Ontario parents who do not pay child support could be taking the bus this winter

A new law goes into effect on December 1st allowing for the removal of vehicles from people who commit certain offences. The punishment is expected for the majority of the offences, including driving with a suspended licence, driving with high blood-alcohol levels or not using court-mandated in-car breathalyzers.

However, people who fail to meet their child support obligations will now be treated the same as people driving while intoxicated: their car can be taken away.

While this punishment might make some people think twice about skipping a child support payment, there are sometimes legitimate reasons for falling behind. A divorced dads advocacy group founder commented in the National Post on the new law this week saying that, “There seems to be an idea that these parents don’t care or are hiding and they have all this money. It’s the exact opposite.”

In some cases the courts can be slow at recognizing changes in income or job situations, and parents might not be able to make those payments. As well, taking their car away can result in a chain reaction of not being able to get to work, not being able to make any money and not being able to make support payments.

Currently, a person who doesn’t pay their child support can have their licence suspended. As of December 1st, people who do not pay child support and have their licence suspended and are caught driving will lose their car for a week.

Another very important issue with this new law is that drivers are informed their licence is suspended by mail, meaning they could be driving while being completely unaware their licence is suspended and have their car taken; unable to get to work and make future payments.

Those who do not or cannot pay their child support may be in for a long, cold winter this year. If you have recently lost your job or have a reduced income, you may be facing problems in the future, and it would be wise to talk to a family lawyer.

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