Common Consult Questions: What Are Section 7 Expenses?When parents separate or divorce, child support can become a difficult issue between the parents. Each parent has a duty to contribute to the support of the child/children of the relationship/marriage. Child support is considered by the Courts to be the right of the child.

Base child support (also known as “Section 3” child support) is determined based on the parenting schedule and incomes of the parents, as set out in the Federal Child Support Guidelines (the “Guidelines”).

The Guidelines also include provisions for “special or extraordinary expenses” (also known as Section 7 expenses), which are expenses that are to be shared by the parents in addition to the base child support paid by the payor parent. These expenses are defined as expenses that are necessary because they are in the child’s/children’s best interests and reasonable given the means of the parents and the child/children (with consideration to the family’s spending patterns before the separation).

Section 7 expenses include (but are not limited to):

  • Child care expenses, if the child care expenses are incurred as a result of the parent’s employment, illness, disability or education or training for employment.
  • Medical and dental insurance premiums for the child/children.
  • Health-related expenses that exceed reimbursement or are not covered by the child’s insurance plan.
  • Extraordinary school fees depending on the child’s/children’s needs.
  • College or university expenses, although there is often an expectation that the child/children will make some contribution to their living expenses and/or education expenses.
  • Extraordinary or extracurricular expenses for extracurricular activities such as sports and lessons.
The amount that each parent should contribute to these expenses is dependent on the incomes of the parents as Section 7 expenses are divided in proportion to the incomes of the parties. Therefore, the parent with the higher income is expected to pay more, but if both parents make the same amount of money, the cost of the Section 7 expense is split evenly between the parents (unless otherwise agreed by the parties).