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As mediators and arbitrators, we are frequently called upon to help parties resolve child support issues; in fact, along with parenting, this is likely the “bread and butter” of our work.

A recent case, a decision by an experienced family judge, Paulseth, J., from the Ontario Court of Justice, [Smith v. Max 2019 ONCJ 241], released on April 15, 2019, covers the basic issues in a clear, concise manner which provides a good model to follow.

After a lengthy period of litigation, the father asked the Court, by way of a motion to change, to reduce child support because his daughter wanted to spend more time with him. The particular facts of the case are not important but the way in which the judge writes about the issue is helpful.

When assessing the father’s income, the Court decides, even when the parties have adopted a pattern of convenience in using the previous year’s assessment to set current income, to use current income figures if known.

See Vanos v. Vanos [2016 ONCA 876 (Can LII)] 

In finding an appropriate amount of income for the self-employed mother, Paulseth, J. briefly sets out the law regarding various deductions and then adds-back income and grosses it up to arrive at a fair amount. The exercise is basic and clear.

Finally, Paulseth, J. reviews case law on whether certain gifts from grandparents to a parent should be classified as income or not.



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