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High earners and child support orders

Parents have a responsibility to support their children economically, and child support orders specify these arrangements when parents divorce or separate. While calculators online can help you get an idea of what you or your child’s other parent may need to pay, several factors can make deviations appropriate.

For instance, if either of you is a high earner, you should know how that can affect support orders in Canada.

Calculating a fair amount

Traditional calculation methods may not be fair for a high-earning parent, as parental income is a primary component in determining how much a parent can and should pay.

For instance, using the standard table could mean you (as the high earner) would pay much more than your child needs every month.

This is why federal guidelines provide specific direction for situations involving parents earning more than $150,000 per year. Under these circumstances, parents and courts can take two approaches to calculating support. 

They can use traditional guidelines for only the first $150,000 of a parent’s income. At their discretion, a judge could order additional support on the remaining balance of income.

Another option can be to work with the other parent and negotiate a child support order. You might agree that the presumed guidelines are still appropriate, or you might discuss other arrangements, like having the high-earning parent pay for specific child-related expenses, like college.

The approach that is right for you will depend on your case and specific elements, like whether there are special circumstances and expenses and what a judge deems to be a suitable amount. Factors like parenting time will also affect support calculations.

Getting help to get an appropriate order

Canadian census data shows that the number of people earning more than $150,000 per year has been increasing steadily over the past several years. This means that it can be more common for parents to find themselves with questions about how higher income affects child support orders. 

Rather than attempt to navigate this process alone, parents can work with a family law lawyer to tackle child support matters so that the outcome is fair. 

Even when parents have no trouble affording child support, issues can arise in the legal process. Every parent and every child deserves to have a fair and appropriate order in place.

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