How to Calculate Shared Custody Percentage and Payments in Ontario

How to Calculate Shared Custody Percentage and Payments in Ontario

There are many ways to calculate shared custody percentage in accordance with Ontario laws. Factors that will determine the percentage of shared custody each parent has include:

  • The number of hours the child spends with the parent.
  • The number of days the child spends with the parent.
  • If the parent can add the number of hours the child spends in school or activities as part of their parenting time.
  • The percentage of custody that the child has with each parent throughout the year.

How the court calculates parenting time

Parenting time is calculated by the court in hours or days. In cases where there is a serious dispute of exactly what percentage of time a child spends with a parent, the court shall look at hours. Parenting time can begin when the child attends school or an activity. For instance, if the parent is responsible for picking up the child in school, their parenting time starts from the time the child is dropped off at school.

In amicable situations, the parents can cooperate on how to take care of their children when the other parent is not available. For instance, you may have a written child custody arrangement with your ex to have the children in your care 30% of the time only to have them with you 40% of the time because the other parent asks you to take care of the children when he/she is ill or needs to work extra hours.

You may have the judge reduce your child support payments if you are spending more than 40% of the time with your child. Given that you’re having the children over more than 40% of the time, you may be catering to their expenses such as food, shelter, and transportation. Paying the full amount of child support in such a case may not be fair, and the judge may consider reducing this amount.

However, there are parents who have used the 40% concept to withhold the children from the other parent and to obtain more child support. Others have abused it to avoid paying child support.

How can you prove to have children in your care more than 40% of your time?

To reduce your child support payments, you must prove to the judge that you have the children more than 40% of the time over a duration of a full year. We encourage parents to maintain a log recording the number of hours or full days that the children stay with them over the year. You can attach the log to your affidavit that swears the information provided is true.

There are cases where the other parent may dispute your calculation. Think of ways to prove them, such as a new partner or have the children confirm your calculations. Keep in mind that the judge may still order you to make full child support payments even if you prove that you have the children in your care for more than 40% of the time. It could happen because the court considers the conditions, means, and other circumstances of each spouse and the children who require support. For instance, if one parent is earning a healthy income and the other is not working or is going to school, the court may still order the parent to pay full child custody even if the children are in your care for more than 40% of the time.

How to reduce child support payments in shared custody situations

You may need to provide additional information to show that by having the children for more than 40% of the time, the cost of their care has become significant, and you are spending more on the added expenses for having to take care of them. You will need to show receipts of money spent on food, shelter, clothing, and transportation while you still have to pay full child support to the other parent. When itemizing the expenses and showing them to the court, make sure you do not exaggerate them.

You will also need to show the judge that your current income is not sufficient to pay for full child support, have the children at your care and cater to your personal expenses. To do this, you need to show that there would be an income deficit if you will still be required to pay the full amount of child support.