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When Payor Is not Paying: How to Enforce Support Payments

January 17, 2019

If you have obtained a court order in Ontario in relation to child support and/or spousal support, and the payor has decided to stop making payments as ordered, there is no need to worry because the Family Responsibility Office (“FRO”) will step in to enforce support and take measures to obtain the payments as required.

If you have withdrawn from FRO enforcement because you trusted that support would be paid without the need to enforce same then you can re-register with FRO at the cost of $50.00 by submitting a Notice of Re-Filing Form.

The FRO is a government agency that enforces support payments pursuant to either a court order or a Separation Agreement.  The FRO will collect support from the payor and then deliver it to the recipient.  If the payor is not submitting payments (i.e. in default) then FRO is able to garnish wages, withdraw from the payor’s bank accounts, suspend their driver’s licence and/or passport and even commence a court action with the outcome being imprisonment.

If you have a court order from Ontario but the payor lives outside of the province, then the FRO can work together with similar government agencies in every province in Canada, every state in the USA and approximately 30 other countries worldwide, with which the FRO has an agreement, to enforce the support that is owed to the recipient.

As mentioned above, with a court order, enforcement and the involvement of the FRO is automatic unless the payor and the recipient have withdrawn.  You can also obtain the assistance of the FRO if trying to enforce support payments outlined in a Separation Agreement by taking the following steps:

  1. Attaching your Separation Agreement to a Form 26B: Affidavit for Filing Domestic Contract or Paternity Agreement;
  2. Filing the Affidavit with the court; and
  3. Completing and submitting the registration documents with the FRO

It can take several months for the FRO to get the enforcement process underway as there is paperwork to be completed and processed before steps can be taken, however, if there is a concern that the payor will default, then you should make use of this government agency.
The FRO will also only enforce support payments pursuant to a court order or Agreement, therefore, if subsequent agreements are made in relation to support (such as increasing or decreasing amounts to reflect changes in income or circumstances) it is important that a further court order or Agreement are entered into and submitted to the FRO to ensure that the support payments being enforced are up-to-date.

Also, when support is no longer payable, it is important that both payor and/or recipient, give notice to FRO of the termination of child support to ensure that support payments do not continue past either a spouse or child’s eligibility. This can be done by either submitting a Notice of Withdrawal from FRO Enforcement, a Notice to End Support or a Notice by Support Recipient of Unilateral Withdrawal Form.

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