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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 03-09-2011, 09:01 AM
LisaS LisaS is offline
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Default FRO - what do they do?

Hi all,

I'm new here - and to separation agreements and custody in general - so your help, guidance and experience is very much appreciated!

My partner has just been told by his ex that she has contacted the FRO as she's claiming that he is in arrears for child support. Not true - they signed an amendment to their separation agreement three years ago to lower the payments (he's making less money now than he did when they were married), however he (foolishly) did not make a copy of this and now she's claiming that this amended contract doesn't exist and that based on the original agreement he's in arrears.

I've tried to find out what exactly the FRO does on line but their website is confusing and vague (signs of things to come?). Can anyone please let me know what we are in for? Do they listen to his side of the story and do they sit down for mediation, or are they solely focused on getting the money they think she is owed without any investigation? Just want to know if we should be looking at getting a lawyer now - agreement is way outdated and needs to be redone anyways - or wait until this FRO thing shakes out?

Many thanks in advance for your guidance - just trying to prepare for the battle!
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:06 AM
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Were either of the agreements filed with the courts? FRO will ONLY enforce agreements that are filed with the courts. If the original one was filed and the second wasn't, they will go with the original one. If neither was then FRO won't touch it.

If the second wasn't filed and she claims it didn't exist, he can file to have the amount adjusted to reflect his current income and try to have it back dated to when his income went down, he may not be successfull however he can always try.

IF FRO goes off the first order than he will indeed appear to be in arrears and must pay that amount until a new agreement is signed and filed with courts, even then it will take some time before FRO applies the changes.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:20 AM
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Great thanks @blinkandimgone - that is helpful.

Yes the first one was registered - the amended one was supposed to be on good faith - so clearly it's the first one they'll use then.

Okay so then the FRO is only interested in getting the money that appears to be in arrears, and no mediation or taking 'his' side of things into consideration?

I just want to make sure that I am clear on the FRO's mandate so that we can start parallel action if the FRO isn't going to help mediate a new agreement.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:25 AM
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FRO simply enforces the orders filed with the courts. They don't get involved in mediation or anything else. They CANNOT make any changes to an agreement, that must be done between the parties, filed with the courts and then the information sent to FRO to enforce.

FRO is not in the business of mediation, their job is simply to enforce the orders - nothing more, nothing less.. Your guy will have to file to have the amount reduced based on his current income levels, provide his income tax assessments - dating back to when it changed if he wants to try to have it backdated. Once that is done, sign the new agreement, have it filed with the courts and voila.

Last edited by blinkandimgone; 03-09-2011 at 10:26 AM. Reason: the voices told me to...
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:28 AM
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He should also consider providing documents of payments to her in the reduced amount dating back to their amended agreement to give some strength to his argument that the reduced amount was agreed on. They will ask why she didn't file with FRO sooner if he wasn't paying, as well they may ask why he didn't file to have the amount reduced sooner. Whatever documentation or correspondence he has to support that they had agreed on it will help.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:29 AM
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Okay great that definitely clears things up!

So should he file with FRO a separate case right away or wait until he hears from FRO from her end - ie keep it as all one case or two separate ones?

Tx
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkandimgone View Post
He should also consider providing documents of payments to her in the reduced amount dating back to their amended agreement to give some strength to his argument that the reduced amount was agreed on. They will ask why she didn't file with FRO sooner if he wasn't paying, as well they may ask why he didn't file to have the amount reduced sooner. Whatever documentation or correspondence he has to support that they had agreed on it will help.

Well see this is kinda my point to him - he's been paying via bank transfer for >2 years so there's that documentation which supports the fact that there is a side agreement that they had come to. Hoping that will strengthen his case a bit ...
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:36 AM
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He doesn't file anything with FRO, he must file with the courts a motion to vary child support.

Read this link to get a better understanding:

Child Support Arrears Variation: Motion to Change Child Support
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaS View Post
Well see this is kinda my point to him - he's been paying via bank transfer for >2 years so there's that documentation which supports the fact that there is a side agreement that they had come to. Hoping that will strengthen his case a bit ...
Bank transfer is just fine and often recommended. You should be able to get documentation from the bank detailing all the payments. He will have also noted on each payment 'for child support'.....right?
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:39 AM
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Thank you very much! That is a great resource and I really appreciate all your help - this can be so confusing!
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