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Enforcement of Support Orders Made Outside of Ontario

June 24, 2019

Enforcement of support orders made outside of Ontario. Many clients want to know whether they can enforce a support order that was obtained in a jurisdiction outside of Ontario.

The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) enforces support orders in Ontario. The FRO has reciprocal enforcement agreements with all Canadian provinces and territories, every state in the United States, and approximately 30 other countries. These are called “reciprocating jurisdictions”.

Under the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act, 2002, support orders from reciprocating jurisdictions can be registered in Ontario for enforcement. Once registered, the support orders will be enforced in the same manner as to support orders made by an Ontario court.

The process for registering an order made in a reciprocating jurisdiction is as follows:

1. A copy of the order and information about the payor is sent to the designated authority in Ontario.

2. The Ontario court in the appropriate local jurisdiction registers the order, which then gives the order the same effect as if it had been made in Ontario.

3. The payor receives notice of the registration of the order and has 30 days to bring a motion to an Ontario court to have the registration set aside. This will only be granted if the court finds that one of the following has occurred:

a. the payor did not have notice of the proceedings in the court where the order was made or did not have an opportunity to participate; or

b. the order is contrary to public policy; or

c. the foreign court that made the order did not properly have jurisdiction.

4. Once the 30 day period has expired, the FRO will enforce the order.

It is also possible to register a support order that was made in a non-reciprocating jurisdiction. Generally, an Ontario court will make a determination about whether to enforce orders from non-reciprocating jurisdictions using the same considerations that are found in the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act. The court will consider whether the procedural basis for the order was lawful as well as whether the order is contrary to public policy.

A party who wants to enforce an order from a non-reciprocating jurisdiction must file an Application in the Ontario court and ask the court to make an order registering the foreign order in Ontario. The Application must include the facts upon which the foreign order was made. If the respondent wishes to defend the Application, he/she must file an Answer containing facts in support of his/her position that the foreign order should not be registered in Ontario.

This article is not intended to be legal advice and you should consult with a family law lawyer regarding any legal issue.

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