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Many parents ask, “What is Guideline Income?” When trying to understand while Child Support in Alberta.

Simply put: Guideline income is the baseline used for calculating child support payments. It is typically based on the ‘paying’ parent’s gross annual income (or their reported income from all sources).

Here is a more thorough explanation of Guideline Income and Child Support

In Alberta, child support is the right of the child, and is ascertained by using parties’ guideline incomes to ensure the appropriate financial support for children post separation or divorce. Guideline income, the baseline for calculating child support payments, is typically the paying parent’s gross annual income from all sources like employment, investments, and pensions. It’s vital for the paying parent to provide accurate income details for precise guideline income determination.

The Federal Child Support Guidelines, which is the governing Act for child support in Canada, utilize a formula based on guideline income and the number of supported children to determine child support payments.

At Hayher Lee, we recommend for parents to collaborate on accurately calculating guideline income to ensure fair support for their children. If a paying parent’s income changes significantly, a review of child support payments can be requested to adjust payments accordingly.

Frequently we’ll be asked what happen to Child Support when income fluctuates?

Guideline income can be based on an income average over a specified period for paying parents with fluctuating income.

Deductions like income tax and union dues are subtracted to arrive at the guideline income. Windfalls or irregular income may also be factored in, with the court occasionally imputing income based on earning capacity. The seminal case for imputing a party’s income in Alberta comes from the Alberta Court of Appeal: Peters v Atchooay, 2022 ABCA 347.

Section 10 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines sets out a list of additional considerations that may be factored in when calculating a party’s guideline income and setting the appropriate amount of child support.

It is important that both parents understand their obligations when it comes to the financial support of their children

By understanding how guideline income is calculated and its impact on child support, parents can understand their obligation regarding financial support for their children post-separation or divorce.

Regularly reassessing guideline income and adjusting child support payments as needed will help maintain fairness and appropriateness in supporting the children involved.

Child Support and Divorce Law is a complex matter that needs to be done right. Should you have further questions or need to speak with a lawyer, please contact the author or the firm.