Two children with the title "5 Tips for Child Support in Alberta

Child Support is often one of the first issues to arise when couples with children file for divorce. The higher earning spouse worries about having to make the payments. The lower earning spouse worries their ex will not be able to make the payments.

That’s when people search the internet and talk to friends, and sometimes gather misinformation about child support in Alberta. I’ve heard stories of people who alter their entire parenting schedule because they believe they will save on child support.

Here are 5 things to understand about Child Support Laws & Guidelines in Alberta: 

Child support amounts are based on the Federal Child Support Guideline

The federal guidelines for child support in Alberta are simply a grid that shows you what you pay based on three factors. These factors are: parenting arrangement, number of children, and income. The specific amounts vary in each province. Child support amounts in Alberta may be slightly different from those in other provinces. One important thing to know is that child support payments are not taxable or tax deductible.

Child support does not exist to build wealth

Child support is money paid by one parent to the other who is already paying their share into daily expenses. Both parents have an obligation to provide for their children. On that note, the receiving parent is not required to provide the paying parent an account of where the money was spent. The children’s financial needs are calculated by the guidelines. The money is presumed to be put toward them.

There are two types of child support: Section 3 and Section 7

Basic child support is called Section 3. This is a set amount typically paid on a monthly or bi-weekly basis. This type of child support is to be paid towards the child’s core needs, including shelter, food, utilities, and clothing. Section 7 refers to extracurricular activities, daycare, sports, prescription glasses, and post-secondary education. These items vary and fluctuate as the children’s’ age and interests change. Therefore, they are paid on a percentage basis when they come up.

There is no definite age to the end of child support

Child support may stop at age 18, but not necessarily. It continues if the child continues to be dependent on his parents because of disabilities, or because the child attends post-secondary education.

You are not bound by the federal guidelines amount

The amounts set by the government are simply guidelines. The courts recognize that certain families may have a financial arrangement that works for them.

Some parents agree to a lesser child support amount to lessen the burden on the paying parent. In cases where one of the parents has lost their job, the parties may agree to pause child support.

Child support in Alberta can be dealt with at the same time as the divorce. This is especially true if both parents are open to sharing their incomes and adhering to the Federal guidelines, or negotiating a different amount on mutual agreement.

If you and your spouse are ready to address child support in Alberta in an open and amicable way, contact me. As an alternative to going through Child Support Services in Alberta, I can help you obtain a Court Child Support Order quickly and affordably.