How can you enforce a support payment? A spouse or parent may have to pay support because of a court order or separation agreement, but may not pay the support as required. When the payor stops making payments, a debt begins to accumulate to the recipient.
A court order for the payment of support is a mandatory direction of the court. Therefore, an individual can take steps to enforce a court order. A separation agreement, on the other hand, is a private contract between spouses. To enforce a separation agreement, it must first be filed in court. Once it is filed, it can be enforced in the same way as a court order. To collect arrears of support, a person can try to enforce a court order or separation agreement in court him/herself, or he/she can get help from the Family Responsibility Office.
If the payor has not been making payments, Family Responsibility Office will first try to work with him/her to develop a payment plan for the amount that is owed, while making ongoing support payments. If the payor does not enter into a payment plan, Family Responsibility Office can take enforcement action against him/her, including:
- garnishing bank accounts and money the payor receives from the Government of Canada (i.e. income tax refunds, employment insurance benefits, CPP benefits, etc.)
- reporting the payor to the credit bureau
- suspending driver’s licences and Canadian passports or other federal licences
- placing a lien on personal property
- issuing a writ of seizure and sale for property the payor owns
- reporting the payor to his/her professional or occupational organization(s)
- starting a Default Hearing, which could result in up to 180 days of jail time
- and other measures
Lawyers at Bykov Law can help you navigate through various family law rules and help you understand your options when it comes to the enforcement of support payments. Contact our experienced family law attorneys today.