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Support Enforcement - Facing The Wrath Of The FRO

In Ontario, court-ordered child and spousal support payments are enforced by the Family Responsibility Office (FRO). The mandate of this provincial watchdog is to collect payments and distribute them to waiting recipients. But when a payor shirks duty and recipients are left out of pocket, the FRO has the legal authority to step in and take action. Our post this week looks at how the FRO bares its teeth to make payors pay up.

Garnishment - You Can Run, But You Can't Hide

In the best of damage control scenarios, delinquent payors can contact the FRO to work out a repayment plan. But when a payor doesn't own up, the FRO can extend its hand into a number of areas to recoup support arrears. This may include garnishing a payor's bank accounts, GST, CPP, EI or other government entitlements, and even lottery winnings (if one is so fortunate).

Complicating A Payor's Financial Life

Since support payments are treated in the same manner as loans, the FRO can also report a payor to the credit bureau, impacting his or her ability to obtain credit. By placing a lien or issuing a writ of seizure and sale, the FRO can also set up roadblocks for a payor who wants to dispose of certain types of personal property.

Loss Of Privileges

The FRO can also work with other governmental agencies to suspend such privileges as a driver's licence, a Canadian passport or other navigational licences and certificates.

Professional Impact And Public Shaming

The FRO may report a defaulting payor to his or her professional or occupational organization, which may result in professional disciplinary action.

Following six months of nonpayment, the FRO may resort to posting photos and personal information on goodparentspay.com, a site designed to garner the public's help in locating support deadbeats.

Legal Penalties

Worse comes to worst, the FRO may start a default hearing in which the payor could end up serving up to 180 days in jail.

Best way to avoid the wrath of the FRO: pay up, in full and on time each month.

Experiencing difficulty with support arrangements?

Call us up.

Our lawyers can help.

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