Child Support Lawyers

What Can A Good Child Support Lawyer Do For You?

To a certain extent child support is a fairly basic concept – look up how much the child support payments are on the applicable child support tables, and voila, you know how much child support is payable.  So, why are child support lawyers even needed?

Unfortunately, the law is rarely that simple.  There are a number of issues that can arise and for which a child support lawyer will be helpful:

1.  Determination of Income.  Unless both parents are salaried employees who don’t earn any bonuses, commissions, unusual benefits, rental or investment income, determining income for child support purposes can be complex.  It is not necessarily that same number as it is for income tax purposes.  Child support lawyers can ensure that income for both parents is correctly computed for family law purposes.  This is especially the case when one parent is self employed.

2.  Imputation of Income.  Imputation of income occurs when income for child support purposes is found to be higher than actual income.  This normally occurs in cases where one parent is purposefully unemployed or underemployed.  You’ll need a child support lawyer to make a complex argument like this.

3.  Section 7 Expenses.  To a large extent, what is considered a section 7 expense is a function of the parents’ income – the higher the parents’ income, the less likely an expense of the child is going to be considered extraordinary.  Child support lawyers can help you determine what should be included in your claim for special or extraordinary expenses, and whether or not you should agree to pay these to the other parent.

4.  One Parent Abroad.  When one parent is living abroad, the child support situation can be very complex.  This is because taxes and expenses differ significantly in other countries, which can effect the amount of child support payable.  You’ll want a child support lawyer to review the situation.  As well, if there is the possibility of international child support enforcement problems, you’ll likely need a lawyer to help you navigate this.

5.  Shared Custody.  The law is that if one parent spends 40% or more of the time with the children, then child support is reduced.  Unfortunately, the determination of precisely where the 40% mark is can be difficult to determine, and a child support lawyer may need to argue this on your behalf.  Further, even if the 40% mark is reached, the amount that child support should be reduced is up for debate.

6.  Income Fluctuations.  If the payer’s income fluctuates dramatically from year to year, then child support lawyers will need to resolve what is the appropriate income for child support purposes.

Note: Child support lawyers are obviously very expensive.  Each province has its own program to help support recipients get legal aid to obtain child support.  For instance, one such program is Alberta’s Child Support Services.  Under this program, if you are on social assistance or have a low income, Child Support Services will provide you with a lawyer to help with basic family law services such as obtaining child support.

Additional Information

Learn more about child support in our comprehensive child support book:

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