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Brought to you by:
An informational resource for Ontario
parent recipients of child support,
who rely on the Family Respon...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Informational Guide Provided by:
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
HER...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
The Nature of This Resource
This is an informational resource compiled by volun...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Contents
Introduction
What is the Family Responsibility
Office, or FRO?
FRO: Wh...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Introduction
Since 1987, all court orders for child support in Ontario have
bee...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Yet in Ontario, up to 80% of support
accounts registered with FRO are delinquen...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
In fact, as much as $2.1 billion
remains uncollected by FRO.
©2015, HER Grey Br...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
When child support
is not paid,
chil...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Parents who rely on
child support ma...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Trying to ensure child
support is en...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
The rules around collection
and enfo...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
HER Grey Bruce created this guide to help Ontario families who
rely on FRO to c...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
This guide was prepared by volunteers and although the
information within was v...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
The second part of our ‘Get to Know FRO’ project is a
survey that will help us ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
This survey will help guide our own projects at HER Grey
Bruce and will also he...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Who Can Use This Guide?
This informational resource was developed by HER Grey B...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
How to Use This Guide
©2015, H.E.R Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
This guide i...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
What is the Family
Responsibility Office, or FRO?
18
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
The Family Responsibility Office is a
provincial agency that operates under the...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
“FRO collects, distributes
and enforces court-
ordered child and spousal
suppor...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
“FRO helps families in Ontario get the support
they are entitled to by enforcin...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
“If a payor does not meet their support
responsibilities, FRO has the legal aut...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
FRO: What’s the Issue?
23
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
The FRO has been criticized for a
number of reasons related to both
support pay...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
In 2004, Ontario Ombudsman Clare
Lewis reported there were $1.3 billion in
chil...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
In 2006, the Ombudsman criticized the office for a
“lackadaisical” attitude tow...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
In 2010, Auditor General Jim McCarter ripped
the agency for its general ineffec...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Also in 2010, the Office of the Auditor General of
Ontario stated in their Annu...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
For the 2012-2013 reporting year, Ombudsman
André Marin referred to the FRO as ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Today
30
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Yet…
Up to 80% of child support
accounts with FRO are
delinquent and as much as...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Where’s the disconnect?
32
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
What can you do, as a FRO-registered child
support recipient, to advocate for y...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Get to Know the FRO
34
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Collection
Ideally, FRO collects child and spousal support payments from
the pe...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Types of Orders Enforced
FRO has the legal authority to enforce:
• Support Orde...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Number of Cases
According to FRO, each year they:
• Handle more than 180,000 ca...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Good Parents Pay
FRO also administers the Good Parents Pay website, where the
p...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
The Laws Governing FRO
The FRO is mandated through:
• The Family Responsibility...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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This means the FRO may still be able to help if your payor
resides in:
• Any Ca...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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What Doesn’t the FRO Do?
41
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Motions to Change
The FRO cannot assist families with
Motions to Change a suppo...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Support Adjustments
This also means that the FRO does not
recalculate the amoun...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Custody & Access
The FRO cannot assist families with any
issues around custody ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Other Entitlement Issues
The FRO cannot assist families with any
other types of...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Government Records
Privacy laws prevent the FRO from sharing or
receiving infor...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Initiating Action
In theory, the FRO is responsible for
enforcing child support...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Locating Payors
The FRO does not do as much as some may
think to track down non...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Legal Advice
The FRO does not offer any legal
advice to parents.
49
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Correspondence
The FRO typically does not notify the
recipient parent of any ac...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Getting Started with the FRO
51
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Filing with FRO
If your child support is court ordered, you are
automatically r...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
If your child support is part of your separation
agreement or another mutually ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
If you need assistance filing your agreement with
the court and with FRO, you m...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Registration
You will know your case is registered with FRO
when they contact y...
