If you have the primary residence of your children, you are entitled to receive child support mandated under the Table Guidelines.
In addition to child support, Section 7 special or extraordinary expenses may also need to be paid. The Federal Child Support Guidelines allow for sharing Section 7 extraordinary or special expenses for children proportionate to the parties’ respective incomes.
Section 7 expenses can include medical expenses not covered through insurance, childcare expenses, post-secondary education, and extra-curricular activities such as sports.
What You Need to Know About Section 7 Expenses
The following are the first considerations of a Section 7 expense:
- It should be necessary for the child’s best interests.
- It should be reasonable in relation to the means of the parents and the child.
- It should also be reasonable in relation to the family’s spending pattern prior to separation.
A cell phone is typically not considered an extraordinary expense.
However, purchasing a cell phone for a child may be a special expense in certain situations. Still, it may be covered by the table amount of child support paid by a spouse in other situations.
The higher the child support, the more that can be covered by it. If there is not enough money to cover it under child support, it may be included in Section 7 expenses.
In Marunic v. Liberty, 2014 ONSC 957, Justice John Harper found that given a total family income of over $120,000 per year and the fact that the cell phones were used by the father to communicate with the children directly while in the mother’s care, because of poor communication between the parents, that the cell phone costs were special or extraordinary under section 7 of the Guidelines. The father was therefore required to pay a share of the costs.
In a shared parenting situation, parents will frequently agree that additional expenses such as cell phones are split either 50/50 or as a special expense. This must be agreed upon in advance of the expense being incurred.
Suppose this is an issue you are at odds with your ex about. In that case, it will make sense to reach a resolution through a mediator rather than bringing a matter such as this through the courts, which will cost you a significant amount of money. If your matter is anything like the above-noted case, you may be ordered to pay the cost regardless.