Written by Kara-Lynne Chapman
Enforcing Child and Spousal Support
The Family Responsibility Office (or FRO) is a government agency responsible for the enforcement of all child and spousal support orders in Ontario. FRO is also able to enforce the support provisions of a Separation Agreement as well so long as it has been filed with the court using a Form 26B (Affidavit for Filing Domestic Contract) which can be found here. There is no fee for the initial filing with FRO and they do not deduct a percentage from the support amounts enforced each month. If you withdraw from FRO and then wish to re-engage their services, there will be a mandatory administrative fee.
When FRO receives a new support order to be enforced, it will send out intake packages to both the support recipient and the support payor. The support recipient is required to provide information on any payments he/she has received up to the point of completing the document and will need to swear to the truth of those statements before a lawyer or commissioner of oaths. The support payor will be asked to provide payment information and will be given an opportunity to set up direct monthly payments to FRO. In the event that the support payor opts not to respond, FRO has the authority to garnish up to 50% of the support payor’s wages at source.
FRO has other enforcement options available to it as well, including having the support payor’s driver’s license suspended, having the support payor’s passport suspended, garnishing all government funds the support payor is otherwise entitled to (i.e. income tax refunds), and imprisoning the support payor. Child and spousal support arrears survive bankruptcy and there will be no reduction of the arrears amount in the event of imprisonment.
FRO is only able to enforce the support amounts specified in the Order or Agreement. FRO will not amend the amounts it collects until such time as a new Order or Agreement is put into effect. Further, FRO will not automatically terminate enforcement of support provisions even if a child turns 18 (or 28 for that matter). If you are uncertain whether the support amounts in your matter should be varied, we can review this with you during a consultation and provide guidance on the options available to you.
Navigating the issues of child and spousal support is difficult; we are here to help.