Canadian law takes the position that both parents have a legal obligation to provide for their child’s financial needs, so you may be the recipient or payor of child support through divorce or paternity proceedings. In general, the amount is determined by the Federal Child Support Tables for Ontario, which focus on the nonresidential parent’s income and the number of children. For many families, the status quo regarding child support will be workable for months or even years.
However, it is far more common that circumstances will change for the paying parent, recipient, or the child. You may be in the position to seek modification of child support obligations or, alternatively, you might need to contest legal action by your child’s other parent. Because the process involves complicated laws and very personal interests, it is wise to trust an Ontario, ON child support lawyer for help with your situation. You might also find it useful to review a few options for making a modification.
Negotiate a New Agreement on Support: If parents can reach a compromise on the change to child support, you can enter into an agreement that will be legally binding upon both parties. Your arrangement must be in writing and signed by each of you, and in the presence of a witness. Note that you may need to file your new agreement, reflecting the child support modification, with the court if the arrangement changes:
- An agreement previously entered in connection with a court case;
- A Notice of Calculation or Recalculation; or,
- A final court order, in which case you will need to get the court’s permission to make the change.
Child Support Mediation: Under circumstances where an agreement on the key issues remains out of grasp, you could benefit from participating in mediation to reach a compromise. During this process, both parents sit down with their lawyers and a mediator who is specially trained to facilitate productive conversation on family law issues. Many times, parents can work out an agreement through mediation when other negotiation efforts have not been fruitful.
Online via Ontario’s Child Support Service (CSS): Either parent may qualify to use the Child Support Service (CSS) website to modify child support based upon a change in the payor’s income. When CSS processes the online application, it will send a Notice of Recalculation with details about the updated payment amount. However, you should note the following:
- You cannot go through the online CSS option if you used it for the same reason within the last six months;
- CSS will make a determination on whether to approve the change without a hearing;
- If CSS approves a modification request from your child’s other parent, you will receive a notice and have the opportunity to dispute it. Failure to respond within 25 days could result in the modification becoming effective without your input.
Get a Court Order: If parents cannot resolve a child support modification through other options, the payor may need to file a petition in court. You will go through a hearing on the issue, focusing on how a modification is necessary due to a change in circumstances.
Consult with an Ontario, ON Child Support Lawyer About Modifications
This information should be helpful as a summary of your options for child support modification, but there are many other details and factors that could impact your situation. Whether you are the payor or recipient parent, it is crucial to retain experienced representation to assist with protecting your rights. Our team at the Carmichael Law Professional Corporation can advise you on your circumstances, so please contact our offices in Oshawa, Ontario to set up a consultation today.