Offices in Ottawa and Perth
(613) 722-1500

CONTACT US (613) 722-1500

Prison Time for Not Paying Child Support

Prison Time for Not Paying Child Support

By:

Posted January 18, 2021

A recent Nova Scotia case is making headlines as a man owing a minimum of $250,000 in court-ordered child support has been sentenced to prison for four and a half years.

Mr. Power, an IT professional who earned an estimated $260,000 per year, paid minimal child support for his two children. From 2007 until 2015, he had paid approximately $22,000 of the approximate $247,000 owed in child support. As a result of the court proceeding started against him and his avoidance of paying the support he owed, he was soon found in contempt of a court order. Rather than attend to his court hearing on the issue, Mr. Power moved to Denmark. Since that time he reduced his minimal payments further and then completely stopped child support payments in 2018.

As a response to his actions, the Court suspended his driver’s license and passport. The authorities in Denmark were notified and he was later deported back to Canada in February 2019. He was arrested in Quebec thereafter.

The December 2020 decision, made by Justice Jollimore of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, is one of the longest prison sentences ever ordered for someone violating child support orders.

His actions and behaviour were described as ‘shameful’ and ‘egregious’ by the court both towards his children, his former spouse, and towards the court itself.

The case suggests, however, that if Mr. Power pays the child support he owes, then he would not go on to prison. Ms. Power’s lawyer suspects that he will make this payment soon.

This is arguably a landmark decision as it goes to show what can happen to those litigants who do not follow court orders and the risks they then expose themselves to. The court was clear that the penalty for Mr. Power’s contempt needed to coerce him to comply with the order and pay the child support owed. It was also to be at a level of severity that would denounce his conduct and deter him, and others, from acting in a similar way in the future.

On a more sombre note, the Power family’s case also shows that child support recipients may need to push to reach these extreme limits before they see a payment come their way. This can mean significant legal fees, time, and energy spent – things that, after a while, even a parent entitled to receive child support might need to abandon. Here, Ms. Power asked the court to order that there be an additional fine made payable by Mr. Power, and that he pay her costs, plus interest. The court found these disproportionate to the already existing penalty awarded and these were not ordered.

This blog post was written by Olivia Koneval, a member of the Family Law team.  She can be reached at 613-369-0367 or at olivia.koneval@mannlawyers.com.

More Resources

Blog |
Wills, Trusts and Estates

By: 

Posted May 17, 2022

I am often asked the question of whether the will-maker should disclose the contents of their will to their beneficiaries.  In some situations, the will-maker[...]
Blog |
Real Estate

By: 

Posted May 10, 2022

The More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022 (“Bill 109”) received Royal Assent on April 14th, 2022. Some sections of Bill 109 will come “into force”[...]
Blog |
Real Estate, Wills, Trusts and Estates

By: 

Posted May 3, 2022

As we all know, house prices are skyrocketing in the region, and this in turn has resulted in parents providing assistance to children who are[...]
Blog |
Employment, Labour, and Human Rights

By: 

Posted April 26, 2022

The mediator’s reaction to my client’s disclosure that she had secretly recorded her conversation with her boss was one of dismay.   He made it clear[...]
Blog |
Family Law

By: 

Posted April 25, 2022

Family law litigation can be a particularly complicated and expensive legal endeavor exacerbated by the emotional difficulties of a fractured relationship. These matters become even[...]
Blog |
Real Estate

By: 

Posted April 14, 2022

What is the Federal Budget? Every year the Department of Finance is tasked with balancing the revenue and expenses of the Government of Canada. As[...]

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Name*
Consent*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.