I've spent the last few days at the Federation of Law Societies of Canada's fantastic national Family Law Program where I learned of a nifty new service designed to facilitate document disclosure where child support is paid.
In Ontario, I understand, recent legislative amendments have made the annual disclosure of certain financial documents — tax returns, notice of assessment, pay stubs and so forth — mandatory where there is an order for child support. (The point of this is to give everyone the information they need to keep the amount of child support up to date, as well as the parties' shares of the children's special expenses.) This same obligation exists in British Columbia and all other provinces as a result of s. 21 of the Child Support Guidelines, which gives the recipient of support, and sometimes the payor, the right to demand the production of certain documents not more than once per year, but the obligation only arises when the demand is made unless an order or agreement makes annual disclosure mandatory. (The agreements I draft normally include an automatic disclosure provision to protect both parties against arrears building up.)
Given the new regulatory climate in Ontario, the new service, Support Information eXchange, run by Ontario lawyer Michael Marra and found at www.yoursix.ca, makes a certain amount of sense. As understand it, the service acts as an online repository where the parties can post and print their financial documents over the life of the child support order. The service will send an alert by email when new documents are posted and keeps a record of when the documents were posted. The cost is $50 per year.