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The place where I work is closed because of COVID-19 and I have no work. I don’t have money to pay support. What can I do?

Question
The place where I work is closed because of COVID-19 and I have no work. I don’t have money to pay support. What can I do?

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The place where I work is closed because of COVID-19 and I have no work. I don’t have money to pay support. What can I do?
Reviewed: 
March 23, 2020
Answer

If you have a court order to pay child or spousal support, or both, you’re still expected to pay it.

Usually, if you can’t pay child or spousal support you ask the court to change your court order by bringing a motion to change. But since March 16, 2020, Ontario family courts are open only for urgent matters because of COVID-19. A motion to change is not an urgent matter. 

You have some options. You can contact the person you pay support to and explain your situation. You can offer to pay part of your support payment from any savings you have. You can also offer to pay the balance once you’re back at work.

You may be able to get some financial help from the Federal government. For example, they’ve announced support for employees, employers, the self-employed, and many other groups during this time. When things get back to normal and you return to work, you can contact the Family Responsibility Office to make a plan to pay off any remaining payments. 

You may have to go back to court after this ends and bring a motion to change if:

  • you owe a large amount in support payments because of COVID-19
  • the job you have now pays much less than what you used to earn

A court may let you pay less in support payments because you weren’t responsible for this situation. But you will likely have to show what you did to get your job back once this ends, or what you did to find another job if you couldn’t get your old one back.

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