Ontario Court Considers When Imprisonment is Appropriate for Non-Payment of Support Arrears

A recent Ontario decision examined both default hearings as well as how and when a jail committal order is appropriate to enforce spousal support and child support arrears. A History of the Parties The parties divorced in 2008, after approximately 21 years of marriage. They had two children (adults at the time of the hearing in this dispute). The Director of the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) was seeking enforcement of arrears stemming from six court orders including outstanding child support payments dating back to when the children were still minors, accrued and outstanding spousal support, and costs of more than $30,000. The total amount of arrears the FRO was seeking to enforce was $307,372.74 (consisting of arrears of support of $271,224.18, unpaid court costs of $33,732.72, interest of $15.84 and administrative fees of $2,400. The ex-husband claimed that he did not have the ability to comply with any of the orders to pay, nor did he have the ability to pay the…

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