An order for spousal and/or child support made in Ontario is enforced through the Family Responsibility Office (FRO), unless the parties opt-out of this process. If your circumstances have changed, and you can no longer afford to pay the amount of support you have been ordered to pay, you can ask the court to reduce your monthly payments.
Individuals are often unaware of the fact that they may qualify to have their support obligations reduced by a court. In some cases, individuals will fall into arrears on their support obligations as a result, which can result in serious consequences, including the possibility of jail time.
Law Wise Family Lawyers, we provide help to individuals who can no longer afford to meet their monthly support obligations by asking the court to revisit their case and change their existing order for support. This is called a “motion to change.”
We represent clients who have fallen into arrears on their payments with FRO. In these cases, we communicate with FRO on your behalf and attempt to negotiate a payment plan that is affordable to you. We also help clients who are facing having their driver’s license suspended by FRO.
Where a support payer has repeatedly failed to make their monthly support payment, FRO may initiate a Default Hearing. At this hearing, the court can order that if arrears are not paid in full, the support payer will be committed to jail time. Because these matters can result in serious consequences and are often time-sensitive, you should immediately seek legal advice if you have fallen into arrears.
You can also get a refraining order on consent if you and the FRO Lawyer mutually agree on the payment terms. In case of disagreements, the judge steps in to make a final decision.
To get a refraining order to stop the FRO, you will need to:
- ∎ Pay all arrear support payments by contacting the FRO.
- ∎ Make a voluntary payment schedule in agreement with the FRO which is affordable for you and covers the monthly support payments plus an additional payment for the arrears as defined by the FRO.
- ∎ Get a refraining order from the court within the next 30 days to request that your driving license should not be suspended.
You can apply for a refraining order in the below circumstances:
- ∎ No mutual payment agreement has been reached between you and the FRO.
- ∎ You wish to change the support payment amounts
- ∎ You have made an application for varying the amount of support you pay
The judge can also make orders for you to:
- ∎ Make complete financial disclosure to the FRO
- ∎ Continue spousal support payments regularly
- ∎ Continue making payments for outstanding support amounts
Law Wise Family lawyers help in making effective representation for preparing for refraining orders and filing motions to change.