This question is asked to determine which individual can claim child care expenses in cases of a separation between spouses or common-law partners due to a breakdown in the relationship. If you and your spouse or common-law were living separate and apart on December 31 and first 60 days of the following year, you and your partner are not considered to be supporting persons for the purposes of child care expenses. In this case, the individual living with the child will be able to claim child care expenses. If there is no supporting person of the eligible child for the year and the child lived with each parent at different times in the year (shared custody), both parents can claim a deduction for child care expenses incurred for the period the child lived with the parent.
If you reconciled before March 2, 2016, the individual with the higher income can claim child care expenses based on the number of weeks of separation.
Phil and Faith are married and have a six-year-old child. Faith has the higher net income; during the year, she incurred $3,500 in child care expenses.
In September, Phil and Faith separated. If Phil and Faith remain separated through December 31 and for the first sixty days of the following year, Phil will not be a supporting person. Faith will therefore be eligible to claim all the child care expenses she incurred.
If a separation occurs during the year, and the taxpayers are living separate and apart on December 31 but reconcile during the first 60 days of the following year, both parties are considered supporting persons. If the separation has lasted at least 90 days, the higher-income person can then claim child care expenses based on the number of weeks of separation.
Where can I learn more?
S1-F3-C1, Child Care Expense Deduction (Canada Revenue Agency website)