Families Change Guide to Separation & Divorce

4.6 - Summary on Child Support

4.6 - Summary on Child Support
  • After separation, both parents are legally required to support the children financially.
  • Child support is money paid for the benefit of the child. It is intended to contribute to the costs that a parent incurs because of the children being in their primary care.
  • The parent with whom the child lives is also expected to contribute towards the children’s living expenses.
  • The recipient of child support is free to use the money at their discretion. They are not required to account for how it is used, so long as the children’s needs are being met.
  • The Child Support Guidelines are used to determine the base amount of child support. The amount to be paid depends on how each parent shares time with the children, as well as each parent’s income, and the number of children. 
  • Child support covers a very wide scope of common day-to-day expenses such as share of rent, utilities, groceries, and activities, as well as clothing.
  • Extraordinary expenses such as medical, dental, educational and extracurricular expenses are not covered by child support. These expenses are sharable between the parents in proportion to their income.
  • Parents can make their own agreement about how extraordinary expenses will be shared, but the agreement has to be approved by the court.
  • Generally, child support continues until age 18 or, if the child is still a full-time high school student and lives with a parent, it ends when the child graduates or turns 19, whichever comes first.  
  • The court can make, change or cancel a child support order whenever any matter regarding the children comes before the court. 
  • The LSCA can help parents get, change, and collect child support.