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Child support is a critical aspect of family law, ensuring that children’s financial needs are met even after a parental relationship ends. In Alberta, the legal framework surrounding child support is robust, designed to protect the best interests of the child while providing clarity and fairness to parents. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the key aspects of child support in Alberta, covering guidelines, calculations, enforcement, and more.

Understanding Child Support Guidelines:

In Alberta, child support is primarily governed by the Federal Child Support Guidelines, which provide a standardized framework for determining the amount of support owed based on the paying parent’s income and the number of children involved. These guidelines aim to ensure consistency and fairness in child support orders across the province.

Calculating Child Support:

Calculating child support in Alberta typically involves determining the paying parent’s gross income and applying the appropriate percentage outlined in the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines specify different percentages based on the number of children requiring support, ranging from 1 child to 5 or more children.

The Government provides a child support calculator online here.

Deviation from Guidelines:

While the Federal Child Support Guidelines offer a standard formula for calculating child support, there are situations where deviation may be warranted. Factors such as shared parenting arrangements, special expenses related to the child’s education or healthcare, and the paying parent’s financial circumstances may justify adjustments to the guideline amount.

Enforcement Mechanisms:

Enforcing child support orders is critical to ensure that children receive the financial support they need. In Alberta, several enforcement mechanisms are in place to compel compliance with child support obligations. The primary mechanism is the Maintenance Enforcement Program (“MEP”), which is a government run organization designed to ensure the payment of both child and spousal support. Non-payment of support through MEP can result in the suspension of the non-payor’s license and passport as well as garnishing wages and the placement of a lien on property.

Modification of Child Support Orders:

Child support orders are not set in stone and can be modified under certain circumstances. If there is a significant change in either parent’s financial situation or if the child’s needs evolve, either parent can apply to the court for a variation of the child support order. It’s essential to seek legal advice when considering a modification to ensure that your rights and obligations are protected.

Role of Lawyers and Mediators:

Navigating child support matters can be complex, especially when emotions are involved. Seeking the assistance of a family law lawyer or mediator can help parents understand their rights and obligations, negotiate agreements, and resolve disputes amicably. These professionals can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the process, ensuring that the best interests of the child remain paramount.


Child support plays a vital role in ensuring that children’s financial needs are met following the breakdown of a parental relationship. In Alberta, the legal framework surrounding child support is comprehensive, with guidelines, enforcement mechanisms, and resources in place to assist parents in navigating this complex terrain. By understanding their rights and obligations, seeking legal guidance when needed, and prioritizing the best interests of their children, parents can work together to provide the support and stability that children deserve.