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How long to hear from FRO?

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  • How long to hear from FRO?

    I haven't received April or May child support from FRO.
    At this point I don't know if FRO forwarded the cheques to the wrong account (not too likely, seeing they've been going to the account for a "few" years now), or if ex is now officially a "deadbeat" Dad and hasn't paid.
    I emailed him asking if he had paid child support, and he basically told me to "F*** off" and not bother him.
    I've been trying to contact FRO for two weeks and just get answering machines. I've left about five messages (and sent a fax today).
    I'm getting a bit anxious as the money I've earned from a temporary contract won't last long.
    Has anyone else been having difficulty getting through to FRO? Is more than two weeks to hear from someone/anyone the new norm with the "improved" FRO?
    What now? If FRO isn't going to do anything?

  • #2
    Hi - did you go through the automated system to check on the last payment? It should tell you if it was paid or not and what they are doing about it... I wanted to try it out for you, but my PIN is locked (????). Good luck!


    • #3
      FRO has responded every time I enquired - since mid-2012. I carefully document when I call, reference the case number, etc. Often it has taken several calls, a few weeks even. I just persist... you usuallly do get results with bureaucracy with this approach - not an ego issue going on, etc.

      In my case, I cannot budget month-to-month expecting that money to come through. Unfortunately, C/S is icing is on the cake... or perhaps I should say cupcake for us. It is always best to build in some kind of protection when it comes to cash flow.... even if we're talking about trickles.

      The system was recently overhauled. My new FRO person (forget the title) told me that a lot of cases had been reassigned.


      • #4
        Originally posted by sjandme View Post
        Unfortunately, C/S is icing is on the cake... or perhaps I should say cupcake for us.
        'icing on the cake' usually refers to something unnecessary that you can live without.


        • #5

          RE: "icing on the cake"......

          It does indeed. My word choice was deliberate.

          C/S for 2 kids.... somewhat over $350.

          My kids' dad has a technical education, masters degree, professional designation, once earned over $100K. I personally think he is on the decline.... He'll be unable to continue living in the new, luxury building where he is currently.

          I take care of my kids with borrowed money, soon going to go into my RRSP (pre-marriage). My current earnings are meagre - no technical background for me - being a middle aged woman with a 10 year gap in her resume doesn't help either. (However, as my kids mature, I will have less of a concern for the child care I have had to pay for them - it is brutal w/o a subsidy or a very high income to offset it.... often not worth it.)

          I don't know how much money the original poster receives in C/S. It's probably not icing on the cake for her - i.e. significantly more.

          We often project our situation too much on someone else's somewhat different situation.

          If you received c/s from the other parent for quite some time ... reliably ... and it was a much higher amount.... well it would be more difficult to budget with that as a "maybe" source of income to provide for your kids.

          I guess that's also why we have, in part, the family law system... and the FRO.

          Incidentally, I have never requested S/S. When I hear about people getting that .... well, I kind of laugh. But, again, that's MY situation.

          I think I'm going to go and lick my wounds for short while... and then continue to do what I have to do ... be strong for my kids. (I am being a little humorous here too btw. It helps.)


          • #6
            torontonian & sjandme:
            My PIN is also locked, so I have to contact an agent.
            My previous dealings with FRO were great. I was able to speak to an agent right away and they were very helpful. But I didn't wait over two weeks for an acknowledgment.
            I am in my mid-fifties, also out of the work-force about a decade. Finally got a contract position, but that will be expiring soon and we need the child support. My income was/is being eaten paying off debts. I've used up all my investments and RRSPs (except for the locked in RRSPs, which I cannot touch until I'm 65--bank won't budge on that!). Because I have those locked-in RRSPs, a 17 year old car and am on title to our house, I also don't qualify for social assistance.
            I'm trying to dig out of the poverty pit and was starting to make some progress...


            • #7
              Well your situation is very close to my own. I'm just past 50, just about to tap into RRSP's. Also not eligible for programs out there.

              Except my job opportunities are further hindered by language policy. My chances for a job would instantly double if I didn't need to speak French fluently... or if I could I guess.

              I must admit my car is small and modest but new. A 17 year old car is actually impressive. I hope you get a lucky break. It does happen sometimes.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Epona View Post
                I emailed him asking if he had paid child support, and he basically told me to "F*** off" and not bother him.
                Why would he have to pay? Doesn't CS come directly off his paycheque by FRO?


