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When a divorce or separation is filed in Ontario and there are minor children from the relationship, then both parents are responsible for ensuring that their children’s needs are looked after. In most cases, one parent will be required to make child support payments to the other parent. The way these payments are calculated is not typically based on income however a dramatic change in income can still impact the payor’s ability to make child support payments.

So what happens if that parent’s income changes? It can be difficult for a parent who has been laid off or lost their job to make payments. If you are in this situation, however, it is very important that you do not simply reduce your payments or stop them as this could be seen as contempt of court or a breach of the separation agreement. Instead, there is a process that you need to go through if you would like to have your child support payments decreased because of a reduction in income. 

Reasons why the amount of child support might change

There are several reasons why one parent may want to apply to the court to have the amount of child support changed. Here are some of the most common reasons why this might happen.

  • The payor has a reduction in income due to lost job and can no longer afford to pay the current amount of child support in the separation agreement.
  • The payor’s income has increased and as a result the other parent wants them to pay a higher amount of child support.
  •  The child completes their schooling, moves out on their own, or gets married meaning that support is no longer required.
  • The child begins working at a full-time job.
  • The child is living with someone other than the other parent.
  • There are new circumstances or extraordinary expenses.

As mentioned, the amount of child support required in a separation agreement is not typically based on a parent’s income, and therefore it is not usually a reason for the court to change how much child support you are required to pay.

The way that you change the amount of child support depends primarily on how you and your ex agreed on the amount of child support in the first place – whether it was through a separation agreement or through a court order.

Making changes to child support arrangements

If there are child support arrangements that are included in your separation agreement or court order, you need to review it to see if it deals with what happens if there is a change to your income.

If there is nothing in writing about what should happen in the event of a change of income, then you and your ex could agree to draw up a new separation agreement or you could apply to the court to have the amount of your child support payments changed.

If your ex-partner will not agree to a new separation agreement, then you should consult with a family lawyer to determine what your options are.

Notice of calculation

If you and your ex-partner calculated your child support using the Ontario online Child Support Service (CSS), then you may use the same portal again to change the amount. You will then be sent a Notice of Recalculation through the mail that provides the new amount. This change can be requested by only one parent and the other parent does not have to agree to the recalculation.

Contact Minhas Lawyers today

If you need help having a change made to your child support payments, contact Minhas Lawyers today to speak to a family lawyer

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