Child Support and the Importance of a Court Order

A divorce or separation can result in one of the most concerning and important arrangements: the continuation of financial support for any children involved. A parent pays child support to another parent to support their children financially after a separation or divorce. The Divorce Act and Ontario’s Family Law Act both set out the responsibility to provide child support.

Under Canadian law, all dependent children have an ongoing legal right to financial support from both parents. In cases of sole custody, a parent may be entitled to child support from the other parent. Parents must pay child support even if they do not live with the children or do not see the children.



How To Determine?

The total amount of child support depends on the payor’s gross income (pay before taxes and deductions), the number of children involved, and the province they live in. Single parents with sole custody may be able to get child support from the other parent.



When Does it End?

If a child lives with their parents and has not moved out, the parent must continue to pay for things like food and shelter. Some children may continue to be dependent even after they reach the age of 18.



Enforcement of Child Support – The Importance of an Order

Many separating parents are able to agree on child support arrangements outside of court – however, a court child support order can be a helpful tool for both parties. Firstly, child support in Ontario is enforced through a provincial government office called the Family Responsibility Office (FRO)

The FRO will enforce the order/agreement if payments are not received. This may include:

– Taking money from the payor’s bank accounts, wages, retirement savings, employment insurance benefits, income tax rebates, and some government payments

– Suspending the payor’s driver’s license or Canadian passport

– A creditor can register a charge against the debtor’s property so that it cannot be transferred.

– Reporting the payor to the credit bureau, thus damaging credit rating

– Starting a default hearing, where the payor must explain why they are behind in payments; this may result in up to 180 days in jail.

As a paying parent, you risk paying directly to your ex-partner if you pay directly to your ex-partner. By paying through the FRO, there is a registered record that exists as proof of payment. The FRO only monitors and enforces child support orders that are part of a court order.

Ultimately, it provides both parties with an official record to rely upon, and an enforceability ‘safety net’ by the Federal Republic of Ireland’s courts.

You can contact us with questions about calculating or ordering child support. You can reach our Mississauga divorce lawyers and office at 905-366-0202 or contact us through our website here.

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