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Your FRO PIN
Your FRO PIN is your Personal Identification
Number. You will need...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Start Your Contact Log
All registered FRO users should
keep track of their inte...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Start Your Contact Log
Each time you interact with FRO, it is important to
reco...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
HER Grey Bruce has created a template you can
download and use in Excel to trac...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
If you’re not comfortable with computers, you can
track this information on pap...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Your First Payment
According to the FRO, you should receive
your first support ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
However, until a support deduction order is
in place, your case will not be reg...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Your Responsibilities
with the FRO
63
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Contact Information
You are responsible for notifying the FRO
within 10 days if...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Change in Circumstance
You are responsible for filing any change orders with
th...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Your PIN
You are responsible for protecting your PIN. Your
support payor has a ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Late Payments
FRO agents often have hundreds of
cases and you are ultimately
re...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
If you have not received a payment in 30 days, contact
FRO to report the missin...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Direct Payments from Payor
When you are registered with the FRO, ALL
PAYMENTS m...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Reporting Your Payor
Unfortunately, one of the greatest
misconceptions about th...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Your payor is responsible for keeping their
contact and employment information ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
If they do not, YOU are responsible for
reporting your payor’s address, phone n...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Responding to the FRO
You are responsible for returning FRO phone
calls and res...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Changing Your Support
You are responsible for going to court if you want
to cha...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Filing for Interest
You are responsible for filing a Statement of
Arrears if yo...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Death & Bankruptcy
You are responsible for notifying the FRO
immediately if you...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
The FRO’s Responsibilities
to You
77
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
FRO’s Mandate
The FRO is responsible for helping families in
Ontario get the su...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Your Case Contact
The FRO is responsible for assigning you a case
contact, who ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Timely Payments
In normal circumstances, the FRO is responsible
for depositing ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Enforcement
The FRO has a
“legal authority and responsibility
to take enforceme...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Enforcement Actions
82
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
When Parents Don’t Pay
Payors are responsible for contacting the FRO if
they ar...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
There are a number of actions the FRO
can take to enforce child support orders:...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Enforcement Actions
• Garnishing bank accounts
• Garnishing money the payor may...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
• Suspending the payor’s Canadian passport or other
federal licences (including...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
When the FRO Will Enforce
Unfortunately, it does not appear that the
FRO has pu...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
However, our members have been told by
case workers:
• Enforcement action begin...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Some issues you may experience around
enforcement:
• The payor makes a payment ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
How can support recipients advocate for
enforcement in their child support case...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Keep a detailed communication log.
91
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Each time your
FRO caseworker
is to take action,
ask for the date
they expect t...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Phone the automated information line to confirm
enforcement action was taken.
93
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Phone your caseworker if the automated
information line does not confirm that
e...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Payor Penalties
The FRO can apply fees to a payor’s account for
the following:
...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Communicating with the FRO
96
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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The FRO Website
The FRO does not have its own website. There is a section for i...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Access it here:
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/familyResponsibility...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Automated Information Line
Toll-free: 1-800-267-7263
Toronto: 416-326-1818
TTY:...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
The FRO Automated Information telephone line can
provide:
• Payment and financi...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
You will need your Case Number and PIN
to access your information each time you...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Reach Your Case Contact
Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday:
Toll-free: ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
All Other Contacts
See contact information for:
• Mailing correspondence
• Faxi...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Remember to record your requests and
interactions with the FRO – and next steps...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
FRO Complaints
105
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www.hergreybruce.com
If you have a complaint about the way your
FRO case is being managed, how you a...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Communicate to your caseworker:
a) What the issue is;
b) And how you expect it ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Ask your caseworker about their
plan of action, including:
a) What steps they w...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
If the issue is not resolved or the
caseworker refuses to take action,
ask for ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Using your communication log, explain to
the supervisor what you have done to t...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Ask the FRO supervisor about
their plan of action, including:
a) What steps the...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
If the issue is not resolved or the
supervisor refuses to take action,
you can ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Search for your local Member of
Provincial Parliament on this page from
the Leg...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Your local MPP is your elected member of
government at the provincial level.
“O...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
You will also need your communication log at this
stage, to inform your MPP of ...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Your MPP (or his or her staff) may also
request that you fill out a form they
p...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Ask your MPP about their plan of
action, including:
a) What steps they will tak...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
If all other avenues of recourse are
exhausted, you can file a complaint
with t...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Read more and file a complaint here:
http://www.ombudsman.on.ca/Make-A-Complain...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Frequently Asked
Questions
120
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www.hergreybruce.com
Can FRO enforce a support order when
one party lives outside of Ontario?
