Shared custody, where each parent has the child for at least 40% of the time over the course of a year, can affect the amount of child support in Ontario. Under Section 9 of the Child Support Guidelines, the court has the discretion to deviate from the table amounts of child support in shared custody situations.

The court will consider the following factors:

  1. The amounts set out in the applicable tables for each of the parents or spouses;
  2. The increased costs of shared parenting time arrangements; and
  3. The conditions, means, needs and other circumstances of each parent or spouse and of any child for whom support is sought.

This means the court will look at the actual spending patterns of the parents in relation to the child, the increased costs associated with shared custody, and the financial circumstances of each parent.

In shared custody situations, the court often uses a “set-off” method to calculate child support. This involves calculating what each parent would owe the other under the Guidelines if they were the non-custodial parent, and then subtracting the smaller amount from the larger. This results in one parent paying the other the difference. However, the court has the discretion to order a different amount if it finds that the set-off amount would be inappropriate given the circumstances.

The goal of child support is to ensure that the child’s standard of living is similar in both households, and that the financial burden of raising the child is shared fairly and equally between the parents.