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Self-Employment Income in Family Law: To Deduct or Not to Deduct, That Is The Question

When the Child Support Guidelines (“Guidelines”) were introduced in 1997, the federal and provincial governments legislated that its purpose was “to reduce conflict and tension between parents or spouses by making the calculation of child support more objective.”  The idea was that separated parents could simply look up the income of the parent paying support, and the number of children supported, and this would easily determine the exact monthly dollar amount of child support payable.  This legislation was supposed to end the controversy, litigation and cost of determining the amount of child support.  Not so fast.

Although this intent became true for support payors who were salaried or hourly employees, there were many support payors who owned businesses and exercised discretion as to the income they reported to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). 

According to Statistics Canada, over 15% of Canadians, or nearly 3 million people, are self-employed (Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, April 2012).  In an era where nearly half of all marriages end in separation, it is understandable why protracted litigation persists over the determination of separated parents’ income...

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