Views from a Mediator-In-Training: Workshop on Determining Income for Child and Spousal Support
by Ildiko Moktassi
This short workshop was an excellent introduction for mediators and a great refresher for family law lawyers regarding the different sources of income and how they may affect income calculation for support purposes. The presenter, family law lawyer and mediator, Angela Princewill, was knowledgeable, friendly and funny. She did an excellent job presenting this difficult and important topic, from both perspectives, that of a lawyer and that of a mediator.
The main take-aways for mediators were:
1. Pay attention to the source of income claimed (employment income (T4), self-employment income, dividends, capital gains, social assistance etc.) and its tax implications. Less taxes paid means more money may be available for support.
2. Learn to read the income tax return forms. Important to examine the deductions the payor is claiming from their income. What may be an appropriate deduction for income tax purposes, may not be appropriate for income calculation for support purposes.
3.Be mindful of the possible income streams that may not be recorded in the income tax returns. Such as cash income or monies paid to non-arm’s length parties. Mediators need to be mindful of the disclosure received and may need to examine the parties’ actual expenses and lifestyle through other means, such as credit card statements etc.
I learned a lot, got useful tips that I will definitely use in my practice and overall, had a very pleasant time learning with my peers.