121
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Yes. The Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act
of 2002 allows FRO to enforce c...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
When should I contact the FRO to report
a late or missing payment?
123
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
30 days. If you have not received a payment
in 30 days, contact your caseworker...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
My payor offered to give me a payment
in cash this month. Can I accept it?
125
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
No. The FRO does not allow for direct
payments between payors and recipients. Y...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Can the FRO adjust the amount of child
support owing when my payor’s income
inc...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
No. For more information on family law in
Ontario and the resources available t...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Can the FRO enforce a support order
when the payor has claimed bankruptcy?
129
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Yes. Parents are responsible for paying their
court ordered support, even durin...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
When might FRO place a payor on the
Good Parents Pay website?
131
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
The individuals on the Good Parents Pay
website have not paid their child suppo...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Can I withdraw from FRO?
133
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
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Yes. However, it is important to seek legal
advice and be aware that you will b...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Where can I find the forms I may need to
submit to the FRO from time to time?
1...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
On the FRO website. The most
common forms are available at the link
below. If y...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Thank You!
Thank you for taking the time to review this ‘Get
to Know FRO’ guide...
©2015, HER Grey Bruce
www.hergreybruce.com
Take the Survey
Please share your anonymous feedback about
your experiences wit...
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'Get to Know FRO' Informational Guide for Ontario Child Support Recipients - developed by HER Grey Bruce

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'Get to Know FRO' is an informational guide and survey to help Ontario child support recipients better navigate the provincial child support collection and enforcement system and advocate for their families.

The ‘Get to Know FRO’ project consists of two components:

- An informational guide called ‘Get to Know FRO,’ available online via SlideShare and on the HER Grey Bruce website. The guide is designed to assist recipient parents registered with FRO in navigating the system, understanding their rights, and increasing their chances of success within the current child support system in Ontario.

- A survey for parents in receipt of child support through the FRO system, the results of which will be shared with MPP Bill Walker and the Ontario government, to inform constructive change in the system to benefit the parents and children who rely on child support. The survey can be completed on the HER Grey Bruce website at http://www.hergreybruce.com/fro-survey/.

Developed by HER Grey Bruce, the 'Get to Know FRO' project was funded in part by Community Foundation Grey Bruce and sponsored by United Way of Bruce Grey.

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'Get to Know FRO' Informational Guide for Ontario Child Support Recipients - developed by HER Grey Bruce

  1. 1. Brought to you by: An informational resource for Ontario parent recipients of child support, who rely on the Family Responsibility Office for collection and enforcement.
  2. 2. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Informational Guide Provided by: ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com HER Grey Bruce HER Grey Bruce unites voices to Heal, Empower, and Re-educate women, girls and our community. http://www.hergreybruce.com With special thanks to our sponsors: 2
  3. 3. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com The Nature of This Resource This is an informational resource compiled by volunteers with HER Grey Bruce. Although we make our best efforts to ensure that the information found in this guide is accurate and timely, we cannot, and do not, guarantee that the information is either. Nor do we guarantee the accuracy of any information contained on websites to which our guide provides links. Do not, under any circumstances, rely on information found in this guide as legal advice. For assistance with your specific legal problem or enquiry, please contact an Ontario lawyer or your nearest Family Law Information Centre. HER Grey Bruce, its sponsors and its funders do not accept any liability for your use of this guide. Our guide is provided on an ‘as is’ and ‘as available’ basis, without any warranties or conditions of any kind, whether express or implied. HER Grey Bruce will not under any circumstances be liable to you or to any other person for any loss or damage arising from, connected with, or relating to the use of our guide by you or any other person. 3
  4. 4. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Contents Introduction What is the Family Responsibility Office, or FRO? FRO: What’s the Issue? Get to Know the FRO What Doesn’t the FRO Do? Getting Started with the FRO Your Responsibilities with the FRO The FRO’s Responsibilities to You Enforcement Actions Communicating with the FRO FRO Complaints Frequently Asked Questions ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com 4
  5. 5. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Introduction Since 1987, all court orders for child support in Ontario have been automatically filed with (and in many cases, enforced by) the Family Responsibility Office (FRO). The FRO also enforces private separation agreements that have been voluntarily registered with the court and filed with FRO. (Ontario Auditor General) ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com 5
