Nova Scotia

Joe Power, deadbeat dad, fails to show up for court; judge orders his arrest

A Nova Scotia judge has issued an arrest warrant for a father who owes tens of thousands of dollars in child support.

Father 'has been dishonest from the start of this proceeding,' earlier judge found

Angela Power intends to continue pursuing the outstanding child support payments her former husband Joe Power owes her. (CBC)

A Nova Scotia judge has issued an arrest warrant for a father who owes tens of thousands of dollars in child support.

Joe Power was found in contempt of court at the family division of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in July. He owes his wife and their two children more than $170,000 in outstanding child support payments. He was ordered to attend court for sentencing today, but didn't show up.

The court clerk attempted to reach Joe Power on the phone number he provided, but it had been disconnected.

CBC News was also unable to reach him. 

Judge Elizabeth Jollimore issued the bench warrant for his arrest to compel him to attend a sentencing hearing. She said she will sentence him when he's arrested and brought into custody.

Joe Power earlier said he didn't have enough money to pay what he owes. (Facebook)

Angela Power, his former wife, is pursuing the payments herself. She represented herself at today's hearing.

"He stood me up at court. I wish he'd stood me up at the altar," she joked outside of court.

She said the fact that she's "won on paper" and yet received no money shows the system does not deliver as it should.

"The system needs some work," she told CBC News. "There's all manner of ways to get out of paying your child support."

She plans to continue trying to enforce the orders, though she's certain her former husband has left Canada.

"I still have my sense of humour and my kids — I have great kids. I cannot even regret marrying that man because I have the best kids in the world," she said. "I don't allow this to define who I am."

'Abundance' of blameworthy behaviour

The case dates back to 1991, when Angela and Joe Power married. They had two children and divorced in 2005. He was initially found to have an income of $51,600 and ordered to pay $700 a month in child support.

In 2012, Angela Power asked the court to increase the amounts as she alleged he had not fully disclosed his financial information.

After extended legal proceedings, a judge agreed that he was earning more than $51,600.

Judge Mona Lynch said in 2013 that he in fact earned between $160,000 and $200,000 a year.

"It was apparent that Mr. Power had been dishonest with Ms. Power, the court and Revenue Canada about his income," she wrote.

Justice Lynch said he had "admitted lying in the sworn documents he filed with the court." Instead of earning about $52,000 as he first claimed, he admitted to earning $162,530. He also failed to disclose that after closing one business, he opened another.

"Mr. Power has been dishonest from the start of the proceeding and while he has admitted to some dishonesty, he is still not credible," Lynch found. 

"But by far the most blameworthy of his abundance of blameworthy conduct was that he watched while Ms. Power struggled to provide for the children and he did not increase the amount of child support although his income increased substantially."

In May 2013, he was order to pay retroactive child support of $171,786, covering 2007 to March 2013. He was also told to pay $3,242 a month beginning in April 2013.

Angela Power says he now owes more than $250,000. She says he has paid about $22,000 since spring 2013.

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