What are the consequences for not paying child support?




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Parents in Alberta who are ordered to pay child support must comply with the court order to avoid facing serious consequences. If a parent fails to make payments, the federal, provincial and territorial governments could use a number of enforcement measures to secure payments.

One of the ways that child support payments can be seized from an individual is through federal payments. If a parent who owes back child support has money coming to them from the federal government, this money may be redirected towards repayment of child support debt. The money could be taken from a person’s income tax refund, employment insurance benefits, federal government employee wages or federal pension benefits.

A parent who has unpaid child support debt may also have their Canadian passport suspended. If the parent goes to apply for a new passport, the application may be denied. Certain federal certifications, including aviation and marine licenses, may also be suspended or denied. These types of enforcement measures are only taken against a parent that has missed at least three payments or owes at least $3,000 in back child support. Failure to return a suspended passport in a timely manner could result in a person being fined or sent to jail for as long as six months.

Child support payment enforcement measures could have a serious impact on a person’s ability to earn a living. If a parent has gotten behind on child support because they cannot afford to make the payments, they might want to speak to a child custody and support lawyer about applying for a modification of the child support order. A lawyer may be able to help the parent gather evidence of a change in their income.


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