Where there is an existing child support agreement and a payor is subsequently laid off, the payor can seek to decrease monthly child support payments. Whether or not a decrease is granted often depends on the efforts made by the payor to mitigate job loss.
As confirmed in Tillmanns v. Tillmanns on November 21, 2014, the Ontario Superior Court held that it is less concerned with every option available to the payor and focuses its inquiry on whether the actions of the payer following job loss were reasonable. Reasonableness depends on several factors, including the payor’s experience and qualifications, the state of the current job market, and the efforts made by the payor to secure new employment.
If the court finds a payor’s efforts lacking, it may find the payor intentionally unemployed and impute an income, or deny the application to lower child support all together. In addition to the payor’s actions following loss of employment, the court also takes into consideration the options available to the payor at the time of lay-off.
When a severance package is offered, the court will examine whether the payor acted in good faith by accepting a severance in lieu of other options such as a right to re-call. Moreover, the amount of severance received factors into a payor’s request to reduce support as well. However, it is possible to receive a substantial severance and still base child support payments on a payor’s current reduced income. There are many factors that the court considers when seeking to reduce child support as a result of an unexpected change in employment.
To ensure appropriate payments are being made, kindly schedule a free consultation with one of our associates and learn more about your support rights and obligations following a lay-off.