What is The Difference Between Child Support and Spousal Support in Ontario?
Child support is based on the premise that both parents remain financially responsible for the support of their children after the breakdown of their relationship. Spousal support is money that is owed to one spouse to either compensate the spouse for something they gave up or to meet a financial need caused by the breakdown of the relationship.
While there is some interplay between the two, it is possible that one spouse may have to pay either child support or spousal support, or both. It is even possible that one spouse will be required to pay child support while the other will be required to pay spousal support. In situations where there may not be enough family income to cover both, child support will be given priority over spousal support.
Contact one of our Richmond Hill family law lawyers, they can help you determine what is the difference between child support and spousal support in Ontario and how each is relevant in your particular circumstances.
Who Is Entitled to Receive Child Support and Spousal Support?
Which parent is entitled to receive child support will depend on both:
- the respective incomes of the parents; and
- the living arrangements of the children.
One parent may be required to pay child support to the other parent when one parent’s income is higher than the other’s and/or where the children spend more time living with one parent than they do with the other.
One spouse may be required to pay spousal support to the other parent if:
- one spouse made sacrifices during the relationship for the benefit of the family (such as giving up a career to look after the home or children),
- one spouse needs to be compensated for ongoing childcare responsibilities, or
- one spouse has a financial need arising from the breakdown of the relationship.
How Are Child Support and Spousal Support Payments Calculated?
Child support must be calculated by the formula set out in the Child Support Guidelines. The amount of child support that a parent must pay is based on the paying parent’s income and the number of children for whom they are paying support. The living arrangements of the children can make the calculation of child support more complicated.
Spousal support is generally calculated using the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, which use a set of formulas to determine an appropriate range of spousal support based on:
- the length of the relationship
- the age of the recipient spouse
- whether or not one spouse is paying child support, and
- the income of each spouse.
While the court is not required to apply the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, they have to have a good reason not to. As a result, court orders for spousal support tend to fall within the advised ranges.
Tax Treatment of Child Support and Spousal Support
Spousal support is taxable income. That means that the spouse who receives spousal support must declare the income on their tax return. The spouse who pays support can deduct the amount paid from their income on their tax return. By contrast, child support is not considered taxable income. It is money paid by one parent for the support of the children.
Contact Our Richmond Hill Family Lawyers Today
There are many ways in which child support and spousal support differ, but not all will be relevant to your circumstances. Contact one of our Richmond Hill family law and divorce lawyers today to discuss what is the difference between child support and spousal support in Ontario in the context of your case. Call 905-884-9242 today to chat with our legal team.
*Disclaimer: Please note, that this blog intends to provide a general overview of the topic, it is not intended to act as legal advice. It is integral to consult a lawyer to receive legal assistance pertaining directly to your situation. We recommend that you contact Blackburn Lawyers’ family lawyers for any legal inquiries pertaining to family law.