Family Law Information Centre
Information on the Federal Child Support Guidelines
Family Justice Services Branch provides information on the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines were originally proclaimed into law May 1, 1997. The guideline tables were first amended effective May 1, 2006. The guidelines were recently amended, and the amendments to the guidelines and tables took effect January 1, 2012.
The Federal Child Support Guidelines together with the Federal Child Support Tables, are a set of rules and tables for calculating the amount of support that a paying parent should contribute towards his or her children upon separation or divorce.
The guidelines and tables are applied when an application for support or variation of support is made under the federal Divorce Act. However, in Saskatchewan, the provincial support law, The Family Maintenance Act, was amended so that the Federal Child Support Guidelines and tables could be applied to support applications under provincial law as well. This is important because it gives parents who have had children in situations or relationships other than formal marriage the same opportunity to have the guidelines and tables apply to their support application.
What are the Child Support Guidelines?
The guidelines are a set of rules and tables for calculating the amount of support that a paying parent should contribute toward his or her children. They consider three main factors:
How are these Guidelines different from what was done prior to 1997?
The guidelines replaced the case-by-case method of determining child support with a process that provides consistent, predictable and equitable awards.
The guidelines also reflect the fact that child support payments are no longer taxable in the hands of the receiving parent and not deductible by the paying parent.
How are Child Support Guidelines used?
Parents can use the guidelines to determine how much child support should be paid. They can agree on the amount themselves or with the help of a mediator or lawyer. If parents cannot agree on the amount of child support, it will be decided by the court according to the Federal Child Support Guidelines.
My spouse and I agree on child support payments. Is there any need to see a lawyer?
Even if you both agree, it is a good idea for each parent to check with a lawyer before making decisions about child support. If you do not have a lawyer, you may choose to contact a lawyer through the yellow pages or Legal Aid.
My agreement/order was made before May 1, 1997. Is it still valid?
Agreements or court orders about child support payments that were made before May 1997 are still valid. In these cases, the parent paying the child support can claim the payments as a deduction on his or her income tax. The parent receiving the child support must claim the payments as income on his or her income tax. This tax rule does not apply to orders or agreements made after May 1, 1997.
If your order or agreement was made before May 1997 and you want to change your tax requirements for claiming child support payments, you and the other parent must fill out a T1157 form available from the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. You can get this form by clicking the link above or by calling the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency toll free at 1-800-959-8281, or in Regina at (306) 780-6015. Filling out this form only changes how payments are claimed for income tax purposes.
What do the recent changes to the Federal Child Support Guidelines and Tables mean?
The latest amendments to the Guidelines and Tables took effect January 1, 2012.
The amended tables, including the Saskatchewan Table, have changed the amount of support that is payable based on the payor's income. In some income categories, the changes are slight; in others, they are more significant. It is important to look at these amended tables, and not old versions of the tables, when assessing the amount of child support.
If you believe a change to your order or agreement may benefit you based on the amended guidelines and tables, you should contact:
More information about the amendments is available on Justice Canada's website.
Can my order be changed?
Your order or agreement can only be changed by going to court or by making a formal written amendment to you agreement. You should check with a lawyer before you make any decisions.
Can I go to court on my own?
If you wish to change your order by going to court on your own, you can use a self-help kit. Self-help support variation kits contain forms and instructions for changing support orders. Kits are available free of charge from F.L.I.C.:
Where can I get a copy of the Child Support Guidelines and information about the federal Child Support Guidelines?