Family Responsibility Office
This is the government body which can collect support (spousal or child) on a person’s behalf directly from a payor. It is important to know the Family Responsibility Office cannot and does not vary Orders. Therefore if a payor’s income is changed it is important to do an Amending Agreement or obtain a new Court Order setting out the appropriate amount of support to be paid. The Family Responsibility Office will also not automatically terminate an Order or Agreement of support which has been filed without the consent of both parties. The first step in terminating an Order or Agreement of support which has been filed is for both parties to consent to the termination. If consent is not possible for any reason, it is important to apply to the Court as soon as possible for a variation of support.
It is possible for a support payor to have an ongoing matter against the Family Responsibility Office where there has been a default in payments. The Family Responsibility Office has the power to seize driver's licenses, property and even place a person in jail where there has been a non-payment. If you receive documentation from the Family Responsibility Office it is important to act on it right away as there can be strict timelines to follow. The failure to adhere to timelines could result in an inability to obtain certain remedies (such as the return of a driver’s license).
Sometimes a payor will have two separate matters at one time. One with the Family Responsibility Office and the other with the support recipient. In these cases there is an abundance of documents to serve and file and numerous Court appearances. It is important to understand the process fully to ensure a payor is meeting his or her responsibilities to each party.