Family Law Blog

Do Child Support Payers Have to Provide Their Complete Tax Returns Every Year? Or Just Their Notice of Assessment?


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The Child Support Guidelines (section 3 and 24.1) contemplate that the amount of child support will be reviewed every year.  This is consistent with the objectives of the Guidelines, to ensure that children benefit from the financial means of their parents.  That would not occur if one parent starting making a lot more (or a lot less) and the amount of Child Support did not change to reflect that.

 

To ensure that the correct amount of child support is paid every year, the Guidelines require parents to exchange income information, every year.  It does not matter whether child support is owed pursuant to an agreement or court order.  Section 24.1 of the Child Support Guidelines reads as follows:

 

24.1 (1) Every person whose income or other financial information is used to determine the amount of an order for the support of a child shall, no later than 30 days after the anniversary of the date on which the order was made in every year in which the child is a child within the meaning of this Regulation, provide every party to the order with the following, unless the parties have agreed otherwise:

1. For the most recent taxation year, a copy of the person’s,

i. personal income tax return, including any materials that were filed with the return, and

ii. notice of assessment and, if any, notice of reassessment.

2. As applicable, any current information in writing about,

i. the status and amount of any expenses included in the order pursuant to subsection 7 (1), and

ii. any loan, scholarship or bursaries the child has received or will receive in the coming year that affect or will affect the expenses referred to in subparagraph i.  O. Reg. 25/10, s. 6.

Notices of assessment

(2) If the person has not received his or her notice of assessment or notice of reassessment for the most recent taxation year by the date referred to in subsection (1), the person shall provide every party to the order with a copy of the notice as soon as possible after the person receives the notice.  O. Reg. 25/10, s. 6.

Change in address

(3) If the address at which a party receives documents changes, the party shall, at least 30 days before the next anniversary of the date on which the order was made, give written notice of his or her updated address information to every person required to provide documents and information under subsection (1).  O. Reg. 25/10, s. 6.

Failure to comply

(4) If a person required to provide a document or information under this section fails to do so, a court may, on application by the party who did not receive the document or information, make one or more of the following orders:

1. An order finding the person to be in contempt of court.

2. An order awarding costs in favour of the applicant up to an amount that fully compensates the applicant for all costs incurred in the proceedings.

3. An order requiring the person to provide the document or information to,

i. i. the court,

ii. the applicant, and

iii. any other party to the domestic contract or other written agreement to whom the person did not provide the document or information when required to do so.  O. Reg. 25/10, s. 8.

the person did not provide the document or information when required to do so.  O. Reg. 25/10, s. 6.

 

 

Section 25.1 requires disclosure of the same information when support is due pursuant to a domestic contract.  Where the support payer earns a substantial part of his/her income from sources other than employment, section 25 of the Child Support Guidelines requires additional disclosure.  Listen to this Podcast on Family Law Disclosure and read this page to understand how disclosure works in Family Law Cases, and more about what can happen when a parent does not provide disclosure.

Ontario Family Law Podcast

 

32 - How to Change a Support Order

34 - Financial Disclosure in Family Law Cases

If the support payer earns most of his/her income through employment, then consider using the Ontario Government’s Online Child Support Calculation Service.  The government will access both parties’ income tax returns and adjust base support and some Section 7 expenses.  The cost of this service is $80 per parent and both parents must agree, and qualify, to use it.   The court process, which is necessary where parent’s incomes are more complex, one parent is self-employed, or there is split or shared custody, can be challenging.  Watch the video below on changing child support in court to understand more. 

 

If your child support case is more complex, or you have an ex who insists on making things difficult, then it may be time to speak to a top family law lawyer about your rights and options. Child support is the right of the child.  Contact Certified Specialist in Family Law (and author of the book above), John Schuman, by emailing him, calling 416-446-5869, or using the contact form below.  We answer all inquiries promptly and we can arrange for you to come in quickly for a consultation (charged at a reduced hourly rate).

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law - 4th edition cover

 

You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including a further explanation of child support, disclosure, the court process for obtaining and changing child support, and other family law issues by downloading this $9.99 e-book  for KindleKobo, or iPad/iPhone/Mac or ordering the paperback version.   But, to keep out of trouble, it is always best to speak with a good family law lawyer.

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Many thousands of people get family law assistance from this website everyday.  If you have found this page useful, please share it on your social network using the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest buttons at the bottom of the page.  Please comment on this page using the comments section at the bottom to share your thoughts on the child support issues after separation and how to best to protect the children.



Can common law partners create a legal and binding separation document without a lawyer?


Custody of child


In Ontario, section 55(1) of the Family Law Act says that for a separation agreement to be a separation agreement, it must be in writing, signed by the parties and witnessed. 

However, the considerations do not end there.  There are additional factors a judge must consider when deciding whether to enforce a separation agreement.  If the court will not enforce a separation agreement, then that agreement is only worth anything while both parties agree to follow the terms.  If one party decides not to follow the terms, and the agreement is not enforceable, then there is nothing the "innocent" party can do.

The other factors that a judge will consider in deciding whether to enforce a separation agreement are set out in section 56 of the Family Law Act.  Judges do not have to follow agreements as they relate to custody, access, or the upbringing of children.  They also do not have to follow agreements with respect to child support where the agreement is not consistent with the Child Support Guidelines.  Any term that requires a party to remain chaste after separation is invalid.


Ontario Family Law Podcast

24 - How to Have a Valid and Enforceable Separation Agreement



However, where many agreements run into trouble, that a lawyer can avoid, is under section 56(4) of the Family Law Act.  You can learn more about those considerations by listening to this podcast, or reading this page.  However, section 56(4)(b) says that a judge can set aside a separation agreement if either party did not understand it.   The evidence that judges look for when trying to decide if someone understood a legal document is whether that person got advice from a lawyer.  As a result, judges frequently refuse to enforce (i.e. ignore) agreements where the parties do not have Certificates of Independent Legal Advice attached to contract.   Section 56(4) lists some additional potential problems that lawyers help their clients avoid to ensure that both parties are bound by the separation agreement.

Obviously, people who sign separation agreements want the certainty that such documents provide against future arguments, fights and claims by a former spouse.  Having an unenforceable contract does not help with that at all. So, seeing a lawyer to get Independent Legal Advice is well worth it.




Another common mistake that people make when signing separation agreements is not understanding what the law says each side should get.  Some people give away way to much, or get way to little, because they don't know what Family Law actually says.  You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including support and property division and most other common family law issues by downloading the latest edition of this best-selling $9.99 e-book for KindleKobo, or iPad/iPhone/Mac or ordering the paperback version.  But, to keep out of trouble, it is always best to speak with a good family law lawyer. 

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But the best way to protect yourself, your investment in your home and other things and people that are important to you, is to find out how the law applies specifically to your situation and what steps you should take to get things to work out for you. Contact Certified Specialist in Family Law (and author of the book above), John Schuman, by emailing him, calling 416-446-5869, or using the contact form below.  We answer all inquiries promptly and we can arrange for you to come in quickly for a consultation (charged at a reduced hourly rate). 


Feel free to share this page on your social network by clicking on the buttons below.  To contact John Schuman about your case, or comment on this page, use the form below.


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