Agency struggles to collect child support for parents

One Ontario mom has been struggling for 20 years to collect over $40K in child support payments that were ordered by the court to be paid by her son’s father. In an interview with CTV News, she said, “I just feel alone. My son feels abandoned.” She must work 18-hour days to just get by.

She has yet to receive relief from the province’s Family Responsibility Office, even though it’s the agency’s job to collect money from those parents ordered by Ontario courts to pay up.

She’s not alone; just last year, the FRO had 1,200 complaints. Yet they claim to be doing everything they can to collect delinquent sums. In the year between 2014-2015, the agency took in $678.1 million, more than any other period.

But the FRO opens cases on deadbeat payors within a month of obtaining court orders to collect payments. Still, some family lawyers criticise the agency’s responses, stating that the FRO drags its feet even when given updated employment information on a payor.

Another lawyer and mediator sees their punitive measures as counter-productive, such as when the agency cancels a payor’s driver’s licence.

“[T]aking a deadbeat’s driver’s licence can interfere with their ability to go to their job and get the money to pay the support,” he said.

So what should parents do in cases where the non-custodial parent simply refuses to pay child support? The lack of money can reduce options accordingly, but sometimes retaining a family lawyer to pursue the matter is the best investment that can be made in such cases. Unconstrained by backlogs of cases, a family law professional may get the hoped for results.

Source: CTV News, “Ontario agency struggling to get child support payments,” March 18, 2016

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