In Prince Edward Island, falling behind on your support payments could affect your credit rating:
P.E.I. has added another method to its toolbox for getting people to make support payments to children and ex-spouses: the threat of a bad credit rating.
A law allowing the department to report self-employed deadbeat parents to credit agencies was already on the books, but there were no guidelines about what information and how much could be shared with the credit agency, Coady-MacAulay said. For that reason the law was rarely used.
But with recent changes to the Maintenance Enforcement Act, the province hopes the possibility of a bad credit rating will be an incentive for business owners to pay up.
“They could report that default payer to a credit reporting agency and it can have an impact on the default payer’s rating,” Coady-MacAulay said.
The new measure will only be used as a last resort, she said, but now that the guidelines and procedures are in place, officials are ready to use them to get payments to people who need them.
In Ontario, failure to pay support could result in your car being impounded. Whether you believe this is fair or not, the lesson is clear: if, because of a lost job or other change of circumstances, your income has decreased and you can no longer afford to maintain your child (or spousal) support payments, see a lawyer immediately and commence a court application to vary the payments.
It may take some time for your application to be heard, but in my experience (in Nova Scotia), the Maintenance Enforcement Program will hold off garnishing your income or taking other punitive action if a variation application has been started. They will want regular updates on the situation, of course, but it’s important to make a good-faith effort to rectify the situation at once.