“Section 7 expenses” can generally be described as “special or extraordinary expenses” for a child with separated parents that share expenses in addition to child support.
Section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines provides a definition of special and extraordinary expenses, which includes:
- child care expenses incurred as a result of the custodial parent’s employment, illness, disability or education or training for employment;
- that portion of the medical and dental insurance premiums attributable to the child;
- 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 and prescription drugs, hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses;
- extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school education or for any other educational programs that meet the child’s particular needs;
- expenses for post-secondary education; and
- extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities.
In addition to child support, these expenses are usually paid in proportion to the parent’s incomes and are net of any subsidy or benefit. For an expense to be considered a section 7 expense, it must be reasonable and necessary in the circumstances, considering the best interests of the child.
Parents often dispute whether a certain expense should qualify as a Section 7 expense. Generally speaking, childcare costs which allow a parent to work or attend school, as well as uninsured medical and dental expenses, are usually found to qualify as Section 7 expenses and should be shared between the parties. Other expenses, such as extracurricular activities, private school, post-secondary education, cell phones, equipment and travel, just to name a few, are less straightforward and often disputed.
The Courts have employed a very broad and fact-specific interpretation of what should be considered a Section 7 expense and Decisions are often made on a case by case basis, depending on the evidence presented to the court.
To speak with a member of our family law team regarding your Section 7 Expense questions, or any family law matter, please call 902-469-9500 to schedule your consultation.