When it comes to child support, there are several important considerations many people overlook or are simply not aware of. If you have children and are going through a divorce, regardless of whether you are the recipient or payor of child support, here are three helpful insights from a Toronto divorce expert.
1. Proof of income is key.
In order for your lawyer to secure a reasonable amount of child support for you and your children, you must begin by providing solid proof of your partner’s income. To do this, you and your lawyer must gather pay stubs, income tax returns or anything else which can help to establish how much money your partner earns.
If the payor is self-employed, proving actual income is more complicated. In these situations, you’ll need the assistance of a great lawyer who can assist you in gathering evidence as to what the payor’s true income is so that your lawyer can have the court “impute” an income to your partner.
2. Payors: Don’t delay–pay right away.
If your partner is requesting child support immediately after separation, it is usually best to not hold back. If you wait for a court order or even delay for a few weeks or months, you could face a large and financially crippling retroactive child support order when you finally get to court.
Additionally, if you are seeking custody or access to your children, it is doubly important to pay with haste. Whether child support payments are being timely made is often the first question a judge may ask you, and if you are not paying or paying slowly, you will not win “the ear of the court.” This could significantly undermine your claims for custody or access.
3. Child support is “the right of the child.”
As sometimes happens during the course of a divorce, spouses will make bargains or deals with each other. Perhaps a husband will agree to allow the wife to have custody and the family home in exchange for waiving her demand for ongoing child support. As fair as such an arrangement may seem to the parties, child support is not something that parents can bargain away. Child support is not your right. It is the right of your child. Remember that in the end, just because you choose to separate or get a divorce does not mean that your children should ever be asked to forfeit their support – or be required to suffer financially.