As a parent, your child’s well being should be your top priority. When a relationship ends, it’s important to make sure that both parents continue to contribute to the child’s financial needs, even if they are no longer together. This is why child support exists.
However, what happens if you don’t pay child support in Canada?
In this blog post, we’ll explore the legal consequences of failing to pay child support and how you can avoid them.
What is Child Support in Canada?
Child support is a legal obligation for parents to provide financial support to their children, particularly in cases where the parents are separated or divorced. In Canada, child support is regulated under federal law, and the amount of support that a parent is required to pay is determined based on a set of guidelines that take into account the income of the paying parent, the number of children involved, and the custody arrangements.
The purpose of child support is to ensure that children receive the financial support they need to meet their basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Child support is also intended to help maintain the child’s standard of living, particularly in cases where the parents’ income levels are significantly different.
Child support payments are typically made to the parent who has primary custody of the child, although in some cases, payments may be made directly to the child if they are over the age of majority.
What Happens if You Don’t Pay Child Support?
If you fail to pay child support in Canada, there are several legal consequences you may face. Here are some of them:
The first step that the government can take to enforce child support payments is to garnish your wages. This means that a portion of your paycheck will be automatically deducted to pay for the child support you owe.
Your driver’s license, professional license, or passport may be suspended if you fail to pay child support. This can make it difficult for you to work or travel.
Seizure of Property
The government can seize your property, such as your car or house, to pay for the child support you owe.
Contempt of Court
If you refuse to pay child support, you may be held in contempt of court, which could result in fines or even jail time.
In extreme cases, you could face criminal charges for failing to pay child support.
If you miss child support payments, interest charges may accrue on the amount owing. This means that the amount you owe will continue to grow until it’s paid in full.
Failing to pay child support can also negatively impact your credit score, which can affect your ability to get loans or credit cards in the future.
If you’re taken to court for failing to pay child support, you may be responsible for paying your own legal fees as well as those of your ex-partner.
Change in Circumstances
If your financial situation changes, such as a job loss or a decrease in income, you should inform the government agency responsible for enforcing child support as soon as possible. You may be able to have your child support payments adjusted accordingly.
Communication is key when it comes to child support. If you’re having trouble making payments, it’s important to communicate with your ex-partner and the government agency responsible for enforcing child support. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse.
Non-Payment and Visitation
It’s important to note that child support payments are separate from visitation rights. Even if you’re not making child support payments, you still have a legal obligation to allow your child to have contact with their other parent, as long as it’s in the best interests of the child. Refusing visitation can also result in legal consequences, such as fines or even jail time.
If you believe that your child support order is unfair or incorrect, you may be able to appeal the decision. However, it’s important to note that the appeals process can be time-consuming and expensive.
It’s usually best to try to work out any issues with your ex-partner or the government agency responsible for enforcing child support before resorting to an appeal.
There are several payment options available for child support, including automatic deductions from your paycheck or bank account, online payments, and payments through the mail.
It’s important to choose a payment option that works best for you and to make payments on time and in full.
The government has several measures at their disposal to enforce child support payments, including seizing tax refunds, suspending government benefits, and placing liens on property.
It’s important to take these measures seriously and to make child support payments a priority.
How to Avoid These Consequences
To avoid these consequences, it’s important to make your child support payments on time and in full. If you’re having trouble making payments, you should contact your ex-partner or the government agency responsible for enforcing child support to discuss your options. You may be able to negotiate a payment plan or a reduction in the amount of child support you owe.
If you’re facing financial difficulties, you should also consider seeking the help of a financial advisor or credit counselor. They can help you create a budget and manage your debts, so you can make your child support payments.
Failing to pay child support in Canada is a serious matter, and it’s important to take it seriously. If you’re having trouble making payments, you should seek help as soon as possible to avoid legal consequences.
Remember, your child’s financial wellbeing is important, and it’s your responsibility as a parent to provide for them, even if you’re no longer with their other parent.