Can My Ex Use Her Benefits to Pay Her Half of Our Child’s Medical and Dental Expenses?


Parents do have to share the cost of medical and dental expenses on top of base child support in Ontario and Canada. When parents separate, there are two parts of child support - the monthly base or table amount and special and extraordinary expenses.  Necessary health and dental expenses for their children are “special expenses” that separated parents always have to share in proportion to their incomes.

Frequently, parents have benefits available to them through work that pay some or all of prescription drug and other medical expenses, and dental expenses.  Other parents purchase health insurance to cover their children, because it is less expenses then paying the individual expenses - especially for children with health issues.  Sometimes when that parent has that insurance available, the parent tries to use the insurance to pay his or her share of the shared special or extraordinary expense.  However, that is not how things are supposed to be done.

If you are a parent who is paying or receiving child support, it can be important to pull up the Child Support Guidelines and actually read them:

Section 7(1)(c) says that the special expense that is shared is that part of the health related expense that exceed insurance reimbursement by $100 annually.  So, your ex cannot include the insurance reimbursement as part of the total expense that he or she shares with you.

However, s. 7(1)(b) says that if a parent is paying for the health insurance for the children, the portion of her health insurance premiums that a parent pays personal, that is attributable to the child is shared between both parents  as a special expense.  That means if the other parent is paying for health insurance for a child, and not just getting it free through work, then the other parent has to share in the cost of that insurance, in proportion to the parent’s respective incomes.

parents of children with disabilities  can claim large tax deductions

It is also important to remember that section 7(3) of the Child Support Guidelines says that when calculating the amount of the expense to be shared, the parent who incurred the expense must deduct the income tax credits and deductions available to him or her (whether or not he or she claims those credits and deductions).   Health care expenses, especially for children eligible for the Disability Tax Credit, can generate a large tax savings.  That tax savings has to be included in the calculation of what the parents share.  Some parents can get a tax deception for buying private health insurance.  So, no matter what, it is not the entire cost of the health expenses, or the health insurance that parents must share on top of base child support payments.

Although it is a common area of family law, child support is an issue on which parents frequently make mistakes that result in them either paying too much or receiving too little.  It can make good financial sense to speak to a Family Law Lawyer about child support matters to make sure the amount is right  in your particular situation.  Remember that for a parent seeking or enforcing child support, those legal fees are also tax deductible!  Discuss your child support issue with Certified Specialist in Family Law, John Schuman, by calling 416-446-4036, emailing him, or using the form below.

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law, 3rd Edition

There is lots more to know about child support and special and extraordinary expenses - such as what expenses are special and extraordinary and what expenses are supposed to be paid out of base support and what expenses do not qualify to be shared at all.  You can get a much more complete explanation of special and extraordinary or section 7 expenses in the Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law, which is available as $9.99 e-book for KindleKobo, or iPad/iPhone/Mac and also as a $25.00 paperback version from (and other retailers).

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle

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There are many other common mistakes that people make in family law matters. You can learn about them and how to avoid them on this website.  Use the search box at the top right of the page to look up other family law issues, or use the menu across the top.  If this page has help you, share it with others in your social network, using the buttons at the bottom of the page, to help them too.

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