  6. 6. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Yet in Ontario, up to 80% of support accounts registered with FRO are delinquent – children and their families are not receiving support regularly, on time, or at all. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker) 6
  7. 7. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com In fact, as much as $2.1 billion remains uncollected by FRO. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker) 7
  8. 8. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com When child support is not paid, children suffer. 8
  9. 9. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Parents who rely on child support may have difficulty making ends meet. 9
  10. 10. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Trying to ensure child support is enforced can be time consuming. 10
  11. 11. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com The rules around collection and enforcement may seem unclear or confusing. 11
  12. 12. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com HER Grey Bruce created this guide to help Ontario families who rely on FRO to collect, distribute and enforce their child support: • Understand what FRO can and should do. • Understand what FRO cannot do. • Understand their rights as child support recipients registered with FRO. • Understand the responsibilities of the FRO to parents. • Better navigate the FRO system to ensure payment of their child support as much as possible. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com ‘Get to Know FRO’ Guide & Survey 12
  13. 13. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com This guide was prepared by volunteers and although the information within was verified to the best of our abilities at the time of writing, we make no warranties about its completeness, accuracy or timeliness. We have provided links to the sources of the information in this guide wherever possible, enabling parents to verify each point and seek more information. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com 13
  14. 14. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com The second part of our ‘Get to Know FRO’ project is a survey that will help us better understand your experience with the FRO. Please take the time to complete the survey. It is open to all Ontario parents who are registered to receive their child support through the FRO. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com 14
  15. 15. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com This survey will help guide our own projects at HER Grey Bruce and will also help inform our provincial representatives about the issues and challenges parents are experiencing with the FRO. You can complete the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SGK75NN ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com 15
  16. 16. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Who Can Use This Guide? This informational resource was developed by HER Grey Bruce volunteers for Ontario parents who are registered to receive child support through the Family Responsibility Office. Others who might find this helpful include: • Social workers, counselors, or other community support workers who deal with child support recipients. • Family and friends of support recipients who wish to be informed sources of support for their loved one. 16
  17. 17. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com How to Use This Guide ©2015, H.E.R Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com This guide is available primarily through the HER Grey Bruce website, at http://www.hergreybruce.com/her-fro-resource/. However, we encourage Ontario agencies and community groups to share this resource and have made it available to embed on your own website. Please visit our SlideShare page for the embed code or contact hergreybruce@live.ca for assistance. 17
  18. 18. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com What is the Family Responsibility Office, or FRO? 18
  19. 19. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com The Family Responsibility Office is a provincial agency that operates under the Ministry of Community and Social Services. 19
  20. 20. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com “FRO collects, distributes and enforces court- ordered child and spousal support payments in Ontario.” (Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services) 20
  21. 21. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com “FRO helps families in Ontario get the support they are entitled to by enforcing court-ordered support responsibilities. We work to flow payments from the person who pays the support (the payor) to the person who receives it (the recipient).” (Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services) 21
  22. 22. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com “If a payor does not meet their support responsibilities, FRO has the legal authority and responsibility to take enforcement action to recover the money owed.” (Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services) 22
  23. 23. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com FRO: What’s the Issue? 23
  24. 24. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com The FRO has been criticized for a number of reasons related to both support payors and recipients for well over a decade. 24
  25. 25. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com In 2004, Ontario Ombudsman Clare Lewis reported there were $1.3 billion in child support arrears owed to Ontario parents registered with the FRO. (National Post) 25
  26. 26. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com In 2006, the Ombudsman criticized the office for a “lackadaisical” attitude toward collections, resulting in a “free ride for many deadbeat parents.” (National Post) 26
  27. 27. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com In 2010, Auditor General Jim McCarter ripped the agency for its general ineffectiveness, saying it was taking on average two years between enforcement actions. At that time, 80% of people who phoned the agency never got through. (National Post) 27
  28. 28. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Also in 2010, the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario stated in their Annual Report that the Family Responsibility Office simply “was still not successful in achieving its mandate of collecting unpaid child and spousal support payments.” (2012 Annual Report of the Office of the Auditor General) 28
