A CBC news piece recently reported on “deadbeat” parents – meaning those who are obliged under a court order to pay child or spousal support but who fail to actually pay. It was reported there that nearly two-thirds of all support orders in Canada are currently in arrears (and in Ontario, the figure is 80 percent); the total unpaid amounts across the country amount to more than $3.7 billion.
The article adverts to provincial maintenance enforcement programs, which in Ontario is the Family Responsibility Office (the “FRO”). As I have written before, the FRO is a government body charged with helping Ontario families enforce orders for child support through various means; this usually starts with locating the defaulting payor, then collecting and distributing the owed support to his or her former partner and any children, as mandated by the court order. The FRO also has the legal authority and responsibility to take additional legal steps towards enforcement.
What many people don’t know, however, is that in Ontario the government website takes a relatively aggressive approach to helping Ontario children and families locate irresponsible parents who have defaulted in their child support payments.
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On an Ontario government website titled “Good Parents Pay”, the government has posted the names and photos of those individuals who are the subject of support-payment orders registered with the Family Responsibility Office, but who are either missing or have not made their payments for at least six months. (And it should be noted that the vast majority of cases referred to the FRO relate to unpaid child support).
Although the FRO continues to make efforts to find these deadbeat parents, it specifically enlists the help of the public to help find them, by providing anonymous information by website, or by phone, or by fax, or by mail.
Is your Ex a “deadbeat parent”? Do you have unpaid spousal or child support owing to you? Do you think the Family Responsibility Office could help? Contact us for a consultation.