In today’s fluctuating economy it is becoming more common that families are relocating following separations or divorce. But what happens when you move to Toronto from Calgary and the parent who owes you child support remains behind? What do you do when the parent owing child support refuses to pay because you chose to leave and says the child support order you have was issued in Calgary and it’s only good in Alberta and not valid in Ontario?
In this type of situation you should consult a family law lawyer and have them review your interim or final court order or judgment immediately. You should also be aware that provincial and even international borders will not act as a barrier to you collecting the child support you are owed. This is mainly due to two pieces of legislation; the Divorce Act and the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act (‘ISOA’) of Ontario and other provinces within Canada which enable you to enforce your child support order across the country. The Divorce Act is federal legislation which means it encompasses all of the provinces and territories of Canada. Therefore if following or during divorce proceedings you have obtained a child support order you can typically provide your order to any of the individual provincial or territorial support collection and enforcement agencies to ensure that child support is collected from the other party. When you and the other parent are not married there may be some additional complications with enforcing your order however the ISOA provides the answer to these complications.
If you are aware of a relocation at the time your child support order is being issued by the court you can have your lawyer include certain clauses that will allow you to file the support order with such agencies as the Family Responsibility Office (‘FRO’) of Ontario who will then begin enforcement and collections against the parent who owes support in another province. When you have an order from a specific jurisdiction that you wish to have enforced in Ontario, you should consult with a family law lawyer as a separate application may be required to ensure that your order remains valid and enforceable across provincial borders. Your lawyer can also assist you with discussions and the necessary paperwork to be filed with FRO and other provincial support enforcement offices to ensure that there are minimal delays in having your support order enforced. However sometimes these proceedings take time to take effect and parties should be aware and prepare for a delay in receiving their ongoing support (sometimes a month or more) if a court appearance is required.