Dear Barb—Divorced Developments

Dear Barb:

I am a single parent of three children in Ontario, and I have been divorced for five years.  My ex and I got along great until he met his present wife.  She has a child of her own and seems to want to shut my kids out of their dad’s life.  The kids are terribly upset and rarely see their father anymore.  I hate that this happened to my kids.  Also, my ex has not paid his child support for the last three months.  He says that since he got married, he can’t afford to pay it.  I have tried to be understanding, but this is affecting my children’s lives.  I am afraid if I pursue this issue in court, my ex will stop seeing his children and I don’t want that to happen.  I feel like I am stuck and don’t know what to do.  I believe my ex loves his kids and he has been a good father until his present wife became involved.  Looking for some advice on what the right thing is in this situation.   

Thanks, Dawn.

Hello Dawn:

Thanks for your email.  The right thing to do is for parents to support their children, both emotionally, mentally, and financially.  Just because your ex has a new family does not mean he can stop supporting his children.  The law in most provinces is fairly clear about that.  However, if a person’s situation changes and he establishes a new family, the amount of child support may be adjusted.

The only way a support order can be changed is through a judge, until then the original support order is in place and the parent must continue payments as set out.  You and your ex can decide together to change the amount and if you cannot come to a mutual figure, then the judge will decide according to Government of Canada’s Child Support Table.

For example, if a paying parent has a gross annual income of $100,000 and has 2 children and they reside in Ontario, the child support payment would be $1,471 per month.  Support orders vary slightly from province to province, but the basic premise is the same.  In Ontario, the Family Responsibility Office was created to enforce support payments.  They are responsible for collecting payments and sending them to the other parent.  If payments are missed the Family Responsibility Office may garnish wages or take money out of bank accounts or even suspend a person’s driver’s license.  Therefore Dawn, you do have a few options available.  As far as your ex not seeing his children, that is unfortunate and if he chooses that option, he will come to regret it.