At its most basic, determining the amount of child support payable is accomplished by following these steps:
- Determine if the children are eligible to receive support. In general, so long as they are under the age of 19, they are eligible.
- Determine who the payor is. In general, this will be the parent who does not exercise full-time care of the children. If both parents have roughly the same amount of time, then this is called "shared parenting" and this will affect the amount of child support payable.
- Determine the gross annual income of the payor. This is generally accomplished by using the income indicated at line 150 of the most recent tax return. However, it is generally recommended to look at tax returns and notices of assessments for the 3 most recent taxation years. There are additional considerations if the payor is self-employed or makes more than $150,000 per year.
- Consult the Federal Child Support Guidelines and find the applicable figure in relation to the gross annual income and the number of children. This figure represents the amount of child support payable.
Next, you should determine how to enforce this obligation. Are you going to ask the payor to pay via separation agreement or by getting a court order? On which day do you want to be paid? Which method do you want the payments to be made by? What do you do if the payor has not paid in a long time? Are you asking for the court to award this under the Family Law Act or the Divorce Act, and is there a difference between the two? These are important questions that will be addressed at a later date.