Beyond monthly child support: who pays for the dentist and soccer?

Author: Calgary Family Lawyer Amanda Marsden

When parents separate they learn fairly quickly that there are two types of child support in Canada. These types of support are called section 3 and section 7 child support. These sections refer to different sections of the Child Support Guidelines.

Section 3 child support is the monthly amount that a parent pays to the parent who has most of the time with the children. This amount is calculated by using the Child Support Guidelines tables which are referred to in section 3 of the Guidelines.

Section 7 child support is paid to cover expenses that are not expected to be covered by section 3 child support. Determining what will be included as a section 7 expense depends on the lifestyle of the family before separation and the reasonableness of the expense. Typically, expenses that are considered section 7 expenses include:

  • College and University Expenses: See our blog, Not so far from the nest: Children in University and Child Support, for more information on this topic. 

  • Uninsured Healthcare Fees: these include dental, orthodontics, eyeglasses, counselling and other health-related expenses.

  • Childcare Expenses: these are childcare expenses incurred so that the parent with the children most of the time may attend school or work.

  • Healthcare Insurance Premiums: this includes the portion of the healthcare insurance premiums which relate to the children. 

  • Extracurricular Expenses: these include sports, music classes, dance, art classes and some tutoring. Extracurricular activities are often the most contentious issue, as parents can have different opinions about whether or not an activity is necessary and reasonable for the children. When deciding if an activity is a Section 7 expense the Court often wants to know if the children have participated in the activity prior to separation. If they did, it is likely that the activity will continue and the expense will be ordered. The Court will also have to decide if the activity cost is reasonable given the financial situation of the parties. 

The above list is not exhaustive, but it gives a general idea about what parents can expect to include as section 7 expenses.

Another question is how much does each parent pay? This is determined by each parent’s income as section 7 expenses are paid proportionately based on the incomes of the parents. If the parents earn the same amount each year, they will split the cost of section 7 expenses evenly. However, if one parent earns more, they will be responsible for more of the cost. For example, if one parent earns $70,000 per year and the other parent earns $30,000 per year, the parent who earns $70,000 per year will be responsible for 70% of the Section 7 expenses.

Another important thing to know about Section 7 expenses is how to have them enforced. In most situations, simply providing a receipt to the other parent should be sufficient. However, if the expense is disputed, you may need a Court order. Also, the Maintenance Enforcement Program can assist with the enforcement of section 7 expenses which have already been ordered by a Court.

If you have any questions about section 7 Expenses, or enforcing section 7 child support, please contact the lawyers at Crossroads Law. We have helped hundreds of clients claim section 7 expenses.

For more information or assistance with child support orders and how to change them contact the Calgary family lawyers at Crossroads law for your free consultation, or try our free Child Support Calculator to help determine what your child support payments should be anywhere in Canada.


The information contained in this blog is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only.