One question that has come up frequently due to the coronavirus pandemic is what happens if an ex loses their job and is no longer able to make child support payments? Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done presently to address this situation.
The CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) that your ex is receiving does not account for child support payments. The CERB is working on options for families affected by this situation. There are also other options that your ex could pursue like loan deferrals, emergency fund programs, and utility and hydro payment freezes, and so on.
The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) and the Court will enforce the current child support order unless a change is requested by your ex and approved by the Court. They are still responsible for all missed payments, as well, at the current rate, until a modification is granted.
Part of the process the FRO and Court are using is whether your ex has pursued the different types of emergency relief programs currently available to free up the money to make child support payments. If they have exhausted these things and have attempted to continue to make payments during this unprecedented time, then the FRO and Court may grant a temporary order allowing for a reduction in child support payments.
Furthermore, the temporary order could contain language that protects your interests. For instance, your family lawyer could request that the difference between the reduced amount and original ordered amount be accumulated as arrears.
Further complicating matters it the backlog of outstanding Family Court cases requesting modifications to child support payments. While the Court is giving priority to urgent matters, other cases are going to have to wait until the Court can catch up.
However, since the Court considers the interests of children a top priority, it is possible the Court will handle support matters faster than other types of cases.
What Else Can I Do to Support My Children?
Custodial parents can also explore the same emergency relief programs to help reduce their household expenses. Even though you may not qualify for certain programs, taking advantage of ones that defer housing and utility payments could be the relief you need to get by financially until your ex can resume normal child support payments.
The other thing to remember is your ex may ask you to complete forms agreeing to a modification in child support payments. Before you agree to anything, take the time to consult with your divorce lawyer to ensure your children’s interests are protected.
If you refuse to agree to the change, your ex could still request a hearing in Court. Your ex will need to serve you a copy of all the forms and documents they submit to the Court for the requested modification in payments. If you receive these forms, notify your divorce lawyer immediately.
Even though we are in uncharted territory with the COVID-19 crisis does not mean your ex can get out of there financial responsibility to their children. If you have further questions and need help enforcing child support payments, please feel free to contact Davies Law Firm at (613) 688-0462 today!