The topic of child support can be a sensitive one. On one hand, many people recognize the importance of providing financial stability to their children in the event of separation or divorce. However, there are instances when a parent who is obligated to make child support payments fails to do so. News recently broke from Nova Scotia regarding an ongoing child support battle that involved a-half-million-dollars, multiple countries and Canada-wide arrest warrants.
Father accumulates almost $500,000 in child support arrears
As reported by CBC News, the parents involved in the dispute lived in Nova Scotia. They had two children while together, though both children are now independent adults in their 20s. For the first eight years following their separation, the father made voluntary child support payments of $700 per month. This continued until 2013 when the mother provided the courts with documentation showing that his income was higher than previously reported. The father claimed he wasn’t as wealthy as the mother was stating. The court sided with the mother and issued an order to increase the child support payment to $3,242 per month.
The father not only refused to make increased payments as required by the courts, but he also refused to make any payments at all. He was found to be in contempt of court, as a result, but he fled to Denmark. He stayed in Denmark for a number of years, all while his arrears built up. It was only in 2019 that his passport was revoked. This led to his deportation from Denmark back to Canada.
Father returns to Canada but still refuses to pay child support
Despite being forced to return to Canada, the father still avoided making child support payments. In fact, the CBC’s story reports that authorities were unable to locate him for two years, even as he called into court proceedings while refusing to reveal his location. This resulted in a Canada-wide arrest warrant being issued. He was arrested in November 2020 and was eventually sentenced to over four years in prison. He was released just this September after he and the mother finalized a settlement.
Mother receives child support owed
The mother was understandably elated to recoup some of the money that had been owed to her. She told the CBC that one of the first things she did with the money was pay off the children’s student loans, totalling over $100,000.
The father claimed he never should have been ordered to pay such a high amount of child support, telling CBC “I’ve given everything I have, and my current wife has given up everything she has to settle this — something we attempted to do long ago. As I had claimed all along, and contrary to allegations, the matrimonial home was found to be our only asset,” adding “It took months of my incarceration for parties to accept that the claims of my alleged wealth were unfounded works of fiction.”
However, the court was not sympathetic to the father’s experience, stating, “If (the father) has no money now it’s because in all those months when he wasn’t paying child support, the money was being spent.”
The court said that parents too often pay nothing in child support if they disagree with an order rather than paying at least what they were paying before, or what they claim to be able to pay. This, of course, prejudices the children, who are innocent victims of such behaviour.
Mother’s legal battles are not over
While the mother was relieved to receive the money that was owed to her, she also has an active lawsuit open against the Nova Scotia Justice Department, who she alleges did not act quickly enough to enforce the child support orders, allowing the father to continue not to pay her. However, the lawsuit was delayed after the government filed a motion asking for the father to be added as a defendant.
For information about child support payments, contact the experienced family lawyers at Howie Johnson Barristers & Solicitors in Windsor
To speak with an experienced Windsor family lawyer about child custody or support, call 519.973.1500, or contact us online. Many of our clients are referred to us by former and current clients, and also by lawyers, counsellors and other professionals.