Pilot Study of Child Support

Official Title: The Survey of Child Support Awards: Final Analysis of Pilot Data and Recommendations for Continued Data Collection. Research Report CSR-1999-2E


  • ​Joseph P. Hornick, Ph.D. Canadian Institute for Law and the Family
  • Lorne D Bertrand, Ph.D. Canadian Institute for Law and the Family​
  • ​Nicholas M.C. Bala, B.A., LL.M. Faculty of Law, Queen’s University

The Canadian Institute for Law and the Family is located within the Law building at the University of Calgary.

Copies can be ordered by calling 1-888-373-2222
Summary of Findings

  • 8,233 cases from 13 places (covering 11 of Canada’s 13 juridictions) were examined (only Quebec and Nunavut were missed)
  • Mothers had legal representation in 74.2 percent of cases, Fathers in 59.0 percent This may indicate fathers are poorer or have difficulty getting legal aid compared to mothers
  • Restriction on Access were not recorded properly.
  • The father was the payer in 94.3% of cases
  • Most cases (76.6%) did not specify when support would end. 11.9% included cost of living clauses.
  • 31.2% were awarded extraordinary expenses. Most common were extracurricular activities, medical/dental insurance premiums, child care. The amount ordered increases with income and if sole custody was ordered.
    If you are familiar with the development of the formulas, you know that these costs and more were already included in the formula amount
 Avg(Mean) Median Min Max
Payor’s Income $41,486 $34,725 $0 $3,322,592
Payee’s Income $23,929 $21,093 $0 $357,500
Monthly Child Support $563 $413 $1 $14,200
Monthly Spousal Support $1,124 $675 $1 $20,000

Note that monthly support amounts are after taxes, while income is before taxes.