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Matters related to child support are governed by the federal Divorce Act (DA) and the provincial Family Law Act (FLA). Child support matters are further governed by regulations of the DA and the FLA. The regulations are the Federal Child Support Guidelines and the Ontario Child Support Guidelines respectively.
Parents have an obligation to provide support for any child or children of the marriage. For example, section 15.1(1) of the DA states that, a court of competent jurisdiction may, on application by either or both spouses, make an order requiring a spouse to pay for the support of any or all children of the marriage.
Section 2(1) of the DA defines a child of the marriage as:
a child of two spouses or former spouses who, at the material time,
(a) is under the age of majority and who has not withdrawn from their charge, or
(b) is the age of majority or over and under their charge but unable, by reason of illness, disability or other cause, to withdraw from their charge or to obtain the necessaries of life.
The DA at section 2(2) furthers the definition of ‘child of the marriage’ by stating that a child of two spouses or former spouses includes:
(a) any child for whom they both stand in the place of parents; and
(b) any child of whom one is the parent and for whom the other stands in the place of a parent.
The purpose of creating legislation that governs how child support matters are processed is best summarized by the Objectives in section 1 of both the federal and provincial Child Support Guidelines:
(a) to establish a fair standard of support for children that ensures that they continue to benefit from the financial means of both spouses after separation;
(b) to reduce conflict and tension between spouses by making the calculation of child support orders more objective;
(c) to improve the efficiency of the legal process by giving courts and spouses guidance in setting the levels of child support orders and encouraging settlement; and
(d) to ensure consistent treatment of spouses and children who are in similar circumstances.
Contact our office if you need assistance applying for child support; or if you are required to respond to a request for child support.