My Ex-Wife Wants Too Much Support for Our Child

This is a common complaint among spouses paying child support.

“My ex-wife is claiming child support. I think the amount she wants is too much. Can I argue that she shouldn’t get so much?”

First, and most importantly, child support is for the care and comfort of your child and that is how the Court will look at it. We all know there are custodial parents who spend the child support money on alcohol or V.L.T.s, however as long as it falls short of neglect, there isn’t really much mileage to be had in arguing. If the custodial parent is unfit, the argument is for a change in custody, or primary care and control as it is now called. You can’t penalize the parent by penalizing the child.

Under the present system, both Federally, under the Divorce Act, and under Provincial legislation, child support is set according to tables. It is pretty much a matter of determining the payor spouse’s income and the number of children, then looking up the amount on the child support table for Manitoba. It is possible to argue hardship and also to argue for contributions to exceptional expenses, but successful arguments based upon these provisions are fairly rare.

In addition, enforcement of support orders by the government is much more rigorous now than in the past. It is important therefore to keep making payments unless and until they are changed or cancelled by a further Order of the Court.

“My ex- won’t allow me to have access to our children, can I stop support payments?”

No. Not only do Courts view child support as for the benefit of your children, they also view access as a right of your children to get to know both parents. As a result, Courts have consistently refused to tie the two together. It wouldn’t make sense to penalize your children for something your ex- is doing.

If you are having trouble exercising access, the appropriate response is to bring a Court application for specified periods of access.