Child support is governed by the Federal Child Support Guidelines and is calculated based upon your parenting arrangements and earnings. Unfortunately, widespread layoffs and temporary closures are impacting Albertans across the province, making child support payments all the more important. Temporary court closures mean that applications for child support or variations in child support are not available at this time and payors and recipients are equally concerned about how they will continue to care for their children until COVID-19 is under control. Despite the severe economic changes we are currently experiencing, child support remains payable. If you are a child support payer or recipient, consider the following recommendations:
- Communicate your current employment status to the other parent. If you have been laid off or are experiencing a reduction in hours tell the other parent! Provide proof of your current income as soon as it becomes available, including but not limited to:
- Your record of employment (ROE);
- Termination letter;
- Employer correspondence regarding reduced or revised hours;
- Pay stubs reflecting the change in your income; and,
- Confirmation of all government benefits you will be receiving and the schedule of such payments.
- Politely request that child support be temporarily revised to reflect your current employment status. Recalculate your child support and provide recalculated amounts to the other parent using the free child support calculator available here: https://www.childsupportcalculator.ca/alberta.html#calculator
- Be flexible – if the payor needs to make child support payments in additional installments or modify the payment dates try to accommodate these requests so far as practicably possible.
- Keep a paper trail – Save all communications, child support calculations, and records of payment to ensure any overpayment or underpayment can be addressed in the future.
- If you are a child support recipient who is registered to receive child support through the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) log on to your MEP Online Account. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you will be able to modify your child support arrangements yourself without a court order. For any questions related to MEP or your MEP online account refer to the following: https://www.alberta.ca/mep-latest-news.aspx
If you wish to obtain legal advice regarding your child support, Roxanne Seekins, West Legal’s family law lawyer is currently booking telephone consultations and is happy to assist you through this challenging time.