Child Support And Spousal Support Enforcement

The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) enforces child support and spousal support orders.

That means that the payer remits it to the FRO, and the FRO remits it to the payee. So, if the mother is supposed to receive $1000 a month from the father, the money is actually flowing from dad’s employer directly to the FRO and from the FRO directly into mom’s bank account. In this way, there should not be a problem with dad unilaterally ceasing all payments.

However, from time to time, the parties may have agreed to withdraw from the FRO. This is done by way of a notice of withdrawal, and it means that the mother is receiving postdated checks or the father is making direct deposit into the mother’s bank account. If he suddenly stops these payments, the mother can still file the order with the FRO and have the FRO commence enforcing it. But the FRO is a government agency and there are, at times, delays. In this case, there could be a lot of red tape, and a number of months may pass before the payee sees any money.

The other issue is that FRO enforcement does not work terribly well where the father is self-employed. He is the business, he is the company, and he is going to decide what he is going to remit to FRO, so that can be a problem. In the face of those failures to pay, you are left with going to court for enforcement proceedings.

Typically, where the father has not paid the FRO, the FRO will deal with the enforcement of the order and start enforcement proceedings against the husband. There are well-publicized sanctions against people who do not make their support payments, including denial of passports and renewal of driver’s license, but those are extreme cases. The FRO just want the money to flow, and all parties know that there is a government agency involved to enforce this.

If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with family law issues in York Region, Durham Region or Toronto, contact Feldstein Family Law Group for a consultation.

This article is taken from a October 09, 2007 interview with Andrew Feldstein, Family Lawyer with Feldstein Family Law Group, a Toronto Ontario Family Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.