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Family Responsibility Office (FRO)

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What is the Family Responsibility Office (“FRO”)?

FRO is a government agency which enforces child and spousal support Court Orders.

Is it necessary to have a support Order enforced through FRO?

If the support recipient agrees, then it is not necessary to have a support Order enforced through FRO and the support may be paid between the parties directly. If the support Order is already registered with FRO, it will be necessary to file a Notice of Withdrawal in order to remove the Order from enforcement. If the support recipient wishes to re-register the Order with FRO they may do so. It is important for a support recipient to obtain legal advice prior to making the decision to remove their support Order from FRO.

What happens if there is a written agreement, but not a Court Order, for support?

A written agreement can be filed with the Court and a Support Deduction Order will be made and sent to FRO such that FRO will enforce the agreement for support as a Court Order. This process will involve the swearing of an Affidavit and filing it with the Ontario Court of Justice. A lawyer can assist with this process.

What happens if there are arrears of support?

After a support Order is registered with FRO any arrears which may accrue are recorded by FRO and FRO may take further enforcement measures such as the suspension of a defaulting payor’s driver’s licence or they may commence a default proceeding.

On a practical basis how does FRO enforcement work?

The support payor will either remit the support payments directly to FRO who will then remit them to the support recipient or FRO will send a garnishment notice to the support payor’s employer who will be required under the law to remit the support amount, deducted from the payor’s pay, to FRO who will then remit the payments to the support recipient.

Can all of a person’s pay be garnished to satisfy the enforcement of a support Order?

Only up to 50% of a person’s pay may be garnished in order to satisfy the enforcement of a support Order.

(The information provided above is general, not legal advice, as circumstances vary from case to case. As well, generally speaking, the above information relates to Ontario law. Thus, if you wish legal advice that you can rely upon for your specific case, or if you are making inquiries where Ontario law may not apply, please contact a local family lawyer.)

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