Glossary of terms
Below is a list of terms commonly used by the Child Support Recalculation Program (RP) and RP clients:
A to C D to I N to R S to W
Additional expenses - See Special or extraordinary expenses
Anniversary date - The anniversary, in any year, of the date on which a child support order was made. For example, if a court order was granted May 5, 1999, its anniversary date is May 5 each year. RP targets having the recalculated child support amount effective each year on the order's anniversary date.
Some orders granted before January 1, 2010 may have a different anniversary date if those orders directed child support to be recalculated each year. For more information, speak to RP staff.
Child support guidelines - The federal Divorce Act and Alberta Family Law Act set out guidelines for the amount of child support a debtor is required to pay. Child support can include a table amount and an amount or share payable for special or extraordinary expenses under section 7 of the guidelines.
Child Support Guidelines Tables - see table amount.
Child support order - An order granted in Canada requiring a payor to make payments to a recipient for the support or maintenance of children.
Clients - Payors and recipients who are registered with RP.
Decision - see Recalculation Decision.
Deemed income increase - An increase that RP applies to a parent's last determined income if that parent does not provide RP with their updated income information. The amount of the deemed income increase will be whichever is higher: setting the person's income at $21,216 or increasing the person's last determined income by 10 to 25 per cent. The deemed income increase allows RP to complete the recalculation even when income disclosure is not provided.
See also: Infosheet - Deemed income increase
Effective date - The date that something has legal effect. The effective date of a Recalculation Decision is 31 days after receipt by the client. Clients are deemed to have received their Recalculation Decisions seven days after mailing. Each Recalculation Decision issued by RP will clearly tell clients its effective date.
Eligible child support order - A child support order that is eligible to be registered with RP. Eligibility criteria are set out in regulations under the Family Law Act and are discussed on the Eligibility for recalculation page.
Guideline income - The income of a parent determined for child support purposes using the child support guidelines.
Imputed income – Pursuant to section 19 of the child support guidelines, the court can attribute (“impute”) income to a parent. Cases where the courts commonly impute income include when a parent has not provided documentation to prove their income, or where the court feels the documentation provided does not show the full income the parent is capable of earning. Other examples of when the court might impute income are listed in section 19.
Income information – Documents the client must provide so RP can determine their guideline income. Payors in all cases must supply income information to RP, while recipients must provide it only if RP is recalculating proportionate shares of special or extraordinary expenses or table amounts in shared or split custody situations. Income information is due to RP at least 60 days before the anniversary date of the child support order. The information required is:
RP requires tax return documents for the most recent tax year (previous calendar year ending December 31). If your notice of assessment for the previous calendar year is not yet available, you can submit tax return documents for the year before the previous calendar year only if the income information due date is prior to June 30.
See also: Example of income tax return and schedules and statements - 1045 KB
See also: Example of notice of assessment or reassessment - 73 KB
Income support - Financial benefits (social assistance) provided by Human Services, formerly known as Alberta Employment and Immigration (AEI). Where a client on income support wishes to waive recalculation or withdraw their registration from the program, RP may need to get Human Services' consent.
Notice of objection - Clients objecting to a Recalculation Decision are required to notify RP immediately. RP offers a Notice of Objection form for clients to complete and send to RP.
Objection - A court application to vary, suspend or terminate a child support order brought by a payor or recipient to stop their Recalculation Decision from becoming effective. Clients wishing to make an objection must commence their court application within 30 days after receiving their Recalculation Decision and must immediately notify RP of their objection. Their application must attach a copy of the Recalculation Decision and specifically say the applicant does not agree with it.
Payor - The person named in the child support order who must pay child support.
Proportionate shares - the proportionate shares of a party may be required to pay pursuant to section 7 of the child support guidelines.
Recalculation Decision - A legal document issued by RP that sets out the parties’ recalculated guideline incomes and advises of any recalculated amount of child support and proportionate shares of special or extraordinary expenses. RP sends the Recalculation Decision to both clients – the payor and the recipient - and files it in court.
If RP’s calculations show a difference of at least $10 per month in child support (or at least 10% in proportionate shares), RP’s Recalculation Decision changes the amount of child support payable in the parties’ court order.
See also: Sample of a Recalculation Decision that changes the child support payable - 45 KB .
If RP’s calculations show only a minor difference in child support (i.e. less than $10 per month or less than a 10% change in proportionate shares), the Recalculation Decision explains that child support under the existing order is not changing.
See also: Sample of a Recalculation Decision that doesn't change the child support payable - 36 KB .
Recipient - The person named in the child support order who is entitled to receive child support payments.
Registration - Registration is the process a client must follow to open a file with RP to have their child support order recalculated. For registration to occur, either the payor or recipient must complete and return a registration request form with a copy of their eligible child support order.
RIO - Recalculation Info Online (RIO) is RP’s Internet account system, which allows clients to access their file-specific information seven days a week.
See also: Information Sheet – RIO – Recalculation Info Online
Section 7 expenses - See Special or extraordinary expenses
Self employment - See self employment information sheet - 34 KB .
Shared or split custody (parenting) - Shared custody is where both parties share custody of one or more children, with the children living with both parents. In split custody situations, some children live with one parent and other children live with the other parent. Orders involving shared or split custody may require both parties to pay one another child support. Sometimes, the amounts payable by each parent are set off against each other, resulting in a net amount that one party must pay to the other. Where the court has set the child support amount(s) based on the tables in the Federal Child Support Guidelines RP may be able to recalculate the child support.
Special or extraordinary expenses - In addition to the table amount of support payable under child support guidelines, the court can order the payment of special or extraordinary expenses. These expenses may be for education; medical, dental, visual or other health care; childcare or extracurricular activities. Special or extraordinary expenses are sometimes referred to in court orders as “additional expenses” or “section 7 expenses”.
Table amount - The amount of monthly child support a payor must pay according to the tables in the child support guidelines. The table amount of child support is based on the payor's guideline income and the number of children being supported.
Justice Canada offers the Child Support Online Lookup so you can find the table amount of child support payable for your guideline income.
Variation application - A court application asking for a child support order to be changed (varied), suspended or terminated. To object to a Recalculation Decision, a person must commence a variation application before the decision's effective date.
Waiver - A written agreement signed by the payor and the recipient asking RP to waive/skip a recalculation in any year. RP offers a waiver form for the clients' convenience. For the current recalculation to be waived, RP must receive the waiver form at least 60 days before the anniversary date of the child support order.
Withdrawal - A request from a client asking RP to close their recalculation file. Only the person who originally registered with RP can ask to withdraw. If both parents registered with RP, then both must sign withdrawals before the file will be closed. RP offers a withdrawal form for the clients' convenience. RP must receive the written withdrawal request at least 60 days before the anniversary date of the court order if the client wishes the current recalculation to be cancelled and the file closed. However, recalculation will continue if the other party has registered or chooses to register with RP. If the withdrawal is received late, the file may be closed only after the current recalculation is completed.