What If I Lose My Job And Can’t Pay Child Support During COVID-19?

If you have a court order to pay child or spousal support, or both, you’re still expected to pay it.  There are no free rides.  Usually, if you can’t pay child or spousal support you ask the court to change your court order by bringing a motion to change. But since the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario family courts are open only for urgent matters.  A motion to change is not considered to be an urgent matter.  There are some options available nonetheless.  For example, you can contact the person you pay support to and explain your situation, or you can offer to pay part of your support payment from any savings you have or you can also offer to pay the balance once you’re employed again.  You may also be able to get some financial help from the Federal government.    When things get back to normal and you return to work, you can contact the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) to make a plan to pay off any remaining payments.   You may have to go back to court after this crisis ends and bring a motion to change if: you owe a large amount in support payments because of COVID-19 or a new job you have now pays much less than what you used to earn.    A court may let you pay less in support payments because you weren’t responsible for this situation. But you will likely have to show what you did to get your job back once this ends, or what you did to find another job if you couldn’t get your old one back.  As usual, there are no free rides and the house usually wins unless you are deploying clever, thoughtful strategies in addition to have taken steps to mitigate your situation.  Should you find yourself in this situation or wish to speak with a family lawyer then call my office at 905-789-9007 for a free confidential consultation or email me at avi@baratzlaw.com.

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