Wife to sue Ontario Family Responsibility Office for suicide of man who couldn’t pay child support

By heather - Last updated: Monday, December 6, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

New Ontario child support enforcement is a Catch-22

The Government of Ontario has taken new steps to enforcing child support payments, namely the most recent: driver’s licenses can be suspended for not paying child support, and cars can now be impounded – removing the ability for payers to get to work at all to earn the money to make payments.

In late August, a London, Ontario man committed suicide by laying down on nearby train tracks. His common-law wife is planning on launching a lawsuit against the Ontario Family Responsibility Office, whom she holds responsible for his death.

The man’s ex-wife and mother of his two now-adult children (ages 18 and 21) owns a home, a car, and has a job, and the man had been paying child support since 1996. A truck driver, the man had recently become unemployed and missed two support payments, which began a downward spiral of events that prevented him from ever catching up.

License suspended for not paying child support

Work soon became available, but the man’s commercial license was suspended by the Ontario Family Responsibility Office, who demanded a $1,500 payment to reinstate the license. Without a license, he could not earn the money to get his license back and no negotiating with the Family Responsibility Office got him anywhere – not even when it was done on his behalf by an MPP or an ombudsman.

Eventually, he represented himself when the Family Responsibility Office took him to court and demanded $10,000 or almost 200 days in jail – both options that would severely impede his ability to get his license back and continue making child support payments – all for $4,000 in child support payments.

Facing child support payment problems in Ontario?

The Ontario Family Law system is notoriously slow to recognize changes in income for child support-paying parents. Now that the stakes are even higher and a missed payment can result in loss of income, consult a family lawyer to discuss your child support options.


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