Obtaining Reliable and Repeatable SSAG Calculations

5. The Child With Support Formulas

The with child support formulas apply when one or both parties have children qualifying as “children of the marriage” within the meaning of the Divorce Act,[40] whether or not child support is being paid or is being paid in the amount prescribed by the Child Support Guidelines.

The basic with child support formula is designed to leave the recipient with 40 percent to 46 percent of the parties’ combined individual net disposable incomes, payable for a period of time based on the length of cohabitation or the school status of the last or youngest child. Two variants of the basic formula apply in situations or where the parties have split custody or shared custody, and a slight modification of the basic with child support formula applies where the payor is a step-parent to the children.

Two other versions of the with child support formula apply where the payor has the children’s primary residence or all children are dependent adults receiving child support in an amount determined under s. 3(2)(b) of the Child Support Guidelines. Unlike the shared custody and split custody variants of the basic with child support formula, these hybrid formulas rely on a length-of-relationship test to determine quantum rather than on dividing the parties’ individual net disposable incomes.

5.1 The Basic Formula

The basic with child support formula will be used in most circumstances where the parties have children. It is designed to calculate the amount of spousal support payable where the payor pays both spousal support and child support to the recipient. SSAG §8.3

5.1.1 Required Information

The information required to perform this calculation is:

  • Payor’s Gross Income, determined in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines
  • Amount of Payor’s Child Support Payments, where the amount paid differs from the Guidelines table amount
  • Recipient’s Gross Income, determined in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines
  • Available Credits, Benefits and Deductions
  • Amount of Parties’ Contributions to Special Expenses
  • Age of Recipient
  • Length of Cohabitation, calculated from date of marriage to date of separation, plus any period of cohabitation before marriage
  • Age and Place of Residence of all Children
  • Time until Youngest Child Enters School or Time until Last or Youngest Child Leaves School, calculated bearing in mind any known delays or advances in these dates

5.1.2 Formula Structure

In this formula, the calculation for quantum is designed to leave the recipient with 40 to 46 percent of the parties’ combined individual net disposable incomes, net of all taxes, deductions, benefits and credits, including those relating to the payment and receipt of spousal support. SSAG §8.3.2

Duration is initially indefinite, duration not specified however the formula generates a range for duration which can be used to shape the issue through subsequent processes of review and variation. The range for duration is determined by selecting the longest results from two tests for the low end and two tests for the high end; the longest result from each becomes the low end of the range and the high end of the range for the duration of spousal support. SSAG §§8.5, 8.5.4

Quantum

Payments range from the amount that would leave the recipient with 40 percent (low end of the range) to 46 percent (high end of the range) of the parties’ combined individual net disposable incomes. SSAG §8.3.2

NOTE: The proper accounting of the parties’ contributions to any special expenses is critical to the calculation of quantum under the Advisory Guidelines and is often overlooked.

Duration

The range for duration is the range between the longest of the results produced by the low range tests and the longest of the results produced by the high range tests. SSAG §8.5.4

The low end of the range tests are:

  1. 0.5 years per year of cohabitation
  2. the length of time until the youngest child enters full-time school

    NOTE: Where the youngest child is in school at the date of separation, the applicable test will be 0.5 years per year of cohabitation.

The high end of the range tests are:

  1. 1.0 years per year of cohabitation
  2. the length of time until the last or youngest child finishes school

The maximum duration spousal support will be payable for is indefinite, duration not specified when:

  1. the length of cohabitation is greater than five years and the length of cohabitation plus the age of the recipient is greater than or equal to 65; or,
  2. the length of cohabitation is twenty or more years.

