Family Law Blog

What Do I Do If My Ex Won’t Give Disclosure for Child Support? Can I Get Back Child Support?

Not providing disclosure is a bad strategy for avoiding and obligation to pay increased child support.  A support recipient may be able to go a long way back in time to collect the support that the other parent should have paid.

Section 24.1 of the Child Support Guidelines creates a legal obligation for support payer to provide their income information every year.  It is not optional. 

Disclosure is the starting point for any family court proceeding in relation to any money matter, including child support.   In Spring 2015, Rule 13 of the Ontario Family Law Rules changed to make providing disclosure a mandatory first step in any Ontario Family Court proceeding.  This page explains the new rules regarding disclosure, including a list of everything that is required.  As explained on that page, a child support payor is required to give all the documents that are necessary to determine his or her child support obligations. 

When one parent starts court proceedings, the other parent has to provide the documents related to his or her income almost immediately.  If the support paying parent does not, section 22(1) of the Child Support Guidelines says that the court can draw inferences about your that parent’s income and make an order for increased support based on other considerations, such as that parent’s lifestyle.  Alternatively, the judge could make an order that the parent provide disclosure. If the parent still does not comply, section 24 of the Child Support Guidelines says that, in addition to making an order for increased support based on the fact of non-disclosure, a judge could find that parent in contempt of court (and possibly fine or imprison him or her) or order that parent to pay the legal fees of the innocent parent.

The parent receiving support may feel uncertain as to what to do if he or she is not certain that the support paying parent’s  income has gone up?  A parent receiving (the wrong amount of) support may not want to hire a lawyer and start proceedings to change support without knowing if he or she will get more support.   The changes to the Family Law Rules assist with that too.

34 - Financial Disclosure in Family Law Cases

10 - Child Support - Who Pays and How Much?

Since 2010, Ontario Child Support Orders have included a clause that specifically requires the parties to provide income information to each other on an annual basis.  If a parent  has asked, in writing, for that information and has not received it within 7 days, that parent can use Rule 13(11) and 13 (11.1).   Those Rules allow a parent entitled to support (or to share in special expenses) to bring a “14B” motion in writing (no court appearance necessary) to get an order that the other parent provide the missing disclosure.  That is a simple lost cost procedure.  If your the paying parent still does not provide disclosure, the other parent can start new proceedings to ask for increased support on that basis, or bring a contempt motion.

11 - Child Support's Special and Extraordinary Expenses

When a spouse hides increases in income by not providing disclosure, judges can adjust support retroactively a long way back.   For a full explanation, see this page on how far back in the past child support can go.   To summarize, a parent receiving child support may be able to get child support increased back to the date that he or she can prove he or she asked the other parent for income information and the child support paying parent did not provide it.  That request can be by email to text message.  A parent just needs proof of the date he or she made the request.  In a case called DBS v SRG the court emphasized that child support is the right of the child.  Unless the parent receiving support gave the paying parent some reason to believe that the receiving parent did not want any changes to child support, and the paying parent relied on that in making financial decisions, child support can go backwards for as long as the paying parent hid income.  The receiving parent can even ask for interest on the missing support.

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If you think your ex’s income may have gone up a long time ago, speaking to a top Ontario family law and child support lawyer is likely a good investment.  Remember that in Canada, your legal fees to obtain or enforce support may be tax-deductible. 

Listen to this series of podcasts for more information on child support generally to make sure the amount of support is right.

You can get a lot more information about child support, the process to change a support order, and all the law involved (as well as information on most other Ontario Family Law issues) by downloading this $9.99 e-book for KindleKobo, or iPad/iPhone/Mac or ordering the paperback version. You can learn a  more about the family court process in general by watching this video or listening to these podcasts (iTunes version here).  But, to makes sure you are doing the right thing, and the support amount is right, it s always best to speak with a good family law lawyer. To get in touch with Certified Specialist in Family Law, John Schuman, who is an expert in child support issues, call 416-446-5847, 
email him, or use the form below. We answer all inquiries promptly.

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