What Happens if You Don’t Pay The Child Support?

August 25, 2021

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Child support refers to the term in which the parents of the child are obliged to maintain their child financially. The concept is not new. It has been initiated in favour of children whose parents either decide to get divorced or to get separated. 

Whenever divorce or separation of parents happens, the child has to suffer the most. When parents of a child start living separately, the child that was born from a bitter relationship does suffer a lot. Therefore, a need was felt to give the child support by the respective parents.

Most states believe that parents are equally responsible for supporting their children. Parents are expected to provide proper housing, food and basic amenities to their children. As the child grows, the needs of the child also grow exponentially. It will be unfair to a child to be raised with a lack of basic amenities in his life. This may affect a child mentally.

Also Read: How does child support work if mother has no job?

Failure to pay child support

Failure to pay child support in Canada can lead to serious consequences. For example, if you are behind on your payments for more than six months (or three months if the amount is $5000 or less), a court can issue an order depriving you of any passports that you may have. The same applies to credit, debit and charge cards.

In the case of passport denial, most provinces will also impose a denial period on your driver’s license. This means that if you fail to pay child support in Canada for six months or more, you risk not being able to drive for an extended period of time. In addition, the court can issue a fine of up to $5000 or prison time for up to six months.

See also  COVID-19 Custody Battles Create Challenges For Courts in Canada

What Else Can Happen If You Don’t Pay Child Support 

In a child support program, both parents need to collect consistent as well as timely child support payments. If parents don’t pay child support regularly or on time, legal authorities can take strict actions to collect due and monthly amounts.

These actions can affect the following:

Finances: The effect on finances include levy of financial accounts, withholding of income, withholding recurring payments such as salary, retirement including other federal payments.

Mobility: This includes suspension of licenses or even denial in the passport.

Public record: This includes a report of child support debts to credit bureaus and liens on the property.

How much do you have to owe in child support to go to jail?

According to the Federal Child Support Guidelines, if you have a combined net income of $20,000 or more and you are more than three months behind in payments, the court can order up to 15 days in jail for each month that you have failed to pay child support. For example, if your payments are six months overdue and your combined net income is $20,000 or more, you could be sentenced to up to one year in jail.

If your combined net income is less than $20,000 and you are more than six months behind on payments, the court can order up to 30 days in jail for each month that you have failed to pay child support. For example, if your payments are a year overdue and your combined net income is $15,000, you could be sentenced to up to four months in jail.

If you refuse to pay child support in Canada for the second time after being sent to jail for failure to do so on the first occasion, the court can sentence you up to 90 days in prison for each month that you have failed to pay child support. For example, if your payments are six months overdue and you have a combined net income of $20,000 or more, the court can order up to one year in jail.

See also  Alimony vs. Child Support: What's the Difference?

What if I fail to pay child support after I’ve been sent to jail?

If you fail to pay child support in Canada again after having been sent to jail, it is unlikely that you will be able to serve your sentence on weekends or receive early parole. Moreover, if this happens more than once, you are likely to serve the entire sentence and be denied any form of parole.

The court is not allowed to take your financial situation into consideration when ordering you to pay child support in Canada. Moreover, if you fail to pay child support in Canada as ordered by a judge, the amount that you must pay can be increased. You are also expected to pay all the costs related to enforcing the order, including legal fees.

What Happens If You Fail To Pay Child Support In Canada And Leave The Country?

If you fail to pay child support in Canada and leave the country with no intention of returning, you could be barred from re-entering on a number of grounds. First, you could be considered to have left Canada voluntarily, which means that you are no longer entitled to any social benefits. Second, if you leave the country with a child who is or was in receipt of support payments, this is likely to be seen as abducting your dependent children.

If the court believes that you have abducted your children in order to avoid paying child support in Canada, you could be prohibited from re-entering the country for up to ten years. However, the court will not make this decision based on your failure to pay just one or two support payments. If you fail to pay child support in Canada more than once, a judge can issue a lifetime ban on your return.

See also  Ways to Amend a Separation Agreement

True or false: failure to pay child support can result in the suspension of your license?

The Department of Transportation will suspend your driver’s license if you have failed to pay child support in Canada for six months or more. After 90 days without payment, your case is reviewed by the courts and a judge can order that your driver’s license be suspended for an additional 180 days.

Other Consequences Of Not Paying Child Support

Failure to pay child support can have serious consequences beyond jail time, driver’s license suspension, and the loss of your passport. If you fail to pay child support in Canada, the court may cancel all or part of the division of property awarded by an agreement or divorce judgment. In addition, if you are a parent who has failed to pay child support, the court may require that you pay your ex-spouse’s legal fees and costs associated with pursuing payment from you.

If you have failed to pay child support in Canada for six months or more, a judge could order that your wages be garnished. In addition, if your children live with you as part of an order or judgment, the court may order that your home be sold to pay off any outstanding child support in Canada arrears.

Finally, if you don’t pay the child support and you are incapable of working due to illness or injury, a judge could require that you establish a life insurance policy with a beneficiary being one of your dependents. This would ensure that your child receives the money owed, even if you are unable to work and earn an income.

If you have failed to pay child support in Canada and want to avoid going to jail or having your wages garnished, contact a Canadian family lawyer as soon as possible.