Child Support in Ontario

Obligations relating to Child Support in Ontario

Both the federal Divorce Act and Ontario Family Law Act impose a duty on parents of a dependent child to provide child support in Ontario.  The Divorce Act provisions apply to spouses who are married, while the Ontario Family Law Act applies to married, unmarried or spouses in another relationship.  Basically, child support in Ontario is payable if you are the biological parent of a child regardless of the relationship you have with the other parent (married, separated, divorced or unmarried).  However, in certain situations it is even possible that a non-biological individual may become liable for child support in Ontario in situations where they have taken on the role of the biological parent.

Child support in Ontario is not only payable to a dependent child under the age of 18, but is also payable in situations where the child remains dependent on his or her parents.  Examples of a child remaining dependent on their parents include situations where the child remains in school after the age of 18, suffers from a serious illness or is seriously disabled.

Determining which parent has to pay child support in Ontario depends on who the child is usually living with (the custodial parent).   The custodial parent with whom the child resides with has more expenses to deal with in raising the child, which is why the other parent will be responsible to give payments to the custodial parent.  The paying spouse is referred to as the payor and the parent who receives the payments is referred to as the payee.

Calculating Child Support in Ontario

Support is determined by the Child Support Guidelines which sets out a base amount of support which must be paid by the payor.  The base amount is based primarily on the payor’s income level and the number of children involved.  The type of custody (sole custody or shared custody) will also be another factor in determining the amount the payor is liable for.  However, the base amount is not pre-determined in all circumstances.  There are situations where the base amount may be higher or lower, such as when the child has special expenses or where the payor’s income levels have increased or decreased significantly.

There is an online support calculator that you may use to give you a basic overview of how much child support is payable in your situation.  However, please note that this online calculator is only for basic calculations and may not be accurate for all situations.  Please visit for calculations for child support in Ontario.  Simply enter your income, number of children and the province you reside in to get an estimate for child support.

The Enforcement of Child Support in Ontario

The Family Responsibility Office is responsible for enforcing support across Canada.  Where a court orders that a parent is liable for child support, the court’s order is automatically registered with the Family Responsibility Office.  In cases where the parents agree to child support through a written agreement, usually a separation agreement, the agreement should be registered with the Family Responsibility Office by the parents.  It is critical that any agreement by the parties with respect to child support be registered with the Family Responsibility Office to make sure that the agreement is enforceable.   The payor will send the funds to the Family Responsibility Office, who will then send the funds to the payee.  The Family Responsibility Office’s role is very important in enforcement of child support because if a payor fails to send the funds to them they can take enforcement action against the payor.

For more information on child support in Ontario or about obtaining a divorce in Ontario, please contact our Toronto divorce lawyer.

Helpful Resources:

Divorce and Separation
Family Justice Services
Child Custody and Access
Spousal Support
Child Support
Division or Equalization of Family Property
Treatment of a Matrimonial Home
Enforcement of Support Payments
Child Protection
Child Adoption