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Is Base Monthly Child Support Ever Too High? Can High Income Earners Get a Break From Child Support Guidelines?

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The Child Support Guidelines specify the exact amount of table child support that a payor parent is required to pay based on his/her income, the number of children entitled to support, and the children’s living arrangements.

The Child Support Guidelines are straight-forward and easy to follow and based on the principle that parents with similar levels of income contribute a similar portion of their income towards their children’s support. As income goes up, so too does the table amount of child support that is owing.

Child support amounts are specified for annual incomes up to $150,000 per annum. When the payor parents’ income exceeds $150,000 per annum, the Child Support Guidelines specify that a percentage of the payor’s income over and above $150,000 is added to the table amount of child support for an income of $150,000 unless the Court determines that that amount is inappropriate. If it does, then the Court will order table child support based on the first $150,000 of the payor parents income, and in addition, an amount that it considers to be ‘…appropriate, having regard to the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of the children who are entitled to support and the financial ability of each parent or spouse to contribute to the support of the children…’

The presumptive rule however, is that support is paid in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines – table support based on the first $150,000 of income and a percentage of the income over and above $150,000. Should a payor parent wish to pay a different amount, he/she bears the onus of proving that the table amount of support is inappropriate and in excess of the child’s needs.

This is generally not an easy case to make unless the parent is able to prove that the amount of child support vastly exceeds reasonable needs and that the payment of support would be tantamount to a transfer of wealth between the parents.

Most often, the Courts will make orders for table support even when a payor parents’ income is high and/or when the child’s budgeted needs are less than the support that is owed. This is due to the fact that the Courts have taken the position that reasonable child support for wealthy parents should also include amounts for discretionary spending for the children and that children should have similar standards of living in both parents’ households. This is consistent with the overarching principle that child support is a right of the children.


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About the Author

Barbara developed her passion for family law early on in her career. Barbara has practiced exclusively family law since her call to the Bar in 2003, articling with a sole practitioner in family law and then practicing with a boutique family law office prior to her arrival at Nathens, Siegel LLP in 2007. Over the years, Barbara has developed extensive experience in virtually all areas of family law including: custody, access, child and spousal support as well as complex property division.