ENFORCEMENT OF ORDERS
In Ontario, a child or spousal support order or separation agreement that resolves the issues of child or spousal support can be enforced through a provincial government office called the Family Responsibility Office (FRO). If you get a court order for child support, the court will automatically file your child support order with the FRO. If child support is payable pursuant to a separation agreement, you can file the agreement with the FRO yourself, provided that you have filed the agreement with the court, and then mailed a copy to the FRO. Visit the FRO’s website for more information: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/familyResponsibility/
Once the support order or separation agreement is filed with the FRO, then it is the FRO, not the other parent or spouse, who is responsible for the actions taken to enforce it. If the payor fails to make a support payment, the FRO will take action to enforce the support order or separation agreement. The FRO can employ a variety of different methods to obtain the child support payments that are owed.
The FRO can:
- get the payments directly from the payor parent;
- have the payments automatically deducted from the payor parent’s or spouse’s salary, wages or other income;
- register a charge (a lien) against the personal property or real estate of a payor parent or spouse who fails to pay the support that he or she owes;
- garnish (take money from) the bank account of a payor parent or spouse who fails to pay support, or garnish up to 50% of a joint bank account that he or she shares with someone else;
- make an order against another person who is helping a payor parent or spouse hide or shelter income or assets that should go toward child support.
The FRO can put more pressure on parents and spouses who do not make their support payments by:
- suspending their driver’s licenses;
- reporting them to credit bureaus so that it will be difficult for them to get loans;
- cancelling their passports.
In case of orders or agreements not involving payments of child support or spousal support, different methods of enforcement are available. An application can be brought to court to enforce the order by a writ of temporary seizure of property, a contempt order, and the appointment of a receiver under section 101 of the Courts of Justice Act.