When will a court reduce child support arrears?

At one point, a payor father, who originally had a child support order issued against him based on imputed income, owed the mother over 600K in child support arrears. In a subsequent court action in 2006, he was successful in having these arrears lowered to 60K on the basis that the previous income imputed to him could not be substantiated.

The 60K of arrears was payable to the City of Toronto because the mother had assigned her interest in the arrears to the City. She was receiving social assistance at various points from 2006-2011.

When a parent is on social assistance because a payor isn’t paying their support, the municipality can then go after the payor directly to enforce payment of the arrears. The logic here is that taxpayers shouldn’t have to support a family when a payor chooses to disregard a child support order.

In 2015, the father applied again to the court in a motion to change to have the 60K of arrears owing to the City either rescinded or reduced.

From 2011- 2015, the father had been injured as a result of a car accident and was unable to work. Based on this evidence, the court rescinded all arrears of child support that were owing directly to the mother. These arrears arose from the 2006 judgment where the court ordered- in addition to fixing the arrears owing to the City of Toronto- that the father was to pay ongoing support to the mother.

However, at the time of the motion in 2015, 31K in arrears were still owing to the City of Toronto from the 2006 order.

The father’s request to have the arrears rescinded or reduced was denied. The judge didn’t feel the payor had presented compelling evidence to convince the court that his income during the period of 2006-2011 was different from the income that had been imputed to him in the 2006 order; he wasn’t doing what was necessary to improve his medical situation; he didn’t have a good attitude about paying support in the past and served jail time because of his non-compliance; he won lottery winnings in the past and didn’t pay anything towards his arrears; and, he was presently involved in an arbitration for accident benefits related to his car accident which could result in a significant monetary award in his favour.

The court ordered that the 31K arrears to the City of Toronto had to be repaid by the father at a rate of $150.00 per month. For each default in payment, the order specified that the father would go to jail for 3 days.