Support Payments for Non-Resident Child

My new client is from the Philipines, but has been in Canada for 3 years or more. He has a common-law wife in the Philipines as well as a son and is sending regular support payments, a fixed amount per month.

I have no experience with this and did try to understand the rules. Is it correct that if he voluntarily makes those payments because he feels an obligation, he is not entitled to claim support payments? If he has a court order to make the payments, he may claim them, not otherwise?

Child support payments have not been deductible since May of 1997, so regardless of whether he has a written agreement, court order, or makes the payments because he feels an obligation there is no deduction for any amount that would be considered child support.

If he pays spousal support under a written agreement or court order and the spousal support meets the criteria outlined in subsection 56.1(4) then he can deduct spousal support whether it is paid to a spouse who is a Canadian resident or a non-resident. If he pays spousal support because he feels an obligation, but there is no written agreement or court order then he has no claim.

Thanks, @snoplowguy for a very definitive answer. It is what I thought, but didn’t want to accept.

I haver a client with a similar situation. He claims his wife and child as his dependents on his Canadian tax return. They live in Cuba so he is not entitled to Child tax benefits and such, but he can claim his wife as his dependent as he does support them.

Apparently this is one place where married and common-law are not equal. My client is not married so he can claim nothing, apparently.

Yes, he can claim Non-refundable tax credit for his spouse. May be asked to prove that he is sending money forher upkeep.


@gaywise Not if they are not split up, as in jalbooks case. From @obhorst wording, I am assuming his client is no longer in a marriage like relationship with this woman since they have been living apart for 3 years

They may have been in a marriage like arrangement when the child was born, but he has since moved to Canada as a farm worker. The wording is clear that Spousal support claims are eligible, but spouse does not include a common-law partner. He has every intention currently of bringing her and his son to Canada as soon as possible but that does not help his case.