Do I Have To Go To Court To Modify Child Support In Ontario?
Depending on their children’s ages when the court’s order is entered, some parents could be paying child support for up to two decades as their kids grow up and reach adulthood. As you might expect, a lot can change over this period. For this reason, the Ontario Child Support Guidelines allow for variation of the arrangement under certain circumstances. There is a process for modifying the court’s order, and either the payor parent or the recipient of child support can initiate the proceedings by application.
Therefore, yes, court involvement is necessary whenever a parent seeks a variation to child support. The existing order is legally binding and enforceable until a new one is approved by the judge, so there can be serious consequences for attempting to make the change unofficially. Fortunately, you personally may not have to go to court when you have a Mississauga child support lawyer to handle hearings. However, there are a few things to know about modifications.
Legal Grounds to Change Child Support: In general, a parent may have the power to modify whenever the amount does not align with the child support guidelines. These details were the basis for the original child support order, so the arrangement may not be appropriate when the amount deviates considerably from this standard.
The most common reasons for changing child support include:
- The paying parent’s income has either increased or decreased;
- The child has begin spending more time with the paying parent, and this parent will incur higher expenses as a result; or,
- The child completes a post-graduate degree or becomes emancipated.
Process for Ontario Child Support Variation: The steps to modify child support are different when parents agree to disagree, but court is necessary with both scenarios. This does not mean you need to attend: When the parties compromise on a change to child support, your lawyers can handle the court appearance. They prepare the new order, get the judge’s approval, and enter it in the court record.
When parents do not agree, they will need to go to court for a contested hearing. This is similar to a trial, in which both sides present evidence and arguments. The judge applies the law to the facts when determining whether to make the change, and he or she will use the child support guidelines to render a decision.
Impact of Existing Agreements: If you and your child’s other parent have an agreement for child support, it is still possible to modify. Regardless of what an agreement may say about the amount, the child support guidelines are controlling. Either the payer or recipient can petition for a change that coincides with these regulations.
Trust an Ontario Child Support Lawyer to Handle Court Appearances
Though you may need to go to court for a contested hearing on variations to child support, our team at Zagazeta Garcia Lawyers LLP will be at your side. For additional information, please call 905-232-0398 or go online to set up a free consultation. Our office serves clients in Mississauga, Brampton, and the Peel Region, so we are prepared to advise you.