Child Support Recalculation

Child Support payments can be automatically recalculated each year if the support order or agreement includes a clause that says it can be recalculated by the Recalculation Officer and if the parties register the order.  Administrative recalculation allows parents to update child support depending on the payor's income without having to go back to court.

Who recalculates child support payments?

The Recalculation Officer in the Child Support Services Office recalculates child support payments where the order or agreement is eligible for recalculation. The Recalculation Officer services all of Prince Edward Island.

What is a recalculation clause?

A recalculation clause is part of a child support order/agreement that sets out whether child support can be recalculated by the Recalculation Officer and when.  There must be a recalculation clause in an order or agreement authorizing the Recalculation Officer to recalculate.  The order or agreement must be registered with the Recalculation Officer.  

This document provides suggested wording for recalculation clauses:  Recalculation Clauses for Orders

When is an order or agreement eligible for recalculation?

An order or agreement is eligible for recalculation if it includes a recalculation clause and if the Recalculation Officer can do a straight forward recalculation of child support using the payor’s updated income on line 150 of their income tax return and the Federal Child Support Guidelines tables and discretion is not required.   An order is not eligible for recalculation if:

  • the payor has self-employment income
  • the payor’s income was imputed (grossed up) by the court 
  • the parties have shared parenting time of the child(ren)
  • a pattern of income was used to determine payor’s income (e.g. average of last three year’s income); or
  • child support departs from the Federal Child Support Guidelines Tables

Is recalculation done automatically?

Recalculation is done automatically on a yearly basis if the child support order or agreement contains the recalculation clause and has been registered by either parent with the Recalculation Officer.

Am I eligible for annual recalculation?

You can have the basic table amount of child support in your order or agreement reviewed and updated yearly if your support order or agreement is eligible for recalculation, the order or agreement has a recalculation clause and you register your order or agreement with the Recalculation Officer.

How do I start the recalculation process?

Either parent must file an application form (PDF) or (fillable) and send it, with an attached copy of the order or agreement containing the recalculation clause to the Recalculation Officer.

I pay child support, I’m the Payor, and I received a Request for Financial Information from the Recalculation Officer - what financial information am I supposed to file with the Recalculation Office?


You are required to file any of the following that is your financial information for the current tax year for the year you get the information request:

  • Your notice of assessment or notice of reassessment; or 
  • Your Tax Return (T1 General)

The documents required are set out by the recalculation regulations and the Administrative Recalculation Officer can only recalculate with the above documents.  This means that the Recalculation Officer cannot recalculate if you provide other financial documents like:

  • Your T4;
  • Your tax filing summary;
  • Your pay stubs; 
  • A letter from your employer confirming your salary, etc.

If you do not have your taxes done for the current year, as soon as you receive your request for financial information, you may wish to reach out to the Child Support Services Office about making an appointment with the MEP/CRA Income Tax Volunteer Clinic who can quickly help you get your taxes done for the current year.  Remember, the Recalculation Office has no authority to extend the timeline under the regulations to give you more time to get your financial information into the recalculation office.  


If you do not file your notice of assessment, notice of reassessment or tax return or a notice of objection in the timelines required, the recalculation will be done based on deeming your income has increased.


What happens if the parent paying support does not file the required financial information with the Recalculation Officer?

The payor’s income will be deemed to be 10 per cent higher than the payor’s most recent information that the Recalculation Officer has on file for the payor. For example, if there is a tax assessment on file with the Recalculation Officer for the previous year and the payor’s income was $40,000, if financial information is not provided, the payor’s income will be deemed to be $44,000.

What do I do if I am the payor, I did not provide the financial information during the required time period and I receive a notice of recalculation saying the Recalculation Officer has deemed my income? 

Within 30 days of receiving the notice of recalculation indicating that the Recalculation Officer is intending to recalculate your support on the basis of a deemed income,  you can file a Notice of Objection with the Recalculation Officer, the other parent, and the Supreme Court if you have your Income Tax Return, Notice of Assessment, and financial information for the previous year. The Recalculation Officer will recalculate the support in accordance with the regulations and send a new notice of recalculation.  If you do not file the notice of objection within the required thirty days, you will be referred to your lawyer or the Child Support Services Office.

What can I do if I do not agree with the recalculated amounts?

Either parent may, within 30 days after being notified of the recalculated amount, file a Notice of Objection based on the following:

  • If the payor did not file the Income Tax Return/Notice of Assessment within the required time frame and the payor's reported income is less than the amount determined by the Recalculation Officer,
  • If the payor did not file the Income Tax Return/Notice of Assessment within the prescribed time frame and the reported income is more than the amount determined by the Recalculation Officer, or
  • There has been a material change in either a parent’s financial circumstances or a child’s needs, since the most recent Income Tax Return/Notice of Assessment.

What happens if my circumstances change during the year prior to the annual recalculation date?

Either parent has the option to apply through the courts for a change to child support if there has been a material change of circumstances. Child Support Guidelines Officers can assist parents who don’t have a lawyer to apply to change their child support order or agreement – you can contact a Child Support Guidelines Officer at (902) 368-6220.

I received a recalculation notice from the Recalculation Officer, but I didn’t file my notice of objection or I didn’t actually follow through with my court application.  The Recalculation Officer recalculated the child support and I don’t agree with the support amount, can the Recalculation Officer change it?

The Recalculation Officer does not have the authority to change a recalculation order once it is issued.  It is important that you take the steps required under the regulations to object or to provide information.  The Recalculation Officer is required to follow the timelines for taking steps to recalculate support orders. Once the Recalculation Officer issues a recalculation order, the Recalculation Officer has no authority to change it.
 
Remember, if you do not provide information in the timelines required as set out in the notice of recalculation or you do not take steps to file a notice of objection, the Recalculation Officer has to follow the steps in the regulations to recalculate the support order or agreement. 

Parents who disagree with a recalculation order will be referred to their lawyer or the Child Support Services Office.

What happens when a child turns 18?

The administrative recalculation process is only available for children under the age of majority.  That means that when a child turns 18, the Administrative Recalculation Officer has no authority to recalculate child support.  A support order may have one support amount for multiple children – sometimes called a ‘global support amount.’ Sometimes, the order will have a termination clause that says that support is to continue until the children turn 22 if they remain in school.  Because the recalculation process only applies to children under 18, where one child turns 18 in a family with more than one child, the Recalculation Officer is no longer able to use the recalculation process under the regulations.
 
For example, a child support order for three children may include a termination clause that says the children are entitled to support if they are full-time at a post-secondary education institute and under the age of 22.  However, the recalculation process requires that the administrative recalculation officer calculate the support based on the number of children under the age of majority.  This means that even though the support order says that a child over the age of 18 may still be eligible for support, the Recalculation Officer cannot calculate support for three children.  
 
Because of these issues, when a child turns 18, the Recalculation Officer will refuse to calculate support and refer the parties to the Child Support Services Office to seek a variation order.

Is there a fee for child support recalculation?

There is no fee for child support recalculation.

Who can I contact for more information?
You can contact the Recalculation Officer for more information:

Child Support Services Office
Family Law Centre (Charlottetown)
csso@gov.pe.ca
Phone: (902) 368-4109

 

Published date: 
February 24, 2021