What is child support, and why do I have to pay it?

little boy sharing his ice cream with a little girl

Parents must support their dependent children financially. Child support is the money you contribute to your dependent child’s financial well-being. 

A child is considered dependent if:

  • They are under the age of majority (age 18) and still in a parent’s care.
  • They are over the age of majority (age 18) but can’t live independently because they are in post-secondary school, living with an illness or disability, or for another reason. 

The Federal Child Support Guidelines show what each parent needs to pay towards supporting their children. Judges usually use these guidelines when they are making a decision about child support.  

Remember, child support is not money for the other parent (ie., spousal support). The money is for the well-being of your child.

There are free resources to help you with child support. 

  • Child Support Guidelines Officers | Provides free information about child support guidelines, court forms, and court processes. Officers also support people in applying for child support orders, changing an existing child support order or agreement, and more.
  • Recalculation Officer | Provides free annual recalculation of child support if you have a child support order or agreement that provides for yearly recalculation.
  • Maintenance Enforcement Program | Free management of registered child and spousal support payments.