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Family and Divorce

Question:

My former spouse is supposed to pay child support for our two children. I have custody of them. My "ex" rarely pays the amount the judge ordered, it is always late, and says that if I complain about it anymore I will be cut off altogether. Can my "ex" do this?

Answer:

No. Your "ex" should not be doing this.

Many former spouses will use child support as a way of "getting back" at an ex-spouse, but this is not the purpose of child support.

The purpose of child support is to provide assistance with the support and maintenance of the children. Courts have long recognized that the costs of raising a child involve more than clothing and food. A custodial parent has to house the children, feed them, look after their physical and emotional needs and provide for all of life's little extras which make childhood so special. Judges recognize that the cost of raising children rarely is met by child support payments, and the custodial parent really needs the money in order to assist with all of the household expenses.

A custodial parent does not have to allocate child support to children's individual expenses; rather, it is sufficient that the custodial parent has the money and is able to spend it at the custodial parent's discretion.

If there is a court Order in place for child support, and if your "ex" is late in paying or does not pay the proper amount, then you should consider enrolling with the Maintenance Enforcement Program. This is part of the Nova Scotia government that oversees the supervision of child support orders. The Maintenance Enforcement Program will keep track of the payments your "ex" is making, and if it is in arrears or the payments are late, they may pursue your "ex" for payment. The Maintenance Enforcement Program has the authority to garnishee your "ex's" wages, go after bank accounts and otherwise try and get the money you are owed.

For most couples, child support is not a problem. For most, the non-custodial parent will simply provide the custodial parent with a series of post-dated cheques. Another popular arrangement is to simply have the amount of child support taken off a paycheque, much like any other deduction comes off a paycheque. In this way the correct amount is removed every month, and goes to the custodial parent.

muttarts law firm
Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada
t. 902.678.2157 • f. 902.678.9455

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