NOTE: Duration is to include any period in which support or its equivalent was paid on an interim basis pending a final determination of the issue. In other words, the number of months during which interim support or its equivalent was paid should be deducted from the results produced by the formula for duration. SSAG §5.3

5.2 The Shared Custody Formula

The shared custody with child support formula should be used where the parties have shared custody within the meaning of s. 9 of the Child Support Guidelines. This formula should be used whenever the parties have shared custody, whether the payor is paying child support calculated using the customary set-off or another method. CSG s. 9; SSAG §8.6

This formula is identical to the basic with child support formula, save that the full table amount of child support is deducted from the incomes of both parties in determining their individual net disposable incomes.[41]

5.2.1 Required Information

The information required to perform this calculation is:

  • Payor’s Gross Income, determined in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines
  • Amount of Payor’s Child Support Payments, where the amount paid is different than the unadjusted Guidelines table amount
  • Recipient’s Gross Income, determined in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines
  • Available Credits, Benefits and Deductions, and whether these benefits are being rotated between the parties
  • Amount of Parties’ Contributions to Special Expenses
  • Age of Recipient
  • Length of Cohabitation, calculated from date of marriage to date of separation, plus any period of cohabitation before marriage
  • Age of all Children
  • Time until Youngest Child Enters School or Time until Last or Youngest Child Leaves School, calculated bearing in mind any known delays or advances in these dates

5.2.2 Formula Structure

In this formula, the calculation for quantum is designed to leave the recipient with 40 to 46 percent of the parties’ combined individual net disposable incomes, net of all taxes, deductions, benefits and credits, including those relating to the payment and receipt of spousal support, and the full table amount of child support. SSAG §8.6

Duration is initially indefinite, duration not specified, however the formula generates a range for duration which can be used to shape the issue through subsequent processes of review and variation. The range for duration is determined by selecting the longest results from two tests for the low end of the range and two tests for the high end of the range; the longest result from each becomes the low end of the range and the high end of the range for the duration of spousal support. SSAG §8.6

Quantum

Payments range from the amount that would leave the recipient with 40 percent (low range) to 46 percent (high range) of the parties’ combined individual net disposable incomes. The full table amount of child support must be deducted from each party’s income in calculating individual net disposable income, and the formula has been adjusted to include within the range an award of spousal support that would wb-eqht the parties’ net disposable incomes after the payment of child and spousal support SSAG §§8.6, 8.6.3

NOTE: The Advisory Guidelines software must be adjusted where the parties or the CRA have decided to rotate the CCTB, UCCB and the child-related portion of the GST/HST Credit between the parties. SSAG §8.6.1

NOTE: The payment of child support in an amount higher than the set-off approach is a factor which should be considered in determining the appropriate amount of spousal support payable within the ranges. SSAG §8.6.2

Duration

The range for duration is the range between the longest of the results produced by the low end of the range tests and the longest of the results produced by the high end of the range tests. SSAG §§8.5.4, 8.6

The low end of the range tests are:

  1. 0.5 years per year of cohabitation
  2. the length of time until the youngest child enters full-time school

    NOTE: Where the youngest child is in school at the date of separation, the applicable test will be 0.5 years per year of cohabitation.

The high end of the range tests are:

  1. 1.0 years per year of cohabitation
  2. the length of time until the last or youngest child finishes school

The maximum duration spousal support will be payable for is indefinite, duration not specified when:

  1. the length of cohabitation is greater than five years and the length of cohabitation plus the age of the recipient is greater than or equal to 65; or,
  2. the length of cohabitation is twenty or more years.

NOTE: Duration is to include any period in which support or its equivalent was paid on an interim basis pending a final determination of the issue. In other words, the number of months during which interim support or its equivalent was paid should be deducted from the results produced by the formula for duration. SSAG §5.3

5.3 The Split Custody Formula

The split custody with child support formula should be used where each of the parties has the primary residence of one or more children of the marriage as defined by s. 8 of the Child Support Guidelines. This formula should be used whenever the parties have split custody, whether the payor is paying child support in the set-off amount prescribed by the Guidelines or another amount. CSG s. 8; SSAG §8.7

This formula is similar to the basic with child support formula, save that from each party’s individual net disposable income is deducted:

  1. a notional table amount of child support for the children in the care of the party; plus,
  2. the actual table amount of child support technically payable in respect of the children in the care of the other party.

