FAMILY LAW Resources

Family Law FAQ

What is Child Support and how is it calculated?

Child support is payments made by one parent (payor) to another parent (payee) upon divorce/separation. The payments are intended to provide financial assistance toward the expenses of raising your child(ren). These obligations are to the child(ren) and not the parent, therefore, parents cannot waive the payments of child support. There are several factors in determining the amount of child support payments. The main factors are 1) the number of children, 2) the payor parent's income and 3) the parenting arrangement. Below is a helpful guides to determine the amount of child support payment a parent can receive: Department of Justice 2017 Child Support Guideline Calculator

My ex doesn't deserve to see our children because he/she refuses to pay me any child support. Will a Court agree with me?

No. The Courts look at child support and parenting time/child custody as two separate issues. Your ex refusing to pay child support does not justify limiting his/her time with the Children. If you refuse to let your ex see the Children it could jeopardize your own parental rights; a Judge could find your actions unreasonable and as a result award custody or more parenting time to your ex.

My ex refuses to pay me court ordered child support; what can I do?

If you have not done so, first thing to do is to register your child support Order with the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP). If your ex continues to refuse to comply with a child support Order, MEP may take enforcement actions including:
- Suspend a driver's licence;
- Confiscate a passport or limit re-entry to Canada;
- Garnish wage.
For more information on MEP, please visit their website.

What is the difference between section 3 child support and section 7 child support?

Section 3 child support is meant to cover the cost of basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter. Section 7 expenses are meant to cover the cost of extra ordinary expenses such as daycare, school fees, and extra curricular activities. Section 7 expenses are a shared expense meaning that each parent pays a portion of it according to their proportionate incomes while section 3 expenses are normally paid by one parent (the parent who does not have primary day to day care of the Children).

My teen doesn’t want to live with me, instead choosing to live with my ex/the other parent. What can a Court do to help me?

Courts or Judges will not likely interfere with the choice a teenager makes regarding which parent he/she lives with. The older a child is the less likely a Judge will interfere with that child’s choice of which parent he/she wants to live with.

If I have primary day to day parenting of my Children and I want to relocate out of province, do I have the right to do so?

Not unless you have the other parent’s permission to relocate with the Children or a Judge’s Order giving you permission to relocate with the Children.

I recently moved to Alberta, can I now start a divorce action here?

It depends on whether you or your spouse has been an ordinary resident of Alberta for a year. According to s.3(1) of the Divorce Act, "a court in a province has jurisdiction to hear and determine a divorce proceeding if either spouse has been an ordinary resident in the province for at least one year immediately preceding the commencement of the proceedings". This means you or your spouse must have lived in Alberta for at least one year before you begin your divorce proceedings. If you have children, it is usually best to commence the divorce proceedings in the province where your children live.

What is the Parenting After Separation (PAS) Course and do I need to take it?

The Parenting After Separation (PAS) Course is offered by the government with the intention of giving the parents who are separated or seeking to separate the knowledge and tools they require to better understand their children's needs and emotions throughout the divorce process as well as life after the separation. The course is offered online (eCourse) and in-person. If you are filing for divorce and you have children under the age of majority, it is required in most cases that you take the course before filing for a divorce. If you are filing for parenting or guardianship in Provincial Court, you may be required to take the course if a judge directs you to do so. You can visit the here for more information.

** Disclaimer: The questions and answers posted on this site are provided for general information purposes only. The information as provided are not intended to be and should not be considered as legal advice. By reading this FAQ, no solicitor-client relationship is created between you and the lawyers at eLaw Alliance. For specific legal advice into your particular matter, please contact us for a free consultation.