5. Think about filing your separation agreement with the court

What if my partner and I agree on what to do after we separate or divorce?
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5. Think about filing your separation agreement with the court

You or your partner can file your separation agreement with the court at any time as long as it has not been changed. This means that the court has a copy of your agreement.

Some of the reasons to do this are so:

  • the court can enforce the support terms of your agreement by ordering you and your partner to follow it
  • a government agency, called the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) can enforce support payments

The FRO is a government agency that collects support from the person who has to pay support, keeps a record of the amounts paid, and pays that amount to the person who has to get support.

If your partner misses payments, the FRO can take action to enforce the agreement and make them pay. For example, the FRO can take money from their bank account, suspend their driver's licence, or start a court case that can put them in jail.

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.

To get the FRO to enforce your agreement:

  1. Attach your most current separation agreement to a Form 26B: Affidavit for Filing Domestic Contract or Paternity Agreement.
  2. Take it to the courthouse. You can file your agreement only at the Ontario Court of Justice or the Family Court branch of the Superior Court of Justice. You cannot file your agreement at other locations of the Superior Court of Justice.
  3. Register it with the FRO.

You can also now file most family law forms and documents for a family court case online, including a separation agreement for the court to enforce. For more information, read the question How do I file court forms for my family law case online? If you're not allowed to, or don't want to file your documents online, then you have to file them in person at the courthouse.

Reviewed: August 19, 2020

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