Ontario Child Support & Parenting Time Totals

Ontario child support and parenting time totals

In Ontario, 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 percentages are estimates (and thus incorrect)

Ontario 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 Ontario

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.

Both the federal guidelines and the Ontario Family Law Act are responsible for setting custody and support between parents and children. Both guidelines include tables for calculating the amount of support, which is based on income and number of children.

Whether the court adheres to the federal guidelines or the provincial guidelines depends on the residency of the parents.

An Ontario family court can include an additional amount of support above the basic amount in order to cover any extraordinary expenses, such as child care. The court can also reduce the amount of support at its discretion.

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 Ontario, the age of majority is 18 years old.

Ontario does not automatically give a parenting time credit to non-residential parents when calculating child support amounts.

Ontario child support formula and parenting time percentages

In Ontario, the child support formula is different for sole and shared physical custody. However, Ontario 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 Ontario 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 percentages are important in Ontario

Accurate parenting time percentages are important because Ontario 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 then accurately present the number of overnights to the court, you can ensure the calculations will be accurate.

Examples of sole custody and Ontario 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 Ontario child support formula, Robert pays $715 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 the shared custody formula and Ontario 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 Ontario family court might determine child support:

  • Scenario #1: Total monthly child support is set as $715 for Robert and $420 for Mary. The net difference is $295, 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 $1,135, or $715 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.
Ontario guidelines allow for parenting time exceptions

Ontario family courts can order a different amount for child support than what is calculated via the child support tables. As a general rule, the courts must adhere to the child support tables when determining payment amounts.

The conditions outlined in Section 33 of the Ontario Family Law Act does allow for judges to make adjustments to child support under certain circumstances.

Section 33 (12) of the guidelines states:

(12) …a court may award an amount that is different from the amount that would be determined in accordance with the child support guidelines if the court is satisfied,
(a) that special provisions in an order or a written agreement respecting the financial obligations of the parents, or the division or transfer of their property, directly or indirectly benefit a child, or that special provisions have otherwise been made for the benefit of a child; and
(b) that the application of the child support guidelines would result in an amount of child support that is inequitable given those special provisions.

In Ontario, 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 Ontario 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 Ontario child support and parenting time

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

  1. The Family Law Act of Ontario 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. The residency conditions of the parents determines whether they are subject to the federal custody and support laws or the provincial laws.
  3. Ontario 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. Ontario 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 33 of the Family Law Act.
Use the Custody X Change software to accurately calculate your total parenting time to present to a Ontario 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