A Little Extra Support: Who Pays for the Dentist and Soccer?
When parents separate, they quickly learn there are two types of child support in Canada’s Child Support Guidelines: Section 3 and Section 7.
Section 3 child support is the monthly amount that a parent pays to the other who is with the children most of the time. This amount is calculated using the tables referred to in the Guidelines.
Section 7 is child support not covered by section 3. Determining what will be included as a section 7 expense depends on the lifestyle of the family before separation and the reasonableness of the expense. Typically, things that are considered section 7 include:
- College and university expenses
- Uninsured healthcare fees, including dental, orthodontics, eyeglasses and counselling.
- Childcare expenses – expenses incurred so that the primary caring parent may attend school or work.
- Healthcare insurance premiums – the portion of healthcare insurance premiums that relate to the children.
- Extracurricular Expenses – sports, music classes, dance, art classes and some tutoring. Extracurricular activities are often the most contentious issue as parents may have differing opinions on the necessity and reasonableness of an activity for the children.When determining if an activity is a Section 7 expense, the Court often wants to know if the children participated in the activity prior to separation. If yes, it is likely the activity will continue and the expense will be ordered. The Court will also decide if the activity cost is reasonable given the financial situation of the parties.
The above list is not exhaustive, but it gives a general overview of what parents can expect to include as section 7 expenses.
Another question: How much does each parent pay? This is determined by each parent’s income – section 7 expenses are paid proportionately based on the incomes of the parents. If parents earn the same amount each year, the cost of section 7 expenses is split evenly. However, if one parent earns more, he/she will be responsible for proportionally more of the cost.
One more important thing to know about Section 7 expenses: enforcement. In most situations, providing a receipt to the other parent is sufficient; however, if the expense is disputed, a Court order may be required. Additionally, the Maintenance Enforcement Program can assist with the enforcement of section 7 expenses which have already been ordered by a Court.
Have more questions about section 7 expenses, or enforcing section 7 child support? Contact the Legal Navigator at Coach My Case to see if that extra support is a little or a lot.