May a payor reduce their child support obligation because they are living in a location with a high cost of living and the children are living in a location with a lower cost of living?

A payor parent may not reduce their child support owed because they are living in a location with a high cost of living.

Section 19 of the Child Support Guidelines outlines the situations in which a court may impute income to a spouse.  Section 19(c) of the Child Support Guidelines states that a court may impute income to a spouse if “the spouse lives in a country that has effective rates of income tax that are significantly lower than those in Canada”. McGouran v Connelly, 2006 CanLII 7668 (ONCA) has held that section 19 of the Child Support Guidelines allows a court to impute more income to a payor spouse, but not to impute less.  Furthermore, section 19(c) applies only to spouses who live in countries with income tax rates significantly lower than those in Canada.  It does not apply to situations where a spouse lives in a country with higher cost of living than that in Canada.

Additionally, section 20 of the Child Support Guidelines states that “Subject to subsection (2), where a spouse is a non-resident of Canada, the spouse’s annual income is determined as though the spouse were a resident of Canada.”

To learn more about child support, contact Krol & Krol at 905.707.3370.