What Do I Do When My Spouse Misses a Child Support Payment?
Child custody and child support payments can be contentious issues between former spouses or partners during, and after, divorce proceedings. Since the care and support of your children remains the responsibility of both parents, regardless of marital status, it’s crucial that support payments are made consistently and on time. But what happens if the payor misses a payment?
The Family Responsibility Office
If your case is registered with the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) and you have not received a support payment in more than 30 days, contact FRO as soon as possible. In Ontario, FRO automatically receives orders from the court and, once the cases are registered, “helps more than 380,000 people every year by collecting and distributing support payments.”
In the event of missed or delayed payments, FRO will contact the payor to determine the reason for the delay and try to come up with a payment plan to continue support and make up for the missed amount. If those efforts prove unsuccessful, FRO can take enforcement actions against the payor.
As Your Law: Family Law in Ontario states, “Remember that the FRO is only a collection agency for support. It won’t review or try to change the child support terms of your agreement.” Contact a lawyer if you need the terms of your agreement changed.
Private Payment Arrangements
What should you do if support payments are missed and your case isn’t registered with FRO because you have a private agreement in place? Start by contacting your lawyer. Perhaps your former spouse has different financial circumstances due to an accident or loss of employment, which could mean drawing up revised terms. If, however, there is an outright refusal to pay, or if the delayed payment is the latest of an on-going issue, your lawyer can advise you about what further steps to take.
It’s important to not deny your former spouse access to the children even he or she is behind in paying support. As the Department of Justice points out, “child support and child access are separate issues.” If you’re looking for more information on child support, read our Ontario Child Support 101 article.
Are Your Child’s Support Payments Delayed?
If you are owed any support payments, a trusted lawyer can help. At Galbraith Family Law, we know how to make sure you arrive at terms and payments that are fair and that take care of your children’s needs.