The provincial government announced changes to child support regulations on Thursday.

Effective March 1, when a parent is required to pay child support under a new court order or agreement and does not provide an annual income statement to the Recalculation Office, their annual income will automatically be recalculated based on a 20 per cent increase to their most recently assessed annual income.

The Justice Department says the goal is to help parents maintain a fair standard of support for their children by allowing a parent to have a child-support order recalculated at regular intervals, based on updated financial information, without the need to return to court. The changes will also address a number of procedural and administrative issues and limitations identified by clients, staff, lawyers, court staff and judges.

Changes will also be made to the communication method. Notices to parents will now be sent by regular mail or e-mail instead of registered mail and there will be estimated dates of receipt, meaning timeframes for next steps will be more clearly detailed.

The Recalculation Office helps the courts in determining child support, monitoring compliance with child support orders and agreements requiring the periodic filing of income information, and reviewing and recalculating child support amounts in accordance with the child support tables set out in both the federal and provincial Child Support Guidelines.

“This recalculation service will save court costs and time when parents want to update child support payments,” Justice Minster Andrew Parsons said in a statement. “The end of a marriage or relationship shouldn’t be the start of financial hardship for children and families as a result of parents ignoring their financial obligations. Children need appropriate support. Good intentions won’t fill their lunch boxes, put clothes on their backs or ensure a roof over their heads. These changes will encourage increased parental compliance with income disclosure requirements and make the service more effective and efficient.”