Remarriage And The Implications For Child Support In Ontario
Regardless of whether parents are unmarried, divorced, or separated, both have a legal obligation to provide child support for minor children. The obligation is set by the family court after parents have reached an agreement or a judge decides child custody and parenting time. The point of child support is that all children should continue to benefit from the financial interests of both parents as if the whole family lived under the same roof. However, the specifics regarding the amount are contained in the Ontario Child Support Guidelines.
These guidelines contain complicated formulas, but the most important factors are the parents’ incomes, the child’s living arrangements, and the number of children to be supported. Still, there is some confusion over what happens when a parent remarries, especially when the other parent wants to modify child support as a result. A Mississauga child support lawyer can explain how remarriage may impact your case, but you may benefit from reviewing a summary.
Default Rule on Child Support Modifications: Ontario child support laws recognize that life changes quickly, and the order that is currently in effect may not be suitable for the new reality. Therefore, either parent can request that the court modify child support. The standard the judge reviews is whether there has been a change in circumstances that would result in a different order NOW. The most common reasons for modifications are:
- The payor parent’s income significantly increased or decreased, and the amount of support must be adjusted to align with the Guidelines.
- The residential parent relocated with the child, resulting in increased costs for the other parent to exercise parenting time.
- The child begins to spend 40 percent of his or her time with the payor parent, who is now carrying more of the financial burden of raising the child.
In most cases, remarriage is not a qualifying change in circumstances. This is because the obligation for child support is to the child – not the parent. The recipient parent uses the funds for the benefit of the child.
How Remarriage May Affect Child Support: Though remarriage alone may not justify modifying child support, factors closely connected to the event may be a reason to adjust. The key is the special expenses provisions in the Guidelines. There may be grounds to modify when remarriage affects these costs. For instance:
- Child care expenses may be significantly less because the recipient parent and new spouse are able to handle caretaking.
- The child is now covered on the new spouse’s medical and dental insurance.
- The new spouse pays extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school on the child’s behalf.
Contact an Ontario Child Support Lawyer for Additional Details
While remarriage is not grounds to modify child support in Canada, it may have an impact in some cases. Our team at Zagazeta Garcia Lawyers LLP is prepared to protect your parental rights, so please contact us to schedule a free consultation. Individuals in Mississauga, Brampton and the Peel Region can reach our offices by calling 905-232-0398 or visiting our website.