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Calculating child support and parenting time totals in Alberta

Divorcing parents struggle with the process on many levels. From dividing debts to dividing assets to determining a parenting time schedule that works for all parties, a divorce generally includes heated and often emotional negotiations. Fortunately, Alberta has adopted Child Support Guidelines that can take much of the stress out of the proceedings.

With the guidelines in place, many divorcing couples can use them as a starting point for various negotiations. These guidelines can focus heavily on income, but can be revised based on factors including:

  • Childcare expenses
  • Extracurricular expenses
  • Expenses associated with special needs care

Amendments are made to the Child Support Guidelines on a regular basis. They serve to keep it updated and accurate for the time. While federal guidelines contain basic custody laws and child support tables, provincial guidelines can include unique amendments that relate directly to the province. Alberta, for example, differs from the Canadian federal guidelines in five ways.

  1. Under certain circumstances, the case is managed under the federal guidelines for child support. Namely, if the parents are married, filing for divorce and both currently live in the province.
  2. Conversely, if the parents are separating rather than divorcing – or if the parents were never married – the case would then fall under Alberta’s provincial guidelines.
  3. The Alberta provincial guidelines vary from other provinces and territories due to the varying cost of living.
  4. Child support collection procedures are outlined in the Alberta Family Law documents. Additionally, Alberta’s child support forms are unique to this province.
  5. The age of majority in several provinces is set at 18. Alberta, however, considers the age of majority to be 19.

It is important to work with an experienced family law lawyer from start to finish in your divorce or separation. The accurate calculation of child support as well as a beneficial agreement to a parenting time schedule can be a complex negotiation. It is wise to follow the guidance of a legal professional.

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