There are many reasons why fathers making child support payments might find themselves in default.
Sometimes the father is facing personal financial problems that make it impossible for him to pay, other times he might be motivated by anger or other unresolved feelings- regardless of the cause, child support defaults can have a catastrophic impact on the lives of the mother and children.
What to Do If Your Partner Stops Making Child Support Payments
In the unfortunate case where a father is neglecting his responsibilities, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. The government takes childcare payment defaults very seriously- including rules, processes and enforcement powers designed to help you collect what he owes.
Childcare enforcement is led in Ontario by a government agency called the Family Responsibility Office. The FRO was notified about your child support payments when the court made its decision. The group acts as a middleman between parents, collecting child supports from one parent, recording the payment was made, and relaying the money to the other.
When a parent misses a child support payment it is the FRO’s job to help get them back on track. Their first step is to notify the delinquent parent about their missed payment. If their efforts have been unsuccessful, the FRO has the power to take options that might compel them to live up to their responsibilities:
- The FRO might decide to garnish the father’s wages and assign the father interest charges for the money they owe to you.
- The FRO is able to take action to garnish payments from the federal government, including income tax refunds and unemployment insurance.
- Extra pressure can be applied to a delinquent father by suspending his driver’s license or passport.
- The FRO can seize bank accounts and other assets from the father and use the proceeds to make up for his arrears.
- Delinquent fathers might find their credit scores damaged after the FRO reports failed payments to credit bureaus.
What If He Can’t Afford to Make Child Support Payments?
In situations where the father genuinely can’t afford to make child support payments due to personal hardships or personal tragedies, a decision might be made to reduce his payment obligations. There are two ways this might happen:
- Both parents have might agree to a lower payment through a negotiation and settlement process.
- In cases where the previous step has failed your case might be referred to the courts, allowing a judge to make the final decision.
One very important thing you’ll need to consider if you find yourself in this situation is that the province of Ontario has very strict rules about separating child support delinquency issues from a parent’s right to visitation. Any attempt you make to keep the father away from your child might have a very negative impact on your case, and equally could be unfair to your children.
An important rule to follow throughout your attempt to collect is that if you have any doubts it’s important to speak with someone with the knowledge and experience to help you understand- it might be time for you to get a lawyer.
Need Help With Child Support? We Can Help!
Some people don’t retain legal counsel when determining child support. As a result, they feel bullied and that the arrangement is completely unreasonable.
For any arrangement to work, the terms need to be reasonable and enforceable. Our family lawyers know how to make sure you arrive at terms and payments that are fair and that the children’s needs are taken care of and are in accord with the law.
If you need help with child support or spousal support, please call us in Barrie at 705-302-1102 or Orillia at 705-418-0901 or Newmarket at 289-802-2433 or complete the Request a Consultation form on the right.