Divorce Lawyer Edmonton explains: What Is Child Support
Many parents understand that if they divorce, separate or split up, that they will have to deal with child support says divorce lawyer Edmonton expert, Janan Jarrah. However, many parents’ understanding of child support, such as who pays, why they pay, what it covers and more is grossly misunderstood. There are many reasons for this misunderstanding, including hearing incorrect anecdotal advice, and getting incorrect information from movies and television.
The problem with this, is that unless parents get informed about it, they may end up making some serious and costly mistakes.
One of the first things that parents will find out after meeting with Divorce Lawyer Edmonton, is what is child support exactly. While many parents think it’s a payment from one parent to the other to assist with the cost of being the parent paying for most of the upfront costs of raising the child, that is only partially true.
Even if a parent didn’t need help paying for costs associated with raising their child, it would still be required. Essentially, child support is the way the court system can ensure both parents are upholding the rights of their child. When a child is born, both parents become responsible for contributing to the child’s life. When the parents live in the same home as each other, and their child this naturally happens. When the parents live separately, the court requires the parent who has access least (according to the Family Law Act of Alberta, this is defined as 40% of the time or less). (https://www.alberta.ca/child-custody-parental-access.aspx)
Calculated Child Support Correctly
They will be the parent paying child support, which is calculated as a percentage of their overall income (and income is defined as what is on line 150 of their Notice of Assessment, unless they are self employed). And while this had once been the most common type of living arrangement for separated or divorced parents and their children, there is a new trend. More parents are starting to share access equally, with the children staying one or two weeks with one parent, before staying with the other.
There are many benefits of this, says Jarrah, a divorce lawyer Edmonton, not the least of which is that the child gets to see both parents a lot, which the court considers to be in the best interests of the child. Many parents mistakenly believe that child support is not required if they share access. Child support still needs to be paid, however the way it is calculated is different. Both parents must submit their financial information to the courts and to each other.
The parent that makes more money will be the parent paying child support. The amount they pay will be a percentage of the difference in income between both parents. If either parent fails to disclose their income to the courts, it will not delay a child support payment decision, says divorce lawyer Edmonton. The judge is granted the authority to determine child support payments at whatever they deem appropriate. If they have to estimate the parents’ income based on an average of what a person in that career makes, or if they have to ask the former spouse how much money they think the other parent makes, they will do that.
Divorce Lawyer Edmonton | Child Support Is Calculated By Income
In many cases, the parent ends up paying more child support than if they had disclosed their finances initially. As well, there is more than one type of child support, says divorce lawyer Edmonton Jarrah. When most people think of child support, they are thinking of Section 3 Child support, as outlined in the Family Law Act of Alberta. This is “basic” child support, covering the expenses such as shelter, clothing and feeding the child. It can include incidental expenses, such as their toiletries like toothpaste, as well as toys, games or books.
However this is not the only child support that exists. Parents can also share the cost of additional activities, like music lessons, sporting activities and similar classes or expenses. Your divorce lawyer Edmonton can help you make an application to the court to ask for child support to help pay for these additional expenses, though parents need to understand that this child support will be determined by what a parent can afford. If the other parent cannot afford any amount towards section 7 expenses, then they will not have to pay.
Judges have a lot of discretion when deciding to add on a section 7 expense or not, which is why hiring a great lawyer like Janan Jarrah, and her team at eLaw Alliance can be so beneficial. It’s also important to note that while child support is taken very seriously, it is not considered a penalty of any kind. If a parent is unable to pay, because of a hardship, temporary or permanent, they can ask the courts to temporarily reduce or stop payments. Some examples of hardships include taking time off to be the primary caregiver for an aging parent, losing their job, having large unexpected expenses.
What Is Section 7 Child Support
Together with their divorce lawyer Edmonton, they can provide proof of their hardships, and let the judge decide whether to reduce or temporarily stop payments to accommodate them. Even if a parent gets a different job where they are making less money, they can apply to have their payments permanently reduced based on their new income. The courts are more than happy to work with parents as their circumstances change, it’s just necessary for both parents to keep those lines of communication open with the courts, and each other.
If a parent decides to reduce or stop payments without involving the courts, they will most likely find themselves being contacted by the Maintenance Enforcement Program. The program is granted significant authority to encourage payment of owed child support. Some of the consequences they can hand out include confiscating driver’s licenses, passports, garnisheeing wages and more. If a parent believes they should involve maintenance enforcement to get the child support they are owed, they should get the help from their divorce lawyer Edmonton.
A legal expert will be able to help parents gather the information and evidence they need to file the claim properly. Parents can contact the eLaw Alliance website, or call in to arrange a free, one hour consultation. From there, the lawyer can give them advice, hear the details of their circumstances, and help the parent form a plan. Or the parent can decide that having a knowledgeable expert on their side will be extremely beneficial as they go through this stressful, life changing moment. Having the right guidance can help parents ensure they are doing the right thing, for the benefit of their family.