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Child custody cases facing harsher delinquency penalties

An eastern province is setting the stage for a massive overhaul of how Canadian law handles child support payments. Alberta residents might be interested to know that Nova Scotia is leading the way in cracking down on delinquent support in child custody cases. This move by the provincial government could influence how other provinces handle similar cases. 

To date, the province has taken some 19 people to court for a failure to pay child support to the parent with primary custody of a minor child. Statistics indicate that as of March 31, some $62 million in child support remains unpaid to custodial parents in the province, which has pushed the provincial government to increase oversight of this issue. In the intervening months, provincial workers have been able to collect around 84 percent of the amounts owed. 

In some cases, the province is unable to collect on outstanding payments. This is typically because the parent responsible for the payment is on financial assistance, which the province is not allowed to garnish for child support. However, in cases of proper delinquency wherein a parent is actively avoiding payments, the province has moved to crack down more harshly and ensure payments go where they are needed most: to benefit the children. 

Child custody can be a complicated part of any divorce, as Alberta residents are no doubt aware. Spousal and child support payments can be among the most contentious elements of a settlement. This is why it is so helpful for residents to seek out the support of qualified professionals in drafting these agreements in the first place, in order to ensure that provincial authorities are in a position to help if a former spouse enters delinquency. 

Source: CBC News - Nova Scotia, "Nova Scotia takes tougher stance on prosecuting delinquent child-support cases", Sherri Borden Colley, Sept. 1, 2016

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