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How does the Family Responsibility Office enforce child support?
Clear language definitions to common legal terms.
The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is a government agency that enforces child support and spousal support. The FRO collects support directly from the person who has to pay support, keeps a record of the amounts paid, and then pays that amount to the person who has to get support.
If the payor parent misses payments, the FRO can only take action if you have a:
- court order
- separation agreement that is filed with the court and registered with the FRO for enforcement
For example, the FRO can take money from the payor parent's bank account, suspend their driver's licence, or start a court case that can put them in jail.
The FRO can help collect money from a payor parent who lives in Canada, every state in the United States, and approximately 30 other countries that Ontario has an agreement with. These are called reciprocating jurisdictions.
If Ontario doesn't have an agreement with the country where the payor parent lives, the FRO cannot help you collect support. You will have to use the laws of the country where the payor lives. You can talk to a lawyer who may be able to help you do this.
Some people choose not to involve the FRO. It takes time for them to process the paper work and start enforcing payments. Or, if you and your partner get along well and you don’t expect problems, you may not need the FRO’s help.