Parents have a legal responsibility to support their children financially. They have this duty even when they separate or divorce. It means that one parent might have to pay the other to help meet the financial needs of their children. This is called child support. Parents should think about child support as soon as they break up. While all the other long-term details of the separation or divorce get worked out, children still need a regular routine. They need to be fed, housed, and clothed.
Many couples who divorce or separate don’t have to go to court to figure out the amount of child support. Instead, they can come to an agreement on their own. Parents can use provincial or federal rules to determine child support. It is based on who has the children most of the time, the number of children, the province where the paying parent lives and the annual income of the parents. We will discuss how to calculate child support later on.
You can try to work out an agreement with the other parent, but in some cases you might want to consult a lawyer.
Both parents have the legal responsibility to support their children financially. When both parents contribute to their children’s expenses, the children’s living conditions are usually better than if only one parent contributes.
Child support is the right of every child. It is not the right of a parent. A parent cannot agree to give up receiving child support just because he or she doesn’t want to deal with the other parent. When parents separate or divorce, the law says they are both still responsible for the financial needs of their children. This is the case even if a parent has never lived with the children or the other parent.
Child support is not the same as spousal support. Child support is for the financial needs of the child – not for the needs of the parent who receives the child support payment. Child support is not a fee that is paid in exchange for spending time with the children. Whatever the parenting arrangements may be, children have the right to financial support from both their parents.
Éducaloi’s article Child Support: Common Questions answers other common questions about child support in Quebec.
You don’t necessarily have to go to court to get child support. You can work out an agreement with the other parent. You can then have your agreement approved by a special court clerk. This is much easier and faster than going before a judge.
Although it’s not necessary to have your agreement approved by a special court clerk, there are advantages to doing so. To learn more, visit Éducaloi’s website.
You can also reach an agreement with the help of a mediator. A mediator is a neutral person who is specially trained to help both sides in a dispute come to an agreement they can both live with. The Barreau du Québec (Quebec’s professional association of lawyers) has a referral service to help you find a lawyer-mediator in family law.