Nova Scotia Child Support & Parenting Time Totals

Nova Scotia child support and parenting time totals

In Nova Scotia, the amount of child support is figured based on the non-residential parent's income. Parenting time doesn't normally figure into the formula.

The court may deviate from its strict child support guidelines on a case-by-case basis when the non-residential parent's visitation time is greater than 40 percent. Accurate parenting time numbers can directly affect your child support, whether you pay or receive.

Most parenting time totals are estimates (and thus incorrect)

Nova Scotia attorneys and judges often rely on parenting time estimates, even if they are incorrect, because counting parenting time is tedious and time consuming. Divorcing parents often rely on these estimates as well.

Using estimates means your parenting time totals are wrong when compared to your actual parenting time schedule. Keep your parenting time fair and exact with accurate records.

How to calculate parenting time instead of relying on estimates

To calculate parenting time, the easiest and most accurate way is to use software. Without software, you're forced to count each hour for a whole year, which is error-prone when you include alternating holidays, summer break, and any changes to the schedule throughout the year.

The leading parenting time calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your parenting time to see if it was estimated incorrectly.

Calculate Your Parenting Time Now

Using software, you can also tweak your schedule to see how even little changes affect your total time, and you can see how your parenting time percentages change each year due to holidays and other events.

You can also track what actually happens, and show how much parenting time you've actually received for any period of time. Historical information is a powerful tool when you request a child support modification or when you request more parenting time.

Fast facts on child custody and child support in Nova Scotia

Canada's federal government oversees all child custody cases in the country in the form of child support guidelines. These guidelines are a combination of laws, guidelines and child support tables that help judges determine child support amounts.

There are federal child support guidelines and Nova Scotia provincial guidelines, known as the Maintenance and Custody Act. The set of laws that apply to you depend on your current situation.

Parents who are legally married and seeking a divorce in Nova Scotia are subject to the federal child support guidelines. Parents in a common-law marriage or who are married but separating fall under the Nova Scotia Maintenance and Custody Act, the provincial set of laws.

The Maintenance and Custody Act of Nova Scotia states in section 1(a) that its purpose is “…to establish a fair standard of maintenance for children that ensures that they benefit from the financial means of both parents.”

Throughout the provinces and territories of Canada, child support is paid until the child reaches the age of majority. This age differs depending on location, but in Nova Scotia, the age of majority is 19 years old.

Finally, just like most of the Canadian provinces and territories, Nova Scotia does not give a parenting time credit when calculating child support amounts.

Nova Scotia child support formula and parenting time totals

In Nova Scotia, the child support formula is different for sole and shared physical custody. However, Nova Scotia family courts do not give automatic parenting time credit that can reduce your child support amount.

The only way parenting time can influence the amount of child support you receive or pay is when the non-residential parent can show the family court that visitations exceed 40 percent, or 146 overnights. The court may make modifications to your child support on a case-by-case basis.

Although Nova Scotia courts have developed several different formulas to calculate the amount of child support payable for shared custody, it usually makes child support awards based on a net difference between both parents' incomes.

Why accurate parenting time totals are important in Nova Scotia

Accurate parenting time percentages are important because Nova Scotia law requires a different method for calculating sole and shared custody child support amounts. If you use estimates for overnights, you could be relying on the wrong child support formula to calculate child support.

If you can create a parenting plan that accurately presents the number of overnights, or parenting time percentage, you can ensure the calculations will be accurate.

Examples of sole custody and Nova Scotia child support

Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert's income is $4,000 per month, while Mary's income is $2,400 per month. They have two children.

See how the child support amounts change in these examples:

  • Scenario #1: Robert is the non-residential parent. According to the Nova Scotia child support formula, Robert pays $673 in child support each month to Mary.
  • Scenario #2: Mary is the non-residential parent. Mary pays $420 in child support to Robert.
Examples of shared custody and Nova Scotia child support

Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert's income is $4,000 per month, while Mary's income is $2,400 per month. They have two children.

Here are some scenarios on how a Nova Scotia family court might determine child support:

  • Scenario #1: Total monthly child support is set as $673 for Robert and $420 for Mary. The net difference is $253, so this might be the amount that Robert pays each month in child support. This is because Robert is the higher earner.
  • Scenario #2: Their total income per month is $6,400, with Robert earning 63 percent and Mary earning 37 percent. The guidelines suggest that Robert might pay 63 percent of the total child support. In this case, Robert pays 63 percent of $1,093, or $688 per month in child support.
  • Scenario #3: The family court could determine that the amount of child support should be greater or less than either of the previous scenarios and generate a child support amount that fairly represents Robert and Mary's situation.
Nova Scotia guidelines allow for parenting time exceptions

Nova Scotia family courts, like those in other Canadian provinces, must adhere to the child support tables when determining payment amounts.

The Child Maintenance Guidelines made under Section 55 of the Maintenance and Custody Act does allow for judges to make adjustments to child support under certain circumstances.

Section 9 of the guidelines states:

9) Where a parent exercises a right of access to, or has physical custody of, a child for not less than 40 per cent of the time over the course of a year, the amount of the child maintenance order must be determined by taking into account
(a) the amounts set out in the applicable tables for each of the parents;
(b) the increased costs of shared custody arrangements; and
(c) the conditions, means, needs and other circumstances of each parent and of any child for whom maintenance is sought.

In Nova Scotia, this means that family court judges may consider modifications to child support orders to keep the payments fair and balanced while still ensuring that the child is financially cared for.

How accurate child support helps your children

Paying accurate child support helps your children in several ways, primarily because it ensures their financial needs are met.

Here are some other reasons why accurate parenting time percentages help you, the other parent and your children:

  • It provides a fair way to determine your child support amounts
  • It guarantees the child support amount reflects each parent's responsibilities
  • It allows for modifications if your actual time and scheduled time are different
  • It is compliant with Nova Scotia law

Your financial obligations to your children don't end with divorce, so whether you are paying or receiving child support, you owe it to your children to pay or receive the proper amount.

Top 5 things to remember about Nova Scotia child support and parenting time

To ensure you are paying or receiving the right amount of child support in Nova Scotia, remember these 5 things:

  1. The Maintenance and Custody Act of Nova Scotia contains tables and rules concerning child custody and child support. The federal child support guidelines also contain tables and rules about child custody and support.
  2. Married couples in Nova Scotia who file for divorce are regulated by the federal guidelines, while parents who never married or who are only separated fall under the provincial guidelines.
  3. Nova Scotia figures sole custody child support amounts based on one parent's gross monthly income, minus some standard deductions.
  4. Shared custody means that the non-residential parent hosts the children for 146 overnights or more annually. Fewer than 146 overnights leads to sole custody.
  5. Nova Scotia family courts can make adjustments to a child support amount when there is good supporting evidence that the amount is too low or too high for the children's needs, according to section 9 of the Maintenance and Custody Act.

Use the Custody X Change software to accurately calculate your total parenting time to present to a Nova Scotia family court.


The leading parenting time calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your parenting time to see if it was estimated incorrectly.

Calculate Your Time

The leading parenting time calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your parenting time to see if it was estimated incorrectly.

Calculate Your Parenting Time Now