Section 7 Child Support Expenses

In Alberta, what are Section 7 Child Support Expenses?

BY SHAZIA UMER ON MARCH 31, 2022

Whether you're the payor or the recipient, it's important to know what Section 7 child support expenses cover and how they'll be factored into the overall child support equation.


Both Section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines and the Alberta Child Support Guidelines discuss child support expenses that are payable in addition to the monthly basic amount.


These payments are typically sent by one parent to the other to compensate for unusual or "extraordinary" expenses incurred during the child's upbringing.


This page explains what Section 7 child support costs include and how they are factored into the total child support computation.


What are the Alberta Section 7 expenses?


Standard child support covers the day-to-day expenses of raising a child, including food, clothes, transportation, etc.


Section 7 of the rules covers six primary sources of increased child support expenses. These are as follows:


Childcare expenses

If daycare or hiring a nanny expenditures are incurred, the payor parent must contribute to the after-tax charges.


University and college expenses

In Alberta, parents are required to pay for their children's tuition, books, and living expenses associated with a college or university education.


If the child lives at home while studying, a similar arrangement may be in place, but once the child reaches the age of 18, it is normal to expect him or her to pay to the associated living expenses or schooling fees. The remainder of the expenses are often split between the parents.


Extraordinary school fees

Extra charges may be incurred in conventional elementary or secondary school, in addition to university or college education expenses. Section 7 expenses include the costs of private tutoring or charter school tuition.


Healthcare requirements for the uninsured

If the payor's (or recipient's) insurance does not entirely cover the costs of a child's medical treatment, Section 7 child support expenses will be required to cover the difference.


Premiums for health insurance

Section 7 standards will also require payment of costs related with healthcare premiums meant to cover the child.


Extraordinary (or "extracurricular") costs

Extraordinary or extracurricular expenses are those incurred as a result of activities such as sports, extra classes, school trips, and so on.


Section 7 expenses are sometimes contested by the payor spouse, especially if it is argued that the recipient can afford to pay for the expenses without further support or that the extracurricular activity is not required or in the best interests of the child.


In Alberta, who pays what under Section 7?


The Federal Child Support Guidelines provide that each parent must contribute to Section 7 expenses incurred in raising a child.


The amount payable by each parent is decided by their individual incomes and is calculated proportionally to these incomes.


In Alberta, if the payor of child support has an income that is 50% greater than the recipient's income, he or she must pay 50% more in Section 7 costs.


In contrast, if both parents earn the same amount of money, the Section 7 expenses are distributed evenly between them.


Parents may also reach their own arrangement on cost-sharing by consent. If no agreement is reached, a Judge or Justice will make a decision. Depending on the specific circumstances, the court may even require parents to pay a different portion.


Are Section 7 costs required?

The key criterion of the court when evaluating whether a proposed Section 7 expense is necessary – as in other child support proceedings – is the best interest of the child.


For example, if the child has special needs that necessitate an expense for the child's growth or development, the expense is likely to be regarded a necessary Section 7 expense.


Every case is different and is handled differently depending on the facts and circumstances: what one family considers a necessary expense may not be for another.


Are the expenses of Section 7 "reasonable"?


Before a decision is reached, the ability of the parents to pay the expense, as well as the best interests of the kid, must be considered.


The court will consider the family's financial resources to determine if a Section 7 expense is "reasonable."


Before concluding the computations, judges will evaluate any subsidies, perks, or income tax deductions or credits related to the expense and available to the family. If the costs may be reduced in any manner, the court will normally strive to alleviate any potential financial strain on families.


Universal child care benefit


Β The court shall not consider any universal child care benefit or ability to claim that benefit in assessing the amount of section 7Β expenses.

Family spending patterns


The court will also consider the family's historical spending patterns when determining whether a cost might be considered a required Section 7 expense.


The goal of child support and Section 7 expenses is to keep the child's lifestyle as close to what it was before the parents separated as feasible. As a result, if a request is made for an excessive expense that is out of line with the family's previous spending habits and is not deemed necessary for the kid, the court may deny it.


An expense is more likely to be authorized if it is consistent with previous family spending trends.


As you can see, there are few hard and fast laws in Alberta when it comes to Section 7 child support expenses. Everything is handled on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the judge.


As a result, most parties seek the advice of a child support lawyer to help them defend their case and give the necessary supporting proof.


If you have any questions about section 7 expenses or any other child support issue in Alberta, contact Umer Law in Edmonton for a free consultation.

SHAZIA UMER

E: sumer@umerlaw.com

Note: Please keep in mind that everything in the law has exceptions. This material is not intended to be legal advice, and relying on it would be a poor idea. If you believe anything here pertains to you, you should speak with a lawyer to learn more.