The Ontario family courts award child support when there are children involved in a divorce based on the amount of the parental income. Child support is determined by a basic formula, but it can be adjusted for special circumstances such as extraordinary expenses, or the amount of time shared by the parents.
If you’re not sure if your situation is likely to include a child support order, our lawyers can help. We can go over the details of your case, including your income and number of children, and help you understand how much support you may be paying–or receiving–and what needs to be done to get a support order in place.
How Long Do You Have to Pay Child Support?
Child support orders usually stay in effect until the child has reached the age of 18. However, in some cases, the support order may also continue to be active if the child goes on to pursue a college degree. Child support orders can also be terminated early if the child is no longer considered a dependent for legal purposes. The amount of time the child support order is valid should be explicitly listed in the paperwork.
What Happens if You Don’t Pay Child Support?
If you don’t pay your child support payments as ordered, you are considered delinquent. If you fall far enough behind, the Family Responsibility Office can garnish your bank account or take part in any federal government payments to catch you back. In serious cases, it is also possible for your driver’s license and passport to be suspended or a lien to be put against your property.
What Can I Do if I’m Behind on Child Support?
If you are already behind on your child support or you are concerned that you won’t be able to make your payments, it’s important to contact the Family Responsibility Office as soon as possible. They can help you set up a payment plan to get caught up and avoid further penalties, and they may be able to offer guidance on whether your circumstances qualify for the child support order to be modified.
Not paying child support can have serious consequences, and it’s important not to just let your payments go. Child support continues to accrue while you’re not paying and can include fines and other fees. If you don’t think you are going to be able to pay your child support or feel that the support order amount is beyond your means, it’s time to talk with an Ontario family law lawyer. Our lawyers help clients in the Toronto area understand child support orders and what to do if they fall behind on support.