What circumstances will justify child support variation requests?
When parents file for divorce, they become ex-spouses, but they will never be ex-parents. Their responsibilities to their children remain, and that is why the court orders one parent to pay child support. However, over the years following a divorce, the circumstances of both parents can change, and so can the needs of the children. For this reason, it is common for divorced parents in Ontario to petition the court for variation or modification of child support.
However, the parent petitioning the court will have to provide adequate motivation to support the need for child support variation. The court will revisit the original child support order and look at the conditions surrounding its drafting. It will also examine the financial circumstances of the parents at the time of the divorce.
Material changes in the conditions of parents that may justify child support variation include loss of employment, serious illness and more. However, temporary problems may bring about a temporary variation in the support orders. If a guardian parent suffers permanent disability, the court may increase the child support order, and if the payer becomes disabled, the court-ordered amount may decrease. If the paying parent’s financial circumstances improve significantly, and the other parent struggles to take proper care of the children on the current amount of child support, variation may be petitioned for an increase.
Whatever an Ontario family court decides concerning requests for child support modifications, the decisions of the court will always be in the children’s best interests. Without full knowledge of the court’s criteria for child support variation, petitioning the court may be a challenging process. For this reason, many parents choose to seek the help of an experienced family law lawyer who can assess the circumstances and assist with establishing proof of material hardship to motivate a petition to the court.