  29. 29. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com For the 2012-2013 reporting year, Ombudsman André Marin referred to the FRO as the agency “which once again topped the list as the most complained-about Ontario agency.” (Ombudsman André Marin) 29
  30. 30. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Today 30
  31. 31. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Yet… Up to 80% of child support accounts with FRO are delinquent and as much as $2.1 billion remains unpaid. - Bill Walker, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP & PC Critic for Community and Social Services 31
  32. 32. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Where’s the disconnect? 32
  33. 33. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com What can you do, as a FRO-registered child support recipient, to advocate for your family? 33
  34. 34. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Get to Know the FRO 34
  35. 35. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Collection Ideally, FRO collects child and spousal support payments from the person who pays the support (the payor) and delivers it to the person who receives the support (the recipient). 35
  36. 36. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Types of Orders Enforced FRO has the legal authority to enforce: • Support Orders • Support Deduction Orders • Domestic Contracts filed with the court 36
  37. 37. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Number of Cases According to FRO, each year they: • Handle more than 180,000 cases • Have about 380,000 clients • Collect about $650 million in child support 1,200 to 1,500 new cases are added monthly. (Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services & FRO ‘Behind the Scenes’ video) 37
  38. 38. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Good Parents Pay FRO also administers the Good Parents Pay website, where the public can help locate payors who defaulted and cannot be located. 38
  39. 39. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com The Laws Governing FRO The FRO is mandated through: • The Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act, 1996. This gives FRO the authority to enforce support orders and contracts filed with the court. • The Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act, 2002. This allows FRO to enforce when one party lives outside of Ontario, in Canada, in the United States, or in one of the approximately 30 countries in the agreement. 39
  40. 40. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com This means the FRO may still be able to help if your payor resides in: • Any Canadian province or territory • The United States of America, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands • Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Gibraltar, Norway, Slovak Republic, United Kingdom • Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory of Australia, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, western Australia • Barbados, Fiji, Hong Kong, New Zealand (including Cook Islands), Papua and New Guinea, Singapore, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, or Zimbabwe. (Courthouse Libraries British Columbia) 40
  41. 41. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com What Doesn’t the FRO Do? 41
  42. 42. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Motions to Change The FRO cannot assist families with Motions to Change a support order. 42
  43. 43. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Support Adjustments This also means that the FRO does not recalculate the amount of support owing based on your payor’s annual income. The FRO can only enforce the updated order filed by the court. 43
  44. 44. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Custody & Access The FRO cannot assist families with any issues around custody of and access to children. 44
  45. 45. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Other Entitlement Issues The FRO cannot assist families with any other types of entitlement issues. 45
  46. 46. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Government Records Privacy laws prevent the FRO from sharing or receiving information from other government agencies like the Canada Revenue Agency that might help them find your payor. 46
  47. 47. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Initiating Action In theory, the FRO is responsible for enforcing child support orders. In practice, you will likely need to contact and follow up with them regularly to request enforcement action and ensure it is taken. 47
  48. 48. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Locating Payors The FRO does not do as much as some may think to track down non-paying parents. 48
  49. 49. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Legal Advice The FRO does not offer any legal advice to parents. 49
  50. 50. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Correspondence The FRO typically does not notify the recipient parent of any actions taken on their case unless contacted. 50
  51. 51. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Getting Started with the FRO 51
  52. 52. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Filing with FRO If your child support is court ordered, you are automatically registered with FRO by the courts. 52
  53. 53. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com If your child support is part of your separation agreement or another mutually agreed upon contract, you will need to file it with the court and mail FRO copies of: • The domestic contract • The Affidavit for Filing • A completed FRO registration package 53
  54. 54. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com If you need assistance filing your agreement with the court and with FRO, you may be able to receive advice from your nearest FLIC (Family Law Information Centre) office. Look up your local court office here: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/ 54
  55. 55. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Registration You will know your case is registered with FRO when they contact you to: • Welcome you to the FRO • Confirm your contact information • Explain how the program works and what your responsibilities are 55
