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Family law and special expenses for children of divorce

When Ontario couples divorce, clean breaks from each other are typically only possible when there are no children involved. Family law will keep divorced parents linked through their children for as long as the children are minors. Although child support is typically a court-ordered amount, as children grow older, there will always be special expenses that must be considered.

Expenses that might not have been included in the calculation of child support at the time of the divorce can consist of tuition at a private school and sports and school uniforms. There may also be medical fees, orthodontic bills and various extracurricular activities. Any of these that were excluded from the court-ordered child support must be treated as special expenses.

Each parent will be responsible for a portion of these expenses, typically determined by the allocated parenting time of each parent. The annual income of each parent will also be considered. Parents can negotiate the manner in which they will share these costs, and if they struggle to resolve the issue, a mediator might help.

Any Ontario parent who finds it impossible to negotiate a suitable agreement with an ex-spouse may find it helpful to seek the support of an experienced family law professional. A lawyer can arrange mediation if necessary, and if there is no possibility of resolving the issue, the court may have to make a ruling. The judge will consider the child's need for the service or item in question as well as each parent's ability to afford it before making a decision.

Source:, "Reisa Khalifa: Children's special expenses", Reisa Khalifa, Accessed on Oct. 11, 2017

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