In Ontario, the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is responsible for enforcing child support payments. Conveniently, court orders dealing with support are automatically filed with the FRO. Additionally, if support is calculated using the online Child Support Service, the Ministry of the Attorney General automatically files the Notice of Calculation with the FRO. The FRO will then reach out to parents.
Alternatively, domestic agreements dealing with child support can be filed by parents to the FRO after filing with the court.
The FRO ensures that the payor parent makes the appropriate payments to the FRO who can deposit support payments directly into the recipient’s account. If you are a recipient parent and you do not receive payment in more than 30 days, you should immediately contact the FRO.
What information does the FRO require?
The FRO will require up-to-date information of the payor parent, including:
- Full Name
- Social Insurance Number
- Place of Employment
- Income; and
- Any property the payor parent owns
Both parents need to update the FRO with any changes in their personal information.
What if the payor parent does not live in Ontario?
The FRO is a provincial maintenance enforcement program that has agreements with every Canadian province and territory, and 30 other countries. The FRO will ensure that support payments are enforced regardless of whether the payor parent resides in Ontario.
How does the FRO collect unpaid support?
The FRO will first try to develop a payment plan with the payor parent while continuing ongoing support payments.
If the payor parent does not agree to a payment plan, the FRO program will collect unpaid support by:
- Deducting the payments automatically from wages or other income (e.g. Employment Insurance, Workers’ Compensation, income tax refunds, severance pay, and pensions)
- Registering a charge, or a lien, against their personal property or real estate
- Garnishing bank accounts, or up to half of a joint bank account that they have with someone else
- Making an order against anyone who is helping them hide income or assets that should go toward support
- Reporting the payor to the credit bureau
- Suspending or denying provincially issued licences such as a driver’s licence; and
- Requesting the federal government suspend passports and certain federal marine and aviation licences
Can the FRO make changes to support orders?
The FRO cannot make any changes to support orders. To change a support order, a parent must file a Motion to Change form with the appropriate court. Our experienced lawyers can help you through this process.
What if I withdrew from the program or did not register?
If you withdrew from the program, you can re-file to have your case re-opened and enforcement resumed.
You need a court order or an agreement with your spouse in order to register for the FRO. You will need to file this agreement with the Ontario Court of Justice and then register with the FRO.
What alternatives are there to the FRO?
Other court processes are available to help recipient parents under the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act or under the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act.
Contact one of our experienced family lawyers to help guide you through this process.
Can I deny the other parent access, if I do not receive child support payments?
You cannot deny the other parent access because they have not paid child support. The rights of access and support are dealt with separately.
Children have the legal right to financial support from their parents. We know that these processes can be complex for payors and recipients, but we are always here to support families. Do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced Family lawyers to book a free consultation. You can reach our office at 905-366-0202 or contact us through our website here.