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What will qualify as extraordinary expenses under family law?

When there are children involved in an Ontario divorce, the court will typically determine who will be responsible for child support and the amount that must be paid. However, under family law, any one of the parents may ask for extraordinary expenses in addition to the basic child support under Federal Guidelines. To qualify as such, expenses must be necessary for protecting the best interests of the child while also being reasonable -- considering the financial means of both parents and their lifestyle before they separated.

Examples of extraordinary expenses include those that may result from extra child-care costs due to a disability or illness. It could also be the child's portion of dental and medical insurance premiums or health-care needs in excess of the covered annual limit. Furthermore, any extra expenses related to additional educational programs and extracurricular activities may also qualify.

For educational and extracurricular activities to qualify as extraordinary expenses, the cost must exceed what the custodian parent can afford on his or her earnings and child support received. The number and nature of programs and activities will also be considered. Moreover, any special needs or talents that the child may have and other similar factors will play a role in the court's determination about requests for extraordinary expenses.

Ontario parents who are unsure about the Federal Guidelines for child support and whether it will be sufficient may get some answers from an experienced family law lawyer. The lawyer can assess the circumstances and the needs of the child to ensure the child's best interests remain the primary concern. The lawyer can also assist with evaluating needs for inclusion in extraordinary expense requests.

Source: justice.gc.ca, "The Federal Child Support Guidelines: Step-by-Step", Accessed on Sept. 13, 2017

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