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Collaborative law does not guarantee on-time support payments

Whatever a divorced couple's feelings may be for each other, if they have children, they are still obligated to maintain the welfare of the kids. For the non-custodial parent, this may be limited to simple financial support, but once ordered by a British Columbia court, it is still an obligation. Even parents who arrived at a settlement arrangement using collaborative law may find problems arising in the future.

Canadian television personality Mary-Jo Eustace and her ex-husband, actor Dean McDermott, divorced in 2006. The two have a son together who is now 18 years old. According to Eustace, McDermott has repeatedly defaulted on his child support payments, prompting her to sue him for the amount he owes.

In her affidavit, Eustace states her ex has missed every monthly payment since and including July 1, 2016. She is seeking $6,000, interest, and legal fees. She further states McDermott had previously withheld payments for two years, after which the two negotiated a new settlement, on which he also defaulted. The document asserts that he owes $100,800 between Feb. 1, 2017, and July 1, 2020.

Should a paying parent find he or she is unduly burdened by the obligation to pay child support because of a change in finances, that parent can apply to have the amount modified. It is not acceptable, or legal, to simply stop making payments. Whether awarded through litigation, or arrived at through the process of collaborative law, the requirement to pay support is legally binding. Any parent who is having trouble with a delinquent co-parent in British Columbia may choose to discuss matters with a lawyer.

Source: etcanada.com, "Dean McDermott's Ex-Wife Alleges He Owes Thousands In Unpaid Child Support", Brent Furdyk, Feb. 21, 2017

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