Is there a link between Child Support and Parenting Time?

Discussion of child support arrangements, lead to many questions about the amount of child support required to be paid and how exactly parenting time works. For example, some parents believe that their child support amount should be reduced, if the child spends half of their time with them. Other parents might wonder if they can refuse the other parent access to the child(ren) if that parent  is not financially contributing to their fair share of child support

But what does the law say about child support and parenting time? In this article, we will explore some of these basic questions. 

Shared Parenting

In a shared parenting arrangement, each child spends approximately equal time with each parent. It does not necessarily have to be exactly 50/50 though – 40/60 is still considered a shared parenting arrangement. When the child(ren) spends roughly equal time in each household, it typically results in increased costs for both households. 

If this is the arrangement that you have with your ex-partner, the court will determine the amount of child support payable using the method that was first developed in Contino v. Leonelli-Contino, 2005 by the Supreme Court of Canada. 

If you already have a child support agreement or order in place, and the parenting arrangements have changed, then you should speak with your lawyer to review these arrangements in order to make a determination about whether or not a change should be proposed. 

If the divorce or separation is recent, then a parenting schedule based on the best interests of the children will be worked out before any financial arrangements are made. Parenting arrangements must always be decided before child support obligations are determined. and never the other way around. 

Can Support or Parenting Time be Refused by One Parent? 

Although there may be some instances where child support may be adjusted based on parenting time, both the rights of a parent to spend time with their children, and the right of the children to receive financial support from a parent exist independently. 

In other words, a parent who stops paying child support still has a legal right to see their children, and a child who does not see his/ her parental unit still has a right to receive financial support from that parent. 

If there is a disagreement between co-parents and one parent refuses to abide by the separation agreement or court order that outlines the terms of the separation, then you should look to that agreement to determine what remedies are in place should one parent refuse to follow through with the agreement.  

In the absence of a separation agreement or court order, you should speak to a family lawyer to better understand your rights and obligations as a parent. 

What if I don’t have a relationship with my children? 

Regardless of whether you have a relationship with your children, you still have a responsibility as a parent to pay financial support. There may be some exceptions to this based on the child’s age and the reason for the estrangement however these are exceptional circumstances. It is best to speak to a lawyer before deciding if it is worthwhile to pursue such an exemption. 

Contact Minhas Lawyers today!

If you are going through or have gone through a separation or divorce and have questions about child support or parenting time, we are here to help. Contact us today to speak with one of our family lawyers and schedule a consultation.

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