Divorce Lawyer Edmonton | More Facts and Myths About Child Support

There is so much misinformation about child support says divorce lawyer Edmonton expert, Janan Jarrah. There are many reasons for this, from people making their own assumptions, listening to anecdotal information from their friends that may be inaccurate. As well, their situation is likely different from yours based on a wide variety of factors, like income for example. Or is now incorrect because laws get updated from time to time. And most significantly, because a lot of the media we consume is from the United States, or other countries that have different laws than we do.

Therefore, the best place, and the only place you should consider getting advice from is your own divorce lawyer Edmonton. Even if you speak to any lawyer, or your spouse’s lawyer you may not be getting the best advice. Only a lawyer who is not working for your spouse, or someone you retain to work for you will be able to advise you best, based on your specific set of circumstances. Whatever people do, they should avoid relying on advice from friends or family, or assuming what they’ve always believed to be true is the case, because there are so many myths surrounding child support.

Child Support For Common Law Couples

While many people now recognize that the laws surrounding child support are the same, whether you have been common law or married. Yet, there are still many myths that many people need to unlearn. For example, one of the most common myths is that if one parent withholds access to their children, the other spouse can lawfully withhold child support payments. This is not true and doing so will land not only your spouse in front of a judge in court, but you as well. Janan Jarrah, expert divorce lawyer Edmonton says that child support is not tied in any way to access to the child.

Many parents seem to assume that child support is a payment to see their child. But the court system actually views them as two separate entities. And both are inalienable rights of the child. One, to have both parents financially contribute to their upbringing. And two, to see both parents as much as possible. It’s definitely the scenario, says Jarrah that two wrongs do not make a right.

Even parents who choose to walk away from their parental rights will still be expected to pay child support. If your spouse fails to provide access, consult your divorce lawyer Edmonton and inform the court. And likewise, if they withhold child support, tell the court. They will handle it properly, without you getting into legal trouble as well.

Divorce Lawyer Edmonton | Common Child Support Myths

Another popular and very incorrect child support myth, according to divorce lawyer Edmonton, Janan Jarrah, is that child support ends when the child reaches 18 years of age. Since the age of majority in Alberta is 18, many parents make the assumption that support ends then as well. This is not necessarily true, while in some situations, this will be the case, there are a number of factors that go into figuring out when child support ends.

For example, when a child enters a post secondary institution full time right from high school, they could potentially be eligible to receive child support until they are done school, or when the court deems it is appropriate to terminate the support.

As well, if the child has a disability that has then depending on one parent for support, financial or otherwise, the court could order child support indefinitely. The term used by the court is if they are unable to obtain the necessities of life on their own. And finally, it’s best to ensure no child support arrears are due before terminating payments. Therefore, the best thing to do is ask your divorce lawyer Edmonton to be in discussion with the courts to determine when support will likely be terminated. Nobody wants to stop paying, then find out when the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) is triggered. Find out exactly what your unique circumstances require.

Child Support For Married Couples

The third misconception about child support is that it only pays for the necessities of life: food, clothing and shelter. This is not accurate, according to the divorce lawyer Edmonton expert. Monthly child support payments are called Section 3 expenses according to the Family Law Act. They offset the cost of food, clothing and shelter, that the primary caregiver has already paid for, but there is also a second type of payment called Section 7 expenses.

These expenses are calculated separately and an “as needed” basis. And rather than being a set amount, like section 3 expenses, which are calculated as a percentage of a parents’ income for each child they support. Section 7 expenses are calculated differently.

First, what do Section 7 expenses cover? According to the Family Law Act, college and university expenses, childcare costs, extra school fees, extracurricular activities, medical expenses, healthcare premiums, to name a few. As with any child support matters, Section 7 expenses will be deemed necessary if it is important to the child’s growth and development. However, the difference with these expenses, is that they are payable only if both parents can pay them. It is not a situation where one parent can expect the other to foot the entire bill for something. As well, if one parent simply cannot afford to pay, they cannot be made to pay.

Child Support Payments Are Mandatory

The final myth about child support is that a parent can get out of paying. Divorce lawyer Edmonton says some parents have assumed that if they give up their parental rights, if they decline access to their child or if they leave the country, they no longer have to pay child support. Unsurprisingly, none of these are actually true, because supporting your child financially is a right of the child, and an obligation of the parent who created life.

It is incredibly rare for a judge to agree to drop child support payments, even if the parent has nothing to do with the child. This is the consequence of creating life, is the argument of the court, so you better be prepared to support the child you create.

As well, divorce lawyer Edmonton says that parents will not get off the hook of child support payments if they leave the country. In fact, if they stop paying, the Maintenance Enforcement Program may revoke their passport, to keep them from leaving the country. But Canada has what is called a Reciprocating Jurisdiction with about 30 other countries, including the United States and all Commonwealth Nations. What this means, is that legal orders will still be enforced in these countries. If you owe child support in Canada and leave the country for any reason, when you arrive, the authorities in the country you are now in can enforce your child support orders.

Get Help With Child Support Matters

In any circumstance, it’s best according to divorce lawyer Edmonton, Janan Jarrah of eLaw Alliance, to seek out the advice and help of a great lawyer. You want to ensure you are doing the best to care for your child, and knowing the facts when it comes to child support in Alberta can help you do just that. Talk to a lawyer who is not working for your child’s other parent, as they will not be looking out for your best interest. And in all cases, keep the lines of communication open. With your child, your child’s other parent, your lawyer and the court.