                • #9
                  If child support is going through FRO, then you should directly contact them, and not your ex.

                  You are dealing with a government office... you need to have patience. I know they "upgraded" systems during early April, so maybe there is a backlog of processing?

                  Again, best to speak with them directly.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Canadaguy View Post
                    Why would he have to pay? Doesn't CS come directly off his paycheque by FRO?
                    Not necessarily. FRO do not automatically garnish wages, although they threaten to with their introductory mail.


                    • #11
                      Three weeks and STILL NO REsponse from FRO

                      I've left messages on voice-mail and sent a fax last week. Tried to phone this morning and received a recorded message, that Agent (name) is no longer employed by the FRO and do NOT leave a message at this voicemail box. But I wasn't redirected anywhere.
                      Canadaguy, child support is not always automatically garnished from wages. Not all payors are employees. Some (like my ex) are self-employed or working on contract. They send the child support to FRO, who deposits it into the recipient's account.
                      I guess they could put a lein against a house or car, so when payor wants to sell, they get the money that way, but that could take a long time collecting (kids would probably be adults by the time child support arrears could be collected).
                      I'm starting to wonder if the child support cheques were put into another account...
                      Also wrote to local MPP and Premier of Ontario.


                      • #12
                        I believe the next step taken would be to suspend drivers license. Being self-employed it might get his attention.


                        • #13
                          I'm all new to FRO, but can share my little experience with them recently:

                          My SA (written nearly 5 years ago) was recently filed with the courts and apparently, they automatically enrolled with the FRO (I had no idea this would happen)

                          I received the documentation and info to fill out and return early April. Case number and pin provided for automated system.

                          Early May, I was informed by X that he would no longer pay CS until we go to court (I filed for increase this spring).

                          I called FRO to find out what status of case was and what to do about no CS. Note: EVERY time I call, I have to leave a message for my agent. She has always returned my call on the same day, so far.

                          May 7 - agent told me to file Statement of Arrears. I decided to wait another week until the CS was behind another month so I didn't have to do it again in a week when it would go unpaid again.

                          May 16 - I sent Statement of Arrears to FRO. Agent said to give it a week because many docs are sent there and it takes about a week to land on her "desk."

                          May 22 - agent said she's trying to contact "income source" and was waiting for return call. (His employer?). She said she'd be putting in a "Support Deduction Order" ( don't know what that is either?)

                          Also - through this - the automated system doesn't seem to be working for me - after I enter my case number, it just asks me to call the 800 number. Agent is looking into that as well, because she says it should be working fine.

                          I wonder if they call X first to try to encourage him to pay?

                          I have no idea how long it will be before I receive my first CS, but I could sure use it right now. It's been a while now.

                          So far, service seems fast and courteous. Hope I'm not sorry I said that!


                          • #14
                            You should be able to go to a website for your province's maintenance enforcement program. This should explain the collection methods they use. If there isn't anything for your province then go to MEP Alberta Justice. All of the various collection methods are outlined and clearly explained. I would hazard a guess that there is little variance from province to province in collection procedures.

                            Your maintenance enforcement program will likely contact the employer with an order to pay (support deduction notice). There will be a similar step made to the federal/provincial governments to enable them to seize any income tax returns or GST/HST credits. A personal property registry is usually done at the same time.

                            I had a friend who had MEP collecting against her. She said they were persistent and she was peppered with a continuous stream of letters.

                            They eventually start a process of suspending drivers licenses etc.

                            It seems that most FRO/MEPs adhere closely to deadlines. For example, they go through their collection process in very specific manner - 31 days default before they take any action.

                            It is very important to give FRO/MEP all the information you can about your ex. If he skips provinces they will still go after him and the more information you can give them the better.

                            Hopefully your province will someday enable you to do all of this online. I can log onto MEP in Alberta 24 hrs a day and see payment history, print information, request call backs, send emails etc. We can also make appointments and go and talk to staff if we can't get our issues resolved via phone or internet.

                            Don't be surprised if you find out your ex has struck a deal with FRO without your consent for repayment of arrears.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by arabian View Post
                              Don't be surprised if you find out your ex has struck a deal with FRO without your consent for repayment of arrears.
                              Ok. Good to know. Thanks! Boy, for 5 years, all the CS/SA stuff was never a topic of conversation for me. Now it's all coming so fast and furious, my head's spinning! So good to have people asking and answering questions here so we can learn from each other.


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