A few tips for single-parent familiesJanuary 24, 2017

A few tips for single-parent families

Paying rent and other expenses by yourself can be stressful, especially when you also have children in your care. Debt accumulates and the financial situation may change rapidly. Importantly, sooner or later, it is possible to find your balance after the break-up, and sometimes that balance can be even better than when you were part of a couple. What is needed is a solid plan and a strong support network.

Reduce credit card use and cut unnecessary fees

Your number one step is to create a budget. As much as possible, you should avoid accumulating debt, especially on credit cards or bank charges, as these tend to be very high.

Also, if you only pay the minimum amount due each month, you end up losing a lot of money to interest. Limit your credit card use and only rely on the cards in unforeseen circumstances.

Plan your savings

When preparing your budget, put a certain percentage of your income into savings. Even if the amount you save is not very large, it will accumulate quickly. Every dollar is made of cents, after all.

One of the best ways to do this is through direct transfers into your savings or expensive projects account. With the help of a financial advisor, go through your various options to also see if the saved money could also be reinvested somewhere to make it grow (an RRSP, RESP, etc.).

Support payments

By law, a working parent who does not have custody of the children should provide support to the custodial parent. However, such support must be claimed. In order to agree on the rules surrounding the support payments, you should call upon a mediator. While the sessions can be expensive, in Quebec, you are allowed six free sessions by law.

Government assistance

The Quebec government offers child support to parents with dependent children under the age of 18 residing with them. A child registered with the Registrar of Civil Status is automatically eligible without the need to apply. Since July 1, 2016, the federal government also provides the Canada Child Benefit, a non-taxable monthly payment to families supporting children under 18.

This benefit is based on your income tax return and will be adjusted annually depending on your income. An advantage is that the payment dates are regular. There is a mobile application with answers to questions and electronic information about future payments.

For more information, please contact your bank to see how your situation can be resolved as quickly as possible.

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