Experts say many support cases could be solved if people went to court
According to CBC News, nearly two-thirds of all child support payments across Canada are in arrears, with a total amount of $3.7 billion currently owing in child support. Meanwhile, another article by CBC News says that in British Columbia, the problem means that parents currently owe $538 million in the form of child support. Parents who owe money and avoid the legal system, however, may exacerbate the problem. Experts say that if many parents brought their cases to family court, then the payments would be either forgiven or recalculated to reflect changed circumstances.
Unpaid child support
Unpaid child support is a problem nationwide, and experts say that many of the programs designed to help families collect child support are seriously underfunded. In British Columbia, for example, there is just one enforcement officer for every 725 cases.
Nonetheless, courts in British Columbia do take unpaid child support very seriously and the consequences for people who don’t pay can be dire. Officials can, for example, deny passports and driver licences to parents who are behind on child support. Also, parents may find their assets seized or their wages garnished in order to pay the arrears. In the very worst cases, unpaid child support could lead to jail time. There are currently about 50 parents in jail in British Columbia because of child support arrears.
Ignoring the problem
One of the biggest problems, however, is that many parents who have been ordered to pay child support and fall behind fail to go back to court to explain why they cannot pay. Experts say that if parents just went to court, about a quarter of all payments in arrears would be forgiven.
Many parents, however, are fearful of the court system, thinking either that going to court will cost too much or that the court will be unsympathetic to their case. However, since the penalties for not paying child support are so severe, it is important for parents not to ignore the issue.
Understandably, the court system can often be an intimidating place and people who choose to represent themselves often find the system overwhelming. It is, therefore, important for parents to have strong legal representation on their side.
With an experienced family lawyer, parents will have the expertise they need when trying to deal with their child support or other family law issue. As the above article shows, when problems arise with child support, it is important not to ignore such problems. A qualified lawyer can help clients resolve such issues through diligence, compassion, and years of experience.