5.3.1 Required Information

The information required to perform this calculation is:

  • Payor’s Gross Income, determined in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines
  • Recipient’s Gross Income, determined in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines
  • Available Credits, Benefits and Deductions
  • Amount of Parties’ Contributions to Special Expenses
  • Age of Recipient
  • Length of Cohabitation, calculated from date of marriage to date of separation, plus any period of cohabitation before marriage
  • Age of all Children
  • Time until Youngest Child Enters School or Time until Last or Youngest Child Leaves School, calculated bearing in mind any known delays or advances in these dates

5.3.2 Formula Structure

In this formula, the calculation for quantum is designed to leave the recipient with 40 to 46 percent of the parties’ combined individual net disposable incomes, net of all taxes, deductions, benefits and credits, including those relating to the payment and receipt of spousal support, and double the full table amount of child support. SSAG §8.7

Duration is initially indefinite, duration not specified, however the formula generates a range for duration which can be used to shape duration through subsequent processes of review and variation. The range for duration is determined by selecting the longest results from two tests for the low end of the range and two tests for the high end of the range. The longest test from each becomes the low end of the range and the high end of the range for the duration of spousal support. SSAG §8.7

Quantum

Payments range from the amount that would leave the recipient with 40 percent (low end of the range) to 46 percent (high end of the range) of the parties’ combined individual net disposable incomes. A notional amount of child support for the children in the care of the party plus the actual table amount of child support for the children in the care of the other party must be deducted from each party’s income in calculating individual net disposable income. SSAG §8.7

Duration

The range for duration is the range between the longest of the results produced by the low end of the range tests and the longest of the results produced by the high end of the range tests. SSAG §§8.5.4, 8.7

The low end of the range tests are:

  1. 0.5 years per year of cohabitation
  2. the length of time until the youngest child enters full-time school

    NOTE: Where the youngest child is in school at the date of separation, the applicable test will be 0.5 years per year of cohabitation.

The high end of the range tests are:

  1. 1.0 years per year of cohabitation
  2. the length of time until the last or youngest child finishes school

The maximum duration spousal support will be payable for is indefinite, duration not specified when:

  1. the length of cohabitation is greater than five years and the length of cohabitation plus the age of the recipient is greater than or equal to 65; or,
  2. the length of cohabitation is twenty or more years.

    NOTE: Duration is to include any period in which support or its equivalent was paid on an interim basis pending a final determination of the issue. In other words, the number of months during which interim support or its equivalent was paid should be deducted from the results produced by the formula for duration. SSAG §5.3

5.4 Step-Children

In cases where the payor is a step-parent to some or all children of the marriage, the basic, shared custody or split custody with child support formulas will apply to determine the amount and duration of spousal support as usual, subject to two modifications. SSAG §8.8

  1. The full Guidelines table amount of child support is deducted from the payor’s income, whether or not the actual amount paid is a lower amount determined under CSG s. 5.
  2. Where the parties’ relationship was short and the payor is a step-parent to all of the children, the low end of the range for duration should generally be used.

5.5 The Custodial Payor Formula

The custodial payor formula should be used where spousal support is to be paid by the party with the children’s primary residence, whether or not the party receiving spousal support is actually paying child support. SSAG §8.9

This hybrid formula, based on the with child support formula, requires the deduction of the grossed up table amount of notional child support, plus the grossed up amount of any contributions to the children’s special expenses, from the payor’s gross income and the deduction of the grossed-up table amount of child support, plus any contributions to the children’s expenses, from the recipient’s gross income. SSAG §8.9

5.5.1 Required Information

The information required to perform this calculation is:

  • Payor’s Gross Income, determined in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines
  • Recipient’s Gross Income, determined in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines
  • Amount of Recipient’s Child Support Payments, where the amount paid is different from the Guidelines tables amount
  • Available Credits, Benefits and Deductions relating to the children’s special expenses
  • Amount of Parties’ Contributions to Special Expenses
  • Age of Recipient
  • Length of Cohabitation, calculated from date of marriage to date of separation, plus any period of cohabitation before marriage

5.5.2 Formula Structure

The formula for quantum is based on the parties’ gross incomes, less a grossed up amount of child support attributed to each party. SSAG §8.9

Duration in this formula is based on the length of the time the parties lived together, including any periods of cohabitation prior to the marriage. SSAG §8.9

