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How is child support calculated in Alberta?

Supporting a child after parental divorce or separation is a responsibility for every parent. Unfortunately, this issue can become quite contentious when parents disagree on how much child support should be.

If you are a parent going through a breakup and facing the possibility of paying child support, you should know that there are guidelines to help Alberta parents estimate how much this payment will be.

General guidelines

Parents should first understand that child support is not a means of punishing a parent by making them pay some penalty. The financial contribution by the paying parent is to acknowledge and preserve a child's well-being. 

With this in mind, know that Federal Child Support Guidelines can help determine the amount a parent may need to pay. To estimate payments, you should know:

  • How many children a parent is paying for
  • In which province or country each parent lives
  • What one or both parents' annual income is before taxes

This information will dictate how much a parent can expect to pay. You can get an idea of how much a child support order may be by visiting the Department of Justice's child support table look-up website.

Special circumstances and exceptions

The table can only give you an estimate of how much a parent may pay. To get a more precise calculation, you must also consider any special circumstances that may apply in your case.

For instance, does your child have significant medical expenses? Are there extraordinary education-related expenses? These and other financial demands that are necessary and in a child's best interests can affect how much a parent may pay.

Another factor to examine is how parents spent money on a child prior to divorce or separation. These spending patterns could mean that higher support payments would be reasonable. 

Calculating support in your case

This information can give you a good idea of how much your child support payments will be. 

However, every case is different. As such, it is crucial to examine each situation individually. Further, calculations can vary based on whether parents agree on child support themselves or if the matter goes to the courts.

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