Do I Have to Pay Half of My Child’s Dental Bill on Top of Child Support - Even Though my Ex Has Benefits?

child visiting the dentist


Separated Parents do have to share some expenses for their children on top of base child support. Section 7 of the Child Support Guidelines sets out what expenses parents have to pay in addition to the monthly child support payments.  Those expenses are called “Section 7 Expenses” or “Special and Extraordinary Expenses. It is important to understand Special and Extraordinary Expenses as parents frequently pay to much or too little because they do not understand how the Child Support Law works in relation to children’s expenses.  

 

Health care and dental expenses are ones that may be shared on top of child support.  To figure out how much extra is owing, it is important to look at the wording of the Child Support Guidelines. Section 7(1)(c) says that the expense that may be reimbursed are:

 

(c) health-related expenses that exceed insurance reimbursement by at least $100 annually, including orthodontic treatment, professional counselling provided by a psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist or any other person, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, prescription drugs, hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses;

 

So, parents only share the portion that exceeds insurance reimbursement.  Further, section 7(3) says:

 

(3) Subject to subsection (4), in determining the amount of an expense referred to in subsection (1), the court must take into account any subsidies, benefits or income tax deductions or credits relating to the expense, and any eligibility to claim a subsidy, benefit or income tax deduction or credit relating to the expense. 

 

In order to figure this out, you are entitled to see whether the other parent has submitted the expenses to his or her (or a new spouse or partner’s) insurance, and what reimbursement he or she has received. 

 

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11 - Child Support's Special and Extraordinary Expenses

12 - How Step Parents and Grandparents Can Have to Pay Child Support

In addition, if your ex can claim the uninsured portion of the dental expenses as medical expenses on his or her taxes, you only have to share the net cost after taking into account the tax credits available to your ex. (If he or she choses not to claim them, that is not your fault.)   You need your ex’s tax return to figure out the amount of the deductions or credits, which is why section 24.1 of the Child Support Guidelines requires parents to exchange tax returns annually.  If the expenses have been partially paid by a benefits plan, you will see that by the reduced amount claimed on the tax return. 

 

Also, if your ex’s new partner or new spouse is claiming the children through a benefits plan, then it may be that he or she is treating the children as his or her own.  If the new partner stands in place of a parent, then the Child Support Guidelines may require that the expense be shared 3 ways.  Listen to this podcast for more on that


Child support law gets complicated and people frequently make mistakes that result in significantly too much child support or way too little child support being paid.  To make sure child support is right in your circumstances, it is often worthwhile to speak to a family law lawyer.  Certified Specialists in Family Law are a good choice as they are recognized for their expertise on these issues.  If you are the parent seeking or enforcing support, any legal fees you pay may be tax-deductible.   Contact Certified Specialist, John Schuman, by calling 416-446-5847 or emailing him.

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To learn even more about child support, special and extra-ordinary expenses, retroactive child support, and all the possible claims for support, as well as most other family law issues,  get a copy of this best-selling easy-to-understand book on the basics of Ontario Family Law as a paperback, or as a $9.99 e-book for KindleKobo, or iPad/iPhone/Mac.  You may also want to listen to this podcast or watch this video. You can also use the search on the right to find lots more articles about marriage and divorce.

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