Families Change Parent Guide to Separation & Divorce

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How to Calculate Child Support

In Quebec, there are two ways to calculate child support, depending on the situation.

The Quebec rules on child support apply if both parents live in Quebec.

The federal rules on child support apply only if

  • a parent is asking for child support during a divorce, and
  • one parent does not live in Quebec.

Click on the links above to learn more about calculating the amount of child support for your situation.

Adult Children

In Quebec, child support payments don’t automatically stop when a child turns 18. But if the child is independent and no longer needs financial support, the parent making child support payments can ask a court for permission to stop or decrease the payments.

Adult children who still need financial support can ask a court to order one or both parents to pay child support. To learn more, read Éducaloi’s article Support Payments for an Adult Child.


Mediation can be a good way to resolve your conflict, either before you go to court or to try to reach an agreement with the other parent without having to go to court. In family matters, the law says you must attend a free mediation information session before going before a judge. To learn more, read Éducaloi’s article Information Session on Mediation.

In mediation, you and the other parent work with a neutral person who is specially trained to help you reach an agreement. A mediator will

  • provide a neutral place for you and the other parent to meet,
  • help define the issues you need to resolve,
  • keep the discussions on track and
  • help you maintain a working relationship with the other parent.

A mediator will not make decisions for you, but can help you and the other parent communicate with each other about the issues you have to settle when you break up. Both parents also have to agree to mediation for it to work.

Mediation gives you more control over what happens. It allows for more creative and flexible arrangements that suit your particular situation. If you go to court, the judge will decide for you.

Mediation is informal and private. While a lawyer can go to mediation with you, there is usually no one else there but you, the other parent and the mediator.

Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to a certain number of hours of free mediation sessions. This is in addition to the free information session you generally are required to attend in family matters if you intend to go to court. To learn more, read Éducaloi’s article Free Mediation for Couples.

To learn more about mediation, read Éducaloi’s article The Mediation Process.

If You Have to Go to Court

It’s a lot less stressful if parents can work out a child support agreement on their own, with or without the help of a mediator. But that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes court is the only option available to ensure that children get the financial support they need when their parents break up.

Parents can go to the Quebec Superior Court to ask for child support. But as a general rule, they must first attend a free information session on mediation.

Both parents will have to give the court various documents, such as proof of their present income, together with their most recent income tax returns and other financial documents that might be necessary.

The judge will make a child support order based on the child’s best interests. Either the Quebec or the federal rules will be used, depending on the situation. The judge will decide whether child support should be paid and if so, the amount of child support, who should pay it and how often it should be paid. The parents have to obey the court order.

A family law lawyer can give you information about getting a court order. Some government services provide free or low-cost legal help. You can find more helpful information in the Resources section of this guide.