• What is the Family Responsibility Office?

    Whenever a child or spousal support order is made in Ontario, the family responsibility office (short form :F.R.O.), is required, by legislation, to enforce these orders.

    What this means is that once your court order has been prepared, signed, and issued by the court, it then gets forwarded onto the F.R.O. for enforcement.

    The F.R.O. has the ability to garnish a payor's wages. As long as the support payor has to pay child or spousal support, and has a job (but is not self-employed), eventually his or his pay check will be garnished and the child or spousal support will then be forwarded onto to the person, who is entitled to receive it.

    Unfortunately, because this government agency does not have enough manpower to deal with the hundreds of thousands of support orders made in Ontario, the person entitled to the money, often has to wait anywhere from 3-6 months before they start receiving the support.

    You are still entitled to the support from the date the order was made, but due to the time delay in enforcement by the F.R.O., it will likely take a number of months before all the support owed to you, has been paid in full.

    ill addition, the F.R.O. can garnish any tax refunds if there is child or spousal support owed.

    It is important that you, as the support recipient (the person who receives the support), provide the F.R.O. with as much information as you can about the support payor (the person who is suppose to pay the support). This will enable F.R.O. to more easily collect the support that is due and payable to yourself.

    If you have information about the support payor's bank accounts and investments, provide all of this disclosure to the F.R.O.

    It is also advisable to regularly call your case worker to find out when you are going to be receiving your support, and what steps has F.R.O. taken to start collecting the money due to you.

    The reality is that the more you "contact" F.R.O., the more likely they will start taking the enforcement steps to collect the support due to you. Always note the name of the person that you are talking to, (your case worker), and the date and time of the call. Try to write down a brief note about what the conversation was about.

    If there is a support payor who is prepared to voluntarily pay his/her support, you can withdraw from the F.R.O. Both the support payer and support recipient would sign a form withdrawing from enforcement by F.R.O. and that form has to be sent to the F.R.O. If the person who pays you support does so regularly by either giving you post-dated checks or by directly depositing into your bank account, you will receive your support more quickly than waiting for the F.R.O. to send you the support.

    And, if the support payor defaults (i.e. does not pay the support that is due), you can always register with the F.R.O. Once you have withdrawn from F.R.O., there is however a $50.00 fee to re-register.

    Once you do start receiving your support through a garnishment of the payor's wages, you should receive it regularly, as long as the payor' s income is consistent.

    The most that F.R.O. can garnish from a payor's paycheck, without a court order, is 50% of their net pay. Depending on how much support is owed to you, it could take some time for you receive all of the support you are entitled to.

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