The return of the school year is an exciting time for families across Ontario. As children get ready to close out their summer vacations and prepare for the challenge of a new grade, parents also face a challenge in increased expenses. Parents who are divorced or separated may face additional pressure in having to manage back to school expenses.

While child support may be available for a parent with primary custody of a child, these funds may not be enough to cover some of the expenses related to the return to school. That’s why it’s important to understand another type of benefit, known as Section 7 benefits, and how those can help with increased costs related to school and other areas.

Child Support in Ontario

Regular child support obligations are determined by the Child Support Guidelines, which dictate how much a parent has to pay in child support based on the number of children in the relationship as well as their income. How much time the child spends with each parent can also have an impact on support obligations.

The payor’s income is an important part of determining how much child support has to be paid. This part of the calculation comes by reviewing the payor’s T1 Tax Return, but the court can also consider other factors, such as whether the parent is self-employed, or works on commission. The courts can also impute income when they don’t think a parent is being truthful with how much they earn or if they are purposefully earning less than they could.

Section 7 Expenses

In addition to paying a set monthly amount of child support, a paying parent may also be required to pay additional funds in order to cover special or extraordinary expenses, known as Section 7 Expenses. These expenses are defined by the government as Canada as follows:

  • child-care expenses that you may have to pay as a result of a job, an illness, a disability, or educational requirements for employment if your child spends most of the time with you;
  • the portion of your medical and dental insurance premiums that provides coverage for your child;
  • your child’s health-care needs that exceed $100 per year if the cost is not covered by insurance (for example, orthodontics, counselling, medication or eye care);
  • expenses for post-secondary education;
  • extraordinary expenses for your child’s primary education, secondary education or any other educational programs that meet your child’s particular needs; and
  • extraordinary expenses for your child’s extracurricular activities.

Working to predict Section 7 expenses

It is important to consider Section 7 expenses when discussing a child support agreement. Large expenses, such as post-secondary education, may be saved for or paid for ahead of time. When sorting out Section 7 expenses consider the following details:

  • what it is for (for example, hockey, soccer, dance lessons);
  • the total cost;
  • how much you each will contribute to the cost;
  • the date payments are due;
  • any other information you think might be relevant.

At Borden Family Law, we have been helping clients with child support matters for more than 17 years. We do our utmost to ensure your children will be well taken care of following the end of your relationship, and that their best interests are protected. We have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you come to the most optimal arrangement for yourself and your children. Call us at 905-576-6090, or contact us online. Ask about our bundled services and flat fees.