Determining Income for Child Support in Ontario

Generally, the parent who spends less time caring for the children has an obligation to pay child support to the parent who spends more time caring for the children. The quantum of support is determined based on annual income. In some cases, calculating annual income is a tricky task and the Court is called upon to impute income, i.e. make a well-reasoned guess as to what the payor actually earns or is capable of earning.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice dealt with this very matter in the recent case of Siddiqui v. Siddiqui, 2015 ONSC 6544. Mom sought an order imputing dad’s income at $50,000.00, resulting in a monthly child support payment of $743. Dad argued his income should not be imputed and his obligation should remain $232.

In its analysis, the Court opined that there is reluctance to impute income on an interim basis without sufficient evidence and where credibility is in issue. The Court lacked sufficient evidence to impute dad’s income at $50,000.00 but, on looking at his qualifications, found no explanation as to why he cannot earn more than $16,000.00 and change. In the Court’s view, it was reasonable to expect dad to earn at least $20,000.00, resulting in a monthly obligation of $306.

The key for family lawyers is not to be afraid to ask the court to impute income when it looks like the payor is capable of earning more.

Jeffrey L. Hartman 

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