  56. 56. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Your FRO PIN Your FRO PIN is your Personal Identification Number. You will need your PIN to access information about your case using the automated information line. You should receive your PIN within a few weeks of your registration with FRO. 56
  57. 57. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Start Your Contact Log All registered FRO users should keep track of their interactions with the FRO. 57
  58. 58. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Start Your Contact Log Each time you interact with FRO, it is important to record: • Who initiated the contact • The reason for the contact • The method of contact • The agent’s name or ID number • The confirmation number for the interaction • Notes about the exchange • Any next steps required 58
  59. 59. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com HER Grey Bruce has created a template you can download and use in Excel to track your calls. You can find it at the bottom of this page: http://www.hergreybruce.com/her-fro-resource/ 59
  60. 60. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com If you’re not comfortable with computers, you can track this information on paper. The important thing is that you keep a written record of your interactions with and requests of the FRO. 60
  61. 61. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Your First Payment According to the FRO, you should receive your first support payment within 30 to 60 days of registration, as long as there are no complications. 61
  62. 62. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com However, until a support deduction order is in place, your case will not be registered with the FRO. You will not receive payments until the FRO is able to secure payments or garnishments from your payor. 62
  63. 63. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Your Responsibilities with the FRO 63
  64. 64. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Contact Information You are responsible for notifying the FRO within 10 days if your phone number, mailing address, banking information or physical address change. 64
  65. 65. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Change in Circumstance You are responsible for filing any change orders with the court if your child’s circumstances change. For example, you may need to seek legal advice if your child turned 18, left school, got married or got a job, depending on your order or agreement. 65
  66. 66. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Your PIN You are responsible for protecting your PIN. Your support payor has a PIN of their own and does not need to know yours for any reason. Contact FRO immediately if your PIN may have been lost, stolen or forgotten. 66
  67. 67. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Late Payments FRO agents often have hundreds of cases and you are ultimately responsible for notifying them if you are not receiving payments. 67
  68. 68. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com If you have not received a payment in 30 days, contact FRO to report the missing payment(s). However, be aware that they will not begin enforcement until the payor is the equivalent of three months behind. 68
  69. 69. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Direct Payments from Payor When you are registered with the FRO, ALL PAYMENTS must go through their office. You are responsible for reporting any payments you receive directly from your payor to the FRO immediately. 69
  70. 70. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Reporting Your Payor Unfortunately, one of the greatest misconceptions about the FRO is that they will pursue your payor for you if payments are not being made. 70
  71. 71. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Your payor is responsible for keeping their contact and employment information up to date with the FRO within 10 days of a change. 71
  72. 72. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com If they do not, YOU are responsible for reporting your payor’s address, phone number, employer or income source, business or property transactions, etc. to the FRO. 72
  73. 73. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Responding to the FRO You are responsible for returning FRO phone calls and responding to their letters or requests as soon as possible. 73
  74. 74. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Changing Your Support You are responsible for going to court if you want to change any of the terms of your support order, including increasing or decreasing the amount of support, ending support, etc. 74
  75. 75. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Filing for Interest You are responsible for filing a Statement of Arrears if your court order or agreement provides for interest on late payments. The FRO does not automatically collect interest. 75
  76. 76. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Death & Bankruptcy You are responsible for notifying the FRO immediately if you become aware of the death of your payor, or if you learn that your payor has claimed bankruptcy. 76
  77. 77. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com The FRO’s Responsibilities to You 77
  78. 78. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com FRO’s Mandate The FRO is responsible for helping families in Ontario get the support they are entitled to by enforcing court-ordered support payments. 78
  79. 79. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Your Case Contact The FRO is responsible for assigning you a case contact, who is responsible for making all decisions on your file.* (*Unless you escalate an issue to their supervisor.) 79
  80. 80. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Timely Payments In normal circumstances, the FRO is responsible for depositing your support payment into your bank account within 48 hours. 80
  81. 81. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Enforcement The FRO has a “legal authority and responsibility to take enforcement action to recover the money” owing by payors. (Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services) 81
  82. 82. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Enforcement Actions 82
