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The Powers And Limitations Of The Family Responsibility Office

The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is an enforcement body that collects, distributes and enforces court-ordered child and spousal support payments. It helps families in Ontario get the support payments they are entitled to.

We’ve heard many complaints about the FRO from people who feel it has treated them unfairly. Even if they lose their job or consistently have trouble making ends meet, the FRO will insist that payments be made.

Our lawyer Rick Peticca spoke with The Night Side’s Barb DiGiulio about the FRO and why it continues to seek payments from people, even if they are struggling.  

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“There is a finding by a court, based on evidence, that ultimately leads to a decision,” says Rick. “The FRO is given the mandate under legislation to enforce that decision.”

So, it is not the FRO that decides what amount you need to pay. That’s the court’s responsibly. The FRO only enforces the order.

If you are going through a tough time and need to revise the amount that you have been ordered to pay, “then [the order] should be put back before a court to determine if that order should be reviewed,” explains Rick. “There are certain remedies under the law that they can seek to have their court order either reviewed under an appeal or under a motion to change.”

When possible, ex-partners should try to find solutions out of court. This way, they have more control of the outcome of their divorce, and have more flexibility to make changes if they are needed.   

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