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Separation and divorce

How is child support calculated?

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Separating or divorcing? Want to know how much the child support payments will be? The calculation of child support is governed by law. The law that applies is either federal or provincial, depending on the parents’ situation.

Does the parent who will receive child support live outside Quebec?

If so, the rules might be different and the information on this page might not apply to your situation.

Visit a legal clinic or talk to a lawyer or a notary to find out what the rules are in your situation.

For the rules that apply elsewhere in Canada, see: How do we calculate the amount of child support? (Families Change). Select the province in the drop-down menu in the upper-left corner of the screen.

The calculation method depends on the parents’ situation

The calculation of child support is governed by either provincial law or federal law, depending on the parents’ situation.

The provincial calculation applies when:

  • Both parents live in Quebec, or
  • Only one parent lives in Quebec and the parents are not divorcing or divorced (e.g., the parents are de facto partners or married and wish to obtain separation from bed and board or an annulment).

The federal calculation applies only when the parents are divorcing or divorced and one of them lives outside Quebec.


Even if you and your ex agree, you’ll need a judge’s authorization if you want child support to be higher or lower than the amount obtained with the calculation under the law.

According to the provincial calculation method in Quebec, the amount of support is based on the parents’ incomes, the number of children, how custody (parenting time) is shared, and in some cases the child’s special needs.

The Ministère de la Justice du Québec (Quebec department of justice) offers a free online calculation tool that provides an estimate of the amount of child support payments.


Tool for the calculation of child support payments (Justice Québec)

If the amount the tool provides doesn’t correspond to the child’s needs or the parents’ means, you can ask a judge to adjust it.

Here are a few examples of situations where a judge might intervene:

  • The child is an adult,
  • One of the parents is already paying support for another child not named in the application,
  • One of the parents – or the child – has significant assets,
  • The costs that one of the parents has to pay to exercise custody (parenting time) causes undue hardship,
  • The annual disposable income of one of the parents is more than $200,000,
  • One of the parents contests the income entered in the form.

If you want to file an application for support or would like a support agreement to be recognized, the court will ask you to fill out the child support determination form, as required by law.


Child support determination form (Justice Québec)

A printed copy of the amount obtained with the calculation tool won’t be enough.

According to the federal calculation method, the support amount is based on the income of the parent who is paying support and the number of children.

The government of Canada offers a free online calculation tool where you can get an estimate of the amount of child support.


Child Support Table Look-up (Government of Canada)

The tool provides a base amount that doesn’t necessarily take into account all the aspects of your personal situation.

Therefore, in some cases the amount you obtain with this tool can be adjusted.

Here are a few examples of situations that can justify an adjustment:

  • You have shared custody (shared parenting time),
  • The costs related to certain special or extraordinary expenses are included in the support amount (e.g., childcare costs, the portion of the medical and dental insurance costs attributable to the child, expenses for postsecondary education),
  • Your child is an adult,
  • You’ve made other reasonable arrangements to meet your child’s needs,
  • The income used for the calculation does not provide an amount that is fair (e.g., one parent’s income fluctuates significantly from one year to the next, one parent’s income appears to have been diverted, the parent unreasonably deducts expenses from income ).


The information presented on this page is not a legal opinion or legal advice. This page explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. To obtain a legal opinion or legal advice on your personal situation, consult a legal professional.

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