According to a Nov. 16 news release, the province’s new Child Support Service will expand what is now formerly known as the Child Support Recalculation Service — an existing system that recalculates payment amounts based on changes to parents’ income.
“The family court process can be costly, complex, time-consuming, and cause great stress to parents and children,” said Saskatchewan Justice Minister and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre in a statement. “This service aims to reduce some of that financial burden and anxiety and allow parents to focus on the well-being of their children.”
Saskatchewan Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre
Tyne Hagey, legal director of Saskatchewan Legal Aid’s Regina office, said the high cost of lawyers force many people to go it alone in navigating the province’s family court system.
“Child support is the right of the child, and programs such as the Child Support Service help parents from all backgrounds have equal access to resources that can help them provide for their children,” states Hagey.
Since its launch in 2018, the Child Support Recalculation Service “has issued more than 507 recalculations and helped 776 children receive the support amount to which they were entitled, sparing families the expense of legal fees and going to court,” states the release.
Last year, it notes, the service issued “a record” 124 child support decisions. As for this year, 91 have been issued thus far. It is projected that numbers will increase with the new calculation service.
A separate information page states that “[a]dministrative calculation or recalculation services help parents avoid the financial burden and stress of going through the family court system to determine an initial child support amount or to recalculate existing child support amounts.”
It goes on to note Saskatchewan’s Family Maintenance Amendment Act, 2023, which came into force in September and aims “to make it easier to forgo the family court process for child support.”
The release goes on to point out other initiatives in place to increase access to family law justice in the province, including the establishment of mandatory dispute resolution as a potential alternative to court; a pilot program that reviews applications to ensure they meet the requirements for the court process; and the launch of the Family Law Information Centre, which provides resources to those unable to afford a lawyer or choose to represent themselves.
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