Child support in Ontario is determined pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines include a chart that directs the Court or the parties themselves to the amount of child support that should be paid by one parent to the other. The chart is income based. The Guidelines also deal with the obligations of the parties for the payment of what are termed extraordinary expenses, which can include daycare and extracurricular activity costs. Generally theses expenses are paid proportionally to each parent’s income. Child support is generally payable while a child is in full-time attendance at an educational institution or is unable to withdraw from parental care. Many issues arise as to when child support finally terminates. Each case turns on its own facts.
The law generally deals with spousal relationships as financial partnerships. When the partnership breaks down, the person with the greater income may have to pay spousal support to the other. That being said, the law does expect the recipient spouse to look after his or her own needs to the best of his or her ability. In this respect, the law must address two very competing objectives. Spousal support is governed by Section 15 of the Divorce Act (federal legislation) and Sections 30 and 33 of the Family Law Act (provincial legislation). Spousal support in a divorce proceeding is governed by the Divorce Act, whereas spousal support for couples who cohabited outside of marriage and meet the legal definition of common law spouses is governed by the Family Law Act. The factors to be considered in determining the amount and duration of spousal support are addressed in those sections of the legislation and have been interpreted over the years by the courts. To decide how much spousal support and the length of time that it should be paid, the law is that judges must consider a number of factors, including how much the person requesting support needs to meet his or her needs, and how much the other person can afford to pay. A person may claim support to help him or her become financially self-sufficient or to keep from falling into financial hardship. The Advisory Spousal Support Guidelines are available to help spouses determine the appropriate amount of spousal support to be paid. If the parties proceed to court, the court may consider these Guidelines in determining how much spousal support should be paid, but they are not binding, although they can be highly persuasive. The Advisory Spousal Support Guidelines are different from Child Support Guidelines, which the court is required to follow.