  83. 83. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com When Parents Don’t Pay Payors are responsible for contacting the FRO if they are unable to pay their support or are falling behind. The FRO cannot reduce the amount of support owing. However, the payor is responsible for working out a repayment plan. 83
  84. 84. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com There are a number of actions the FRO can take to enforce child support orders: 84
  85. 85. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Enforcement Actions • Garnishing bank accounts • Garnishing money the payor may be entitled to receive from the Government of Canada (for example, income tax refunds, employment insurance benefits, Canada Pension Plan benefits, and Old Age Security benefits) • Reporting the payor to the credit bureau • Suspending the payor’s driver’s licence • Placing a lien on personal property (Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services) 85
  86. 86. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com • Suspending the payor’s Canadian passport or other federal licences (including a pilot's licence, as well as maritime and navigational licences and certificates) • Issuing a writ of seizure and sale for property owned by the payor • Reporting the payor to their professional organization(s) • Seizing the payor’s lottery winnings • Starting a Default Hearing, which can result in jail time (Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services) 86
  87. 87. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com When the FRO Will Enforce Unfortunately, it does not appear that the FRO has published a standard as to when they will begin enforcement action and what that process looks like. 87
  88. 88. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com However, our members have been told by case workers: • Enforcement action begins when the payor is three months worth of payments behind. • Depending on the action, there are various wait times for the payor to respond or make payment. • Enforcement action stops when a payment is made. • Enforcement action then starts over. 88
  89. 89. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Some issues you may experience around enforcement: • The payor makes a payment and enforcement action is cancelled, but payments then cease. • The FRO may not begin or continue enforcement actions unless prompted by the support recipient. • The FRO cannot enforce a deduction order or garnish wages if the payor is unemployed, working ‘under the table,’ or cannot be located. 89
  90. 90. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com How can support recipients advocate for enforcement in their child support case with the FRO? 90
  91. 91. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Keep a detailed communication log. 91
  92. 92. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Each time your FRO caseworker is to take action, ask for the date they expect that task will be completed. 92
  93. 93. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Phone the automated information line to confirm enforcement action was taken. 93
  94. 94. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Phone your caseworker if the automated information line does not confirm that enforcement action was taken. 94
  95. 95. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Payor Penalties The FRO can apply fees to a payor’s account for the following: • $25 statement of account • $100 for record adjustment • $400 for each enforcement action taken • $50 refiling fee to offset cost of reopening a file The FRO will collect these fees only after all support is caught up. 95
  96. 96. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Communicating with the FRO 96
  97. 97. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com The FRO Website The FRO does not have its own website. There is a section for it on the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services website. 97
  98. 98. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Access it here: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/familyResponsibility/ 98
  99. 99. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Automated Information Line Toll-free: 1-800-267-7263 Toronto: 416-326-1818 TTY: 1-866-545-0083 99
  100. 100. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com The FRO Automated Information telephone line can provide: • Payment and financial information about your case • Enforcement and actions taken • Support order information • FRO’s programs and laws 100
  101. 101. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com You will need your Case Number and PIN to access your information each time you use the Automated Information line. 101
  102. 102. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Reach Your Case Contact Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday: Toll-free: 1-800-267-4330 Toronto: 416-326-1817 102
  103. 103. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com All Other Contacts See contact information for: • Mailing correspondence • Faxing information • Freedom of Information requests • Interjurisdictional Support Orders • All other issues http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/famil yResponsibility/Contact/payor_recipient.aspx 103
  104. 104. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Remember to record your requests and interactions with the FRO – and next steps – in your communication records. 104
  105. 105. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com FRO Complaints 105
  106. 106. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com If you have a complaint about the way your FRO case is being managed, how you are being treated, or any other concern, you can increase the chance it will be resolved successfully by following this process. 106
  107. 107. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Communicate to your caseworker: a) What the issue is; b) And how you expect it could be resolved. 107
  108. 108. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Ask your caseworker about their plan of action, including: a) What steps they will take to solve the problem; b) When it will be resolved; c) And how you will be notified of the solution. 108
