The Supreme Court of Canada has reserved a ruling on a controversial child support ruling that may change the face of child support in Canada. When parents’ income changes, the child support they pay and receive is designed to change accordingly. In the past, that change has occurred only when one of the parents petitions a court and requests an adjustment. Now a “pilot project” in Alberta has made that adjustment automatic for some parents.
The child support payers – all fathers, and all facing massive debts because they made more money and didn’t adjust the support they were paying, are arguing that the change amounts to a massive transfer of wealth and will generate more conflict between parents.
The mothers argue that parents should pay for their children in relation to their ability to pay, period, and that the new approach will actually lessen conflict because it will give child support payers an incentive to make incremental adjustments as their income changes, with less drama.
As the result of yesterday’s decision not to decide, a definitive ruling on the principle of retroactive child support adjustments is probably several months away.