Child custody and impact CCB, the Ontario child benefit, the GST credit, and the Ontario Trillium Benefit

*Techincal question

  • Common law couple with a child separated in 2018
  • The child resides with the mother and spends 75% of the time with her and the remaining 25% with the father.

The father has mentioned that the arrangement is joint custody.

On the family worksheet, there is a question “The taxpayer has shared custody of this dependent” which is used in the calculation of the CCB and the Ontario child benefit, the GST credit, and the Ontario Trillium Benefit.

I believe in this situation he has joint custody not shared.

" The term shared custody is often confused with joint custody…Shared custody occurs when each parent has the children for at least 40% of the time – in other words, the child’s time is split between the parents roughly equally."

I found additional information below:

" Do you share custody?

You share custody if the child lives with you and another individual in separate residences on a more or less equal basis.

The child might regularly alternate between residences in the following cycles:

** four days with one person and three days with the other*
** one week with one person and the next week with the other*
** any other regular alternating cycle"*

This is not the case for this taxpayer, so the box will not be checked.

Does anyone have anything to add/comment?

I would add that the ticking of the box is for illustrative purposes of the various benefits they could expect to receive. The actual amounts received are based on what is on file with the CRA.

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They should put away their toy plastic cars and dolls, and produce a copy of their separation and custody executed agreement from their lawyer…

As it is:
:: the legal situation is unknown
:: the support situation is unknown
:: the tax situation is unknown
:: guessing about other peoples guesses will not lead to anything productive

Of course, you would need to suggest that they get help a lot more tactful than the above, but if it were me, I would not go out on a limb and make the guesses about the guesses on their behalf…
If they can produce some paperwork to you, you might have a bit more to go on…

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Joint custody means that both parents have equal rights over important issues for the child like health care, education and each parent is entitled to
equal access to all medical and school records, etc….

This is usually a completely separate issue from whom the child resides with … i.e. the custodial parent or joint physical custody.

You should always ask for the written custody agreement for the child

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Very good points @joe.justjoe1

Thanks kindly @rachelavryl @Arliss

In the absence of the custody agreement, your client has the child only 25% of the time and therefore does not share custody and so is not eligible to the benefits listed.
Despite the unhelpful and most times confusing bullet point “any other regular alternating cycle” the percentage does not meet the “more or less equal basis” test.

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I have obtained the separation/custody agreement:
Both the taxpayer and his former spouse have joint custody of the parties’ only minor child
The child will reside primary with the mother and spend time with the father as follows:

A) Wednesdays 4:30pm - 8:30pm or Mondays from noon to 4:00pm
B) Alternate weekends from Friday at 4:30pm to Sunday at 6:30pm

Holidays are split
Summer: the father will have 5 weeks, all non-consecutive

Both parents are entitled to enquiries and be given information and documents concerning health, education and welfare of child from third parties

Does anyone have anything to comment?

The mother gets everything, as is customary.

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Yes. Mother gets all as she is primary caregiver.

This is standard custody agreement. This means father has rights to be part of his child’s life… in my experience it is rare to not see this type of arrangement

These days sole custody is usually only awarded if the other parent wants nothing to do with child or if the courts ( not the other parent) deem this parent to not be a good influence on the child or has been abusive to the child, etc again rare but happens

For CRA purposes, we always need to see these court documents IF our clients wants to claim credits for the children

Rachel Thibodeau Parlee
(506) 874-3093

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