than decided on a case-by-case basis by a judge.

Under the Guidelines, the amount of the payment is based on the income of the parent who pays support and depends on the number of children being supported. Tables have been prepared listing the amount to be paid based on income level and number of children. However, a court may order a support amount that is different from the tables under certain circumstances.

The federal Guidelines apply to new or revised child support orders made under the federal Divorce Act as of May 1, 1997. Ontario's amendments, which reflect the federal Guidelines, apply to new or revised child support orders made under the provincial Family Law Act as of December 1, 1997.

The Guidelines, however, do not automatically affect existing child support orders made before the above dates. A parent with an existing child support order must ask the court to change their order to have the Guidelines apply. The Guidelines may also affect parents who have negotiated out-of-court child support agreements, but only if one or both of the parents bring the matter of child support before the courts.

The federal government is conducting a review of the Child Support Guidelines.

Both the federal and Ontario governments provide information to assist parents to understand the Guidelines.

The government of Ontario has prepared a series of questions and answers about the Guidelines, entitled Federal Child Support Guidelines- What Ontario Families Need to Know.

The federal government provides general information on the guidelines, including the following:

The tables and rules are the same for both the federal Divorce Act and Ontario's Family Law Act .

Child support orders and agreements are enforced by the Family Responsibility Office.

For more information on the Child Support Guidelines, please contact the following:
Federal Government
Call 1-888-373-2222
Ottawa area: (613) 946-2222

Answers to questions about the Guidelines and how they work. Publications (including tables).
Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Call 1-800-959-8281 (English)
Call 1-800-959-7383 (French)
Answers to income tax questions.

Court Staff
Check the Blue Pages of your telephone directory under Ontario Government - Ministry of the Attorney General - look under Courts
Information about the court process and local services.
Publications (including tables).

Family Law Information Centres

Some courts, including all Family Courts of the Superior Court of Justice, and some Ontario Court of Justice locations contain Family Law Information Centres which provide information on the Guidelines and other services.

Please note that these information lines cannot give advice on the personal situation of individuals. For further information or advice please consult a lawyer. The Lawyer Referral Service may be able to assist the public in obtaining legal counsel in their area. The telephone number is:
1-900-565-4577
Please note that there is a fixed change of six dollars to use this service.