Quantum
Payments range from 1.5 percent (low end of the range) to 2.0 percent (high end of the range) of the difference between the parties’ adjusted gross incomes per year of cohabitation. SSAG §8.9

The maximum amount payable is reached when length of cohabitation reaches 25 years, 37.5 percent (low end of the range) of the adjusted gross income difference to 50 percent (high end of the range). The high end of the range for amount may be limited at a lower amount as a result of the “equalization of net income cap” which will ensure that the recipient will not receive an amount of support that would leave him or her with more than 50 percent of the parties’ net disposable income. SSAG §§8.9

Duration

Spousal support will be payable for a length of time equal to 0.5 years (low end of the range) to 1.0 years (high end of the range) per year of cohabitation. SSAG §8.9

The maximum duration spousal support will be payable for is indefinite, duration not specified when:

  1. the length of cohabitationis greater than five years and the length of cohabitation plus the age of the recipient is greater than or equal to 65; or,
  2. the length of cohabitationis twenty or more years.

    NOTE: Duration is to include any period in which support or its equivalent was paid on an interim basis pending a final determination of the issue. In other words, the number of months during which interim support or its equivalent was paid should be deducted from the results produced by the formula for duration. SSAG §5.3

    NOTE: The Advisory Guidelines allow an exception to extend the calculation of duration, and possibly the calculation of quantum, under the custodial payor formula where the parties’ relationship was shorter and the children are younger where the exception is necessary to assist the recipient of spousal support in fulfilling his or her parenting role. SSAG §12.9

5.6 The Adult Children Formula

The adult children formula applies only where all children of the marriage are at or above the age of majority and child support is wholly determined under s. 3(2)(b) of the Child Support Guidelines. This formula should not be used if there are any children for whom support is being paid under ss. 3(1) or (2)(a) of the Guidelines. SSAG §8.10

This hybrid formula, based on the with child support formula, requires the deduction of the grossed up amounts each party actually contributes to the support of the children, however the amount of support is determined, from the gross incomes of each party.

5.6.1 Required Information

The information required to perform this calculation is:

  • Payor’s Gross Income, determined in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines
  • Amount of Payor’s Contributions to the Children’s Support
  • Recipient’s Gross Income, determined in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines
  • Amount of Recipient’s Contributions to the Children’s Support
  • Available Credits, Benefits and Deductions relating to the children’s special expenses
  • Age of Recipient
  • Length of Cohabitation, calculated from date of marriage to date of separation, plus any period of cohabitation before marriage

5.6.2 Formula Structure

In this formula, quantum is based on the parties’ gross incomes less the amount of each party’s actual contributions to the children’s support. SSAG §8.10

Duration is based on the length of the time the parties lived together, including any periods of cohabitation prior to the marriage. SSAG §8.10

Quantum

This formula requires the adjustment of the parties’ gross incomes to subtract the grossed up amount of each party’s actual contributions to the children’s support.

Payments range from 1.5 percent (low end of the range) to 2.0 percent (high end of the range) of the difference between the parties’ adjusted gross incomes per year of cohabitation. SSAG §8.10

The maximum amount payable is reached when length of cohabitation reaches 25 years, 37.5 percent (low end of the range) of the adjusted gross income difference to 50 percent (high end of the range). The high end of the range for amount may be limited at a lower amount as a result of the “equalization of net income cap” which will ensure that the recipient will not receive an amount of support that would leave him or her with more than 50 percent of the parties’ net disposable income. SSAG §8.10

Duration

Spousal support will be payable for a length of time equal to 0.5 years (low end of the range) to 1.0 years (high end of the range) per year of cohabitation. SSAG §8.10

The maximum duration spousal support will be payable for is indefinite, duration not specified when:

  1. the length of cohabitationis greater than five years and the length of cohabitation plus the age of the recipient is greater than or equal to 65; or,
  2. the length of cohabitationis twenty or more years.

    NOTE: Duration is to include any period in which support or its equivalent was paid on an interim basis pending a final determination of the issue. In other words, the number of months during which interim support or its equivalent was paid should be deducted from the results produced by the formula for duration. SSAG §5.3

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