  109. 109. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com If the issue is not resolved or the caseworker refuses to take action, ask for a Family Responsibility Office supervisor. 109
  110. 110. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Using your communication log, explain to the supervisor what you have done to try to resolve the problem. 110
  111. 111. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Ask the FRO supervisor about their plan of action, including: a) What steps they will take to solve the problem; b) When it will be resolved; c) And how you will be notified of the solution. 111
  112. 112. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com If the issue is not resolved or the supervisor refuses to take action, you can escalate your complaint to your local Member of Provincial Parliament. 112
  113. 113. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Search for your local Member of Provincial Parliament on this page from the Legislative Assembly of Ontario: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_curre nt.do?locale=en 113
  114. 114. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Your local MPP is your elected member of government at the provincial level. “Ontario’s 107 MPPs are elected to represent the concerns of their constituents regarding provincial responsibilities at the Legislature and in their ridings.” (Legislative Assembly of Ontario) 114
  115. 115. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com You will also need your communication log at this stage, to inform your MPP of all interactions with the FRO in regards to the complaint. 115
  116. 116. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Your MPP (or his or her staff) may also request that you fill out a form they provide, detailing the issue you are experiencing and what steps you have taken to resolve it. 116
  117. 117. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Ask your MPP about their plan of action, including: a) What steps they will take to solve the problem; b) When it will be resolved; c) And how you will be notified of the solution. 117
  118. 118. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com If all other avenues of recourse are exhausted, you can file a complaint with the Ombudsman of Ontario, who investigates complaints against provincial government organizations in Ontario. 118
  119. 119. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Read more and file a complaint here: http://www.ombudsman.on.ca/Make-A-Complaint.aspx 119
  120. 120. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Frequently Asked Questions 120
  121. 121. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Can FRO enforce a support order when one party lives outside of Ontario? 121
  122. 122. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Yes. The Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act of 2002 allows FRO to enforce child and spousal support payments when one party lives outside of Ontario. 122
  123. 123. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com When should I contact the FRO to report a late or missing payment? 123
  124. 124. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com 30 days. If you have not received a payment in 30 days, contact your caseworker immediately. 124
  125. 125. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com My payor offered to give me a payment in cash this month. Can I accept it? 125
  126. 126. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com No. The FRO does not allow for direct payments between payors and recipients. You must report any direct payments to the FRO immediately and a fee of $100 will be applied to your payor’s account. 126
  127. 127. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Can the FRO adjust the amount of child support owing when my payor’s income increases or decreases? 127
  128. 128. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com No. For more information on family law in Ontario and the resources available to you, visit the Ministry of the Attorney General’s website: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/justice- ont/family_law.asp?fullSite 128
  129. 129. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Can the FRO enforce a support order when the payor has claimed bankruptcy? 129
  130. 130. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Yes. Parents are responsible for paying their court ordered support, even during and after bankruptcy. FRO will enforce the ongoing support that accrues after bankruptcy. 130
  131. 131. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com When might FRO place a payor on the Good Parents Pay website? 131
  132. 132. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com The individuals on the Good Parents Pay website have not paid their child support in at least six months and cannot be found. 132
  133. 133. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Can I withdraw from FRO? 133
  134. 134. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Yes. However, it is important to seek legal advice and be aware that you will be responsible for enforcing the order in court if your payor defaults in future. Learn more about withdrawal from FRO here. 134
  135. 135. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Where can I find the forms I may need to submit to the FRO from time to time? 135
  136. 136. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com On the FRO website. The most common forms are available at the link below. If you cannot find the form you need, call your case contact. http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/for ms/FRO_forms_index.aspx#common 136
  137. 137. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Thank You! Thank you for taking the time to review this ‘Get to Know FRO’ guide. We hope you’ve found it helpful and that you will share it with other recipient parents who may find it useful, as well. Please visit us at http://www.hergreybruce.com/her-fro-resource/ for the complete resource. 137
  138. 138. ©2015, HER Grey Bruce www.hergreybruce.com Take the Survey Please share your anonymous feedback about your experiences with the Family Responsibility Office with HER Grey Bruce. Learn more and complete the survey at http://www.hergreybruce.com/fro-survey/ 138

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