The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) works under the authority of the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act, 1996. The role of the Family Responsibility Office is to ensure that support payments flow properly from payers (people who make support payments) to recipients (people who receive them).
The Family Responsibility Office receives every support order made by a court in Ontario and enforces the amounts owed under the order. It also enforces private written agreements that include child or spousal support terms. Private written agreements can include separation agreements, other domestic contracts and paternity agreements. These types of agreements must first be filed with the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice (Family Court), or their predecessor courts before they can be enforced by FRO.
The payer must inform the Family Responsibility Office within 10 days of any change of address or of income source, such as an employer. As well, the recipient should inform the office within 10 days of any change in address.
The Family Responsibility Office has the legal authority to collect support payments and arrears and to take the following enforcement actions against those who do not meet their responsibilities: