Contino v. Leonelli-Contino: It’s Impact on Child Support Guidelines in Alberta
On November 10, 2005 – the Supreme Court of Canada reviewed and advised on the Child Support Guidelines with respect to the calculation of child support in shared parenting situations. This precedent setting case is now relied upon by lawyers when disputes in shared custody cases and child support matters arise. In this decision, the Supreme Court of Canada attempts to lay the framework for Guidelines in calculating child support under section 9.
Contino v. Leonell-Contino Case Facts
In 1992, a couple separated and maintained joint custody of their son who primarily lived with his mother full-time. The father made an annual income of $87,000/year while the mother made an annual income of $68,000/year. Approximately 9 years after the date of separation – the father applied for an application to reduce his monthly child support payments pursuant to s. 9 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines. He did so on the basis that he and the mother were now sharing custody of the child and he now had more access to the child. While initially the judges agreed to reduce his monthly child support payments to $100/month – the divisional court set aside that decision and ordered the father to continue paying the full table amount of $688/month. The Court of Appeal then reduced that amount to $399/month after consideration of s. 9 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The mother then appealed this decision and took this matter to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The judges reviewed each part of s. 9 including the amounts set out in the child support tables for each of the spouses, the increased costs of shared custody arrangements as well as the conditions, means, needs and other circumstances of each spouse in this matter. They also reviewed the initial court orders and variations. The judges advised that there was no presumption in favour of the full table amount nor was there a presumption in favour of a reduction. The judge also advised against the “chill-effect” which refers to a situation where a slight increase in access can result in a massive reduction in child support. Essentially, the courts ruled that s. 9 needs to be interpreted in a way to avoid chill-effects. The judge also warned that we need to exercise caution when interpreting this section as it may encourage parents to prevent access beyond a certain threshold.
Edmonton Child Support Lawyers Serving all of Alberta
At Verhaeghe Law – our Edmonton child support lawyers have been helping clients across Alberta since the firm was founded. Our child support lawyers take an educational approach with our clients where we aim to educate our clients on the Child Support Guidelines and provide legal guidance on what’s best for the family unit. Contact our law firm today to speak directly with an Edmonton child support lawyer. If you book a consultation with us – a member of our legal team will be in touch with you within 24 hours to review your child support issue with you. Don’t delay and book a consultation with us today.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended to act as a general overview on a legal topic and does not constitute legal advice. If you require specific legal advice regarding child support legal issues in Alberta – then please consult with a child support lawyer or family lawyer for specific advice as it pertains to your specific situation.