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Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is responsible for administering the Canada Child Tax Benefit. The benefit is a tax-free monthly payment for children under the age of 18 and is intended to help families with the cost of raising their children.
In situations involving separated or divorced parents, CRA pays the benefit to the parent who resides with the child and who primarily fulfils the responsibility for the care and the upbringing of the child. According to CRA, this is generally the mother, and therefore in situations of separation or divorce, CRA presumes the mother to be entitled to the benefit.
In cases where both parents claim the benefit, CRA will conduct a review to determine which parent qualifies for the benefit. If it is determined that the child resides with both parents, CRA will pay one parent for six months and then rotate the payments to the other parent for the next six months.
Details of this and further information can be obtained at the CRA website at www.cra-arc.gc.ca or by calling toll free 1-800-387-1193.
In the 2003 decision of Walsh v. Walsh, the wife asked the judge to order her ex-husband to pay a shortfall of child support in the sum of $43,000 for the past few years because his income rose.
In 1997, the court ordered her ex-husband to pay child support pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines based on an income of $175,000. In 2002, the wife discovered that her ex-husband’s income ranged between $214,000 and $376,000 per year for the past few years resulting in a shortfall of approximately $43,000, which her ex-husband should have paid in child support.
The court held that her ex-husband knew that his child support obligation was based on his income, but chose not to disclose his income voluntarily. In the court’s view, he could not now hide behind the defence that the children should not have the benefit of his increased income for this period because his wife did not request his income tax returns until 2002. The ex-husband was ordered to pay the entire shortfall in child support within 45 days.
Before mediation begins, the spouses will decide whether the mediation will be open or closed. In open mediation, the mediator may be asked by either spouse to write a full report on what happened during the mediation including the reasons why it was not successful. If the mediation is not successful and the case proceeds to court, the report may be considered by the judge. Also, the mediator may be required by either spouse to testify in court. In closed mediation, the information exchanged by the spouses is confidential. The mediator’s report will only mention whether an agreement was reached, but will not provide any details of why an agreement was not reached. In closed mediation, neither spouse can compel the mediator to testify in court.