Child support is a legal obligation that parents have to provide financial support to their children. In Ontario, failing to pay child support can have serious consequences. In this article, we will explore what happens if you don’t pay child support in Ontario.
What is child support in Ontario?
Child support is the amount of money that a parent pays to the other parent or caregiver to help cover the expenses of raising a child. In Ontario, child support is usually calculated based on the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines take into account the income of both parents and the number of children they have. The amount of child support can be changed if there is a change in circumstances, such as a change in income or a change in the custody arrangement.
What are the consequences of not paying child support in Ontario?
There are several consequences of not paying child support in Ontario. Here are some of the most common:
1. Legal action
If a parent fails to pay child support, the other parent can take legal action. The recipient parent can file a motion to enforce the child support order, which will trigger a court hearing. At the hearing, the judge can order the parent to pay the child support arrears, which is the amount of child support that is owed. The judge can also order the parent to pay interest on the arrears and may order the parent to pay the legal costs of the other parent.
2. Wages garnishment
If the parent fails to pay the child support arrears ordered by the court, the other parent can apply for a garnishment order. This means that the court can order the parent’s employer to deduct a portion of the parent’s wages and send it directly to the other parent. The amount of the garnishment is based on the parent’s income and the amount of child support owed.
3. Driver’s license suspension
In Ontario, if a parent owes more than three months of child support, their driver’s license can be suspended. The suspension can last until the parent pays the arrears or makes an agreement to pay them.
4. Passport denial
If a parent owes more than $2,500 in child support arrears, the federal government can deny their passport application or renewal. The parent will not be able to travel outside of Canada until the arrears are paid or an agreement is made to pay them.
5. Seizure of property
If the parent owes a significant amount of child support arrears, the court can order the seizure of their property. This means that the sheriff can take and sell the parent’s assets, such as their car or house, to pay the arrears.
How can a parent avoid the consequences of not paying child support?
If a parent is unable to pay child support, they should immediately contact their lawyer or the court and explain their situation. The court may be able to change the child support order if there has been a significant change in the parent’s circumstances, such as a loss of income. If the parent is able to make partial payments, they should do so to avoid falling too far behind.
In conclusion, failing to pay child support in Ontario can have serious consequences. The other parent can take legal action, wages can be garnished, a driver’s license can be suspended, passports can be denied, and property can be seized. If a parent is unable to pay child support, they should contact their lawyer or the Ontario family court immediately to avoid these consequences. It’s important to remember that child support is a legal obligation, and failing to pay can have long-lasting effects on both the parent and the child.