Kate Plus 8...Minus Child Support?

Life's no (TLC-sponsored) day at the beach when you're a divorced, unemployed father of eight - just ask Jon Gosselin. The reality star dad is back in the media this week after publicly complaining that he is struggling to pay rent due to his onerous child support obligation.

According to Radar Online, Gosselin fears that he will be imprisoned if he does not remain current with his child support payments. He is quoted as saying:

"I am a single father who's trying to make ends meet during a recession. What do I do - pay child support or rent? I need to support my kids, but I could lose my house, and I need my home to continue to have custody.”

Never one to shy away from the limelight, Kate Gosselin expressed surprise at her ex-husband's comments to the media, claiming that she had voluntarily withdrawn her claim for current or future child support payments, relieving her former co-star of his support obligation to the children.

If Kate has in fact withdrawn her claim for child support, the implications of this withdrawal for the children's future care and well-being are concerning at best.

In Canada, the Supreme Court has identified child support as being the right of the child. As such, it can't simply be waived or bargained away by the custodial parent.

In fact, where divorce proceedings are concerned, s. 1(1) of the federal Divorce Act states that it is the duty of the court to satisfy itself that reasonable arrangements have been made for child support, and to stay the granting of the divorce until such arrangements are made.

Moreover, parents are unlikely to be able to "contract out" of child support by way of a domestic contract. According to s. 56 (1.1) of Ontario's Family Law Act, the court may disregard any provision of a domestic contract that is unreasonable with respect to the Child Support Guidelines.

Clearly, Kate's "generous" withdrawal of her child support claim would be closely scrutinized by the courts in this province, with the likely result that Jon would be required to continue paying child support.

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