Section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines (Guidelines) specifically addresses those “special or extraordinary expenses” which the basic monthly child support or table amount does not include. Section 7 outlines the categories of special or extraordinary expenses which include:
- child care expenses incurred as a result of the custodial parent’s employment, illness, disability or education or training for employment;
- that portion of the medical and dental insurance premiums attributable to the child;
- health-related expenses that exceed insurance reimbursement by at least $100 annually, including orthodontic treatment, professional counselling provided by a psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist or any other person, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and prescription drugs, hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses;
- extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school education or for any other educational programs that meet the child’s particular needs;
- expenses for post-secondary education; and
- extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities.
Section. 7 of the Guidelines require both parents to share in these costs in proportion to their income after deducting from expense, the contribution if any, from the child. In addition, the parties must also take into consideration any subsides, benefits or income tax deductions or credits relating to the expense. Also, it is important that the parties obtain the other consent prior to incurring any costs.
The courts may consider departing from the general rule that these are to be shared by the parents in cases where there is extreme poverty, very high monthly table support, or disparity in the parent’s incomes.
The common area of confusion and where a dispute is likely to arise is regarding extracurricular activities and what can or cannot be included. In these cases, we generally refer to case law for precedents. That being said, a judge will still review each case individually based on their facts to determine the necessity and the reasonableness of the expense. The expense must be necessary in relation to the child’s best interests and reasonable in relation to the means of the spouses and to the family’s spending patterns before the separation
If you would like to speak with one of our lawyers regarding further issues related to this topic please contact us at (416) 840-1475 or schedule your free initial consultation here.