Quebec Child Support & Parenting Time Calculations
Quebec uses total parenting time to figure out shared custody child support amounts. Sole custody child support does not use parenting time in the formula.
Besides income, parenting time percentages are a key part of the Quebec shared custody child support formula. Your parenting time directly affects your child support, whether you pay or receive.
Quebec attorneys and judges often rely on parenting time estimates only, even if they are incorrect, because counting total hours is tedious and time consuming. Divorcing parents usually rely on these estimates as well.
Using estimates means your parenting time totals can be wrong when compared to your actual parenting time schedule. This means your child support amount will not be fair or exact.
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.
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.
In any divorce, Quebec family courts award custody of the children to one or both parents. Custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. Child support amounts are tied to physical custody designations.
Quebec sole physical custody: The children reside with and are supervised by the residential parent, while the other parent is entitled to overnight visitations. In Quebec, when the non-residential parent spends 146 or fewer days, or less than 40 percent of the total time with the children, the family court considers it a sole custody case.
Quebec shared physical custody: Each parent has significant periods of physical custody, which allows them frequent and continuing contact with their children. Quebec requires that each parent host more than 146 days, or 40 percent of the time per year, to qualify for shared physical custody.
Quebec family courts use formulas that consider parental income and the needs of the child to arrive at a monthly child support amount. A parenting time adjustment is given based on shared custody.
Sole custody formula: The total income from the non-residential parent is put into the formula. Certain deductions reduce that total to an adjusted income. To be considered a sole custody case, the non-residential parent spends fewer than 146 days per year, or less than 40 percent of the time, with the children. There is no parenting time credit given for sole custody situations. The residential parent receives child support from the non-residential parent according to Quebec law.
Shared custody formula: A different formula is used for shared custody child support calculations. Both household incomes figure into the formula, unlike the one for sole custody. In the Quebec, when the family court orders shared physical custody, the non-residential parent must host the children for 146 days per year or more. The greater the parenting time days, the greater the credit toward child support.
Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert's adjusted income is $4,000 per month, while Mary's adjusted monthly income is $2,400. They have two children.
See how the child support amounts change in these examples:
- Scenario #1: Robert is the non-residential parent in this sole custody case, and is scheduled to host the children for fewer than 146 days per year. He pays $696 in child support each month to Mary.
- Scenario #2: Mary is the non-residential parent and hosts the children for fewer than 146 days per year. She pays $450 in child support to Robert.
In Quebec sole custody cases, the non-residential parent pays child support to the residential parent, regardless of income.
Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert's adjusted monthly income is $4,000 per month, while Mary's adjusted monthly income is $2,400 per year. They have two children.
See how the child support amounts change in these examples:
- Scenario #1: Robert hosts the children for 94 days, just over the minimum to qualify for joint physical custody. He pays $881 in child support per month to Mary.
- Scenario #2: Robert hosts the children for 125 days. He pays $678 in child support per month to Mary.
- Scenario #3: Robert hosts the children for 145 days. He pays $546 in child support per month to Mary.
- Scenario #4: Robert hosts the children for 165 days. He pays $416 in child support per month to Mary.
- Scenario #5: Robert and Mary agree to a 50/50 split, or 182 days. He pays $303 in child support per month to Mary. This is because he is the higher earner.
In the case of a 50/50 split, the higher earner generally pays child support to the lower earner to ensure the children's standard of living is the same in both locations.
The Quebec child support formulas use the following information to calculate your monthly amounts for shared custody child support:
Eligible children: In Quebec, child support payments continue for each child until he or she turns 18, at any point where the child becomes self-supporting, such as through marriage or military service.
Gross earnings: Gross earnings are established based on tax records and current pay stubs. A parent's income from the equivalent of one full-time job is used to determine a child support amount. Both incomes figure into shared custody child support.
Specific deductions: There are some deductions allowed by Quebec family courts that allow an adjustment of the income, including health insurance premiums for the children, support for other children and child care expenses, for example.
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 Quebec 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.
To ensure you are paying or receiving the right amount of child support in Quebec, remember these 5 things:
- Quebec awards sole or shared physical custody based on the total parenting time provided by the non-residential parent.
- Sole physical custody means that the non-residential parent is scheduled for fewer than 146 days with the children per year.
- Parents with more than 146 days qualify for a parenting time adjustment based on the parenting time totals per year. The parenting adjustment means lower child support amounts.
- The non-residential parent pays child support to the residential parent in Quebec.
- In the case of a 50/50 split in parenting time, the higher earner pays child support to the lower earner.
Use Custody X Change software to create a custody schedule that will quickly calculate the total parenting time for the Quebec child support formula.
As you negotiate what kind of custody schedule will best fit your needs, the software will accurately calculate your overnights.