Although a marriage finitely and definitively ends when a divorce is granted, a Toronto divorce lawyer will inform you that the process surrounding divorce is complex and interconnected. Similarly, child support may be a compound course. Receiving an order for child support or reaching a monetary agreement is only one step. The next step is the enforcement of child support.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services of Ontario houses a specialized branch for such matters, called the Family Responsibility Office (FRO). FRO enforces child and domestic support orders and collects support payments for families. FRO does not enforce custody or access orders. It is specifically mandated to handle financial matters of child support. This provincial body gains its authority from the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act 1996 which authorizes the FRO to enforce orders filed with the office and transfer the collected funds to the appropriate recipient.

Once an individual files an order or agreement, FRO will automatically have the legal authority, responsibility and power to recover the money owed. Any changes to a court order will be updated immediately, while any amendments to an agreement must be re-filed with the office to ensure accurate enforcement. Toronto divorce lawyers will ensure any changes or amendments to an order or in the circumstances of the parties are dealt with accordingly.

If the court orders a child support arrangement, it will be automatically registered with FRO. If the child support arrangement is made through any other medium, it is the individual’s responsibility to register the agreement with FRO to ensure enforcement of the child support payments. Consult with your Toronto divorce lawyer to ensure proper and timely registry of your arrangement(s).

There are a number of actions FRO is mandated to take if an individual does not oblige with his/her child or spousal support payments. The office may:

  • Garnish an individual’s bank account
  • Garnish money an individual may be entitled to receive from the Government of Canada
  • Report the individual to the Credit Bureau
  • Report the individual to his/her professional or occupational organization
  • Suspend the individual’s driver license
  • Suspend the individual’s Canadian passport or other federally granted licenses
  • Place a lien on the individual’s property
  • Issue a writ of seizure and sale for the individual’s property
  • Seize the individual’s lottery winnings
  • Commence a Default Hearing, which may result in up to 180 days of jail time

Failure to pay support obligations on time is a serious transgression that will be met with repercussions.