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1 family responsibility office What should I do if I have received a Notice of Default Hearing?

2 family responsibility office Important: The information contained in this guide is general information only. It is not legal advice. You may want to ask a lawyer for help. If you need help finding a lawyer, contact the Lawyer Referral Service at You can also contact Legal Aid Ontario at , or toll-free at

3 What should I do if I have received a Notice of Default Hearing? Inside this Guide: Why have I received a Notice of Default Hearing? What choices do I have now? Bring your payments up to date. Make a payment plan with the Family Responsibility Office. Prepare for your Default Hearing. What should I do to prepare for my Default Hearing? Where can I get more help and information? Tips for support payors What is the Family Responsibility Office? Glossary: Important terms you should understand Appendix: Sample forms Sample Default Dispute Form (FLR Form 30B) Sample Notice of Default Hearing Form (FLR Form 30) 3

4 family responsibility office What should I do if I have received a Notice of Default Hearing? Why have I received a Notice of Default Hearing? You have received a Notice of Default Hearing because you have fallen behind in your support payments. Who sent me this notice? The Family Responsibility Office, a part of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, sent you this notice. The Family Responsibility Office enforces spousal and child support orders and domestic contracts, and collects court-ordered support payments for families. What is a Default Hearing? A Default Hearing is a hearing in family court, before a judge. During a Default Hearing, you have to explain why you are behind in your payments. You may want to have a lawyer represent you, but you do not have to. How can I avoid having a Default Hearing? You can avoid having a Default Hearing by contacting the Family Responsibility Office immediately to: Bring your payments up to date. Make a voluntary payment plan with the Family Responsibility Office. You can learn more in the next section of this booklet, called What choices do I have now? 4

5 What should I do if I have received a Notice of Default Hearing? What choices do I have now? 1. Bring your payments up to date You can avoid a Default Hearing by paying all of the money you owe. Here s how: 1. Contact the Family Responsibility Office at or Toll-free to speak to your case contact to find out how much you owe in late payments. Please have your seven-digit case number ready. 2. Discuss payment methods. 3. Pay the full amount you owe. Remember, you must still make your support payments every month to avoid receiving another Notice of Default Hearing. 2. Make a payment plan You can avoid a Default Hearing by contacting the Family Responsibility Office and working out a payment arrangement. Here s how: 1. Contact the Family Responsibility Office at or Toll-free to speak to your case contact. Please have your seven-digit case number ready. 2. Explain that you are behind in your payments and would like to make an arrears payment plan. 3. The Family Responsibility Office will help you to work out a Voluntary Arrears Payment Schedule. 4. If your order already contains an arrears payment schedule, you may be required to bring that schedule up to date. This will be discussed when you contact the Family Responsibility Office. 5. Make your payments. The Voluntary Arrears Payment Schedule will help you pay your arrears, but you must still make your ongoing support payments every month to avoid receiving another Notice of Default Hearing. 5

6 family responsibility office 3. Prepare for your Default Hearing If you do not pay the money you owe in full, or make a payment arrangement with the Family Responsibility Office, then you will have to get ready for and attend your Default Hearing. What happens at a Default Hearing? At a Default Hearing, you go to court and explain to the judge why you have not made your support payments. Then, the judge will make a decision. The decision is contained in a document called a Default Order. The Default Order may say the following: You must pay all or part of the money you owe through regular payments over time. You must pay all of the money you owe by a certain date. You must start a Motion to Change your support order or agreement. You may go to jail for up to six months. What else may the judge decide? The judge may decide that you are hiding your income or assets through another person. This is called sheltering your income. In this case, the judge can make a Third Party Default Order and demand that money you owe be paid by the other person who is hiding your income or assets. What happens if I don t attend my Default Hearing? If you do not attend the hearing, the court could have you arrested. If you are arrested, you will be brought before a judge. The court may also make a Default Order against you in your absence. What do I need to do now? There are seven steps you must take before, during and after your Default Hearing. You can learn about these steps in the next section of this guide called What should I do to prepare for my Default Hearing? Important! Even if you pay all of the money you owe or make payment arrangements, you should still go to court on the hearing date, unless you receive a notice in writing that you do not need to go. You will find the court date on the Notice of Default Hearing. 6

7 What should I do if I have received a Notice of Default Hearing? What should I do to prepare for my Default Hearing? Once you receive your Notice of Default, you have 10 days to take action. Your Notice of Default will come with a: Statement of Arrears Default Dispute form Financial statement form There are seven steps you must take before, during and after your Default Hearing. Every step is important. You can use this simple checklist to be sure you have completed each step. Step 1 Find out when and where your Default Hearing will be. Step 2 Gather the information and forms you will need. Step 3 Complete the forms. Step 4 Give copies of your forms to the Family Responsibility Office. Step 5 File your forms with the court. Step 6 Go to court on your hearing date. Step 7 Take the steps ordered by the court. 7

8 family responsibility office Step 1 Find out when and where your hearing will be The Notice of Default Hearing will tell you: the date to attend court the time to attend court the name and address of the court where your Default Hearing will take place Step 2 Gather the information and forms you will need You will need: your Notice of Default Hearing a copy of your support order your Family Responsibility Office case number (found on the Notice of Default Hearing) your court file number (found on the Notice of Default Hearing) two pieces of valid identification including valid photo identification such as a driver s licence, passport or photo health card Affidavit of Service (FLR Form 6B), available at any family court office, or online at You will require this form in Step 5 when you file your documents with the court these three documents which came with your Notice of Default Order: o a Director s Statement of Arrears o a blank Default Dispute form (FLR Form 30B) o a blank Financial Statement form (FRO Form 4), or Financial Statement form (FLR Form 13). If your Notice of Default Hearing did not include any of these three documents, you should call the Family Responsibility Office at or call toll-free at to speak to your case contact. Please have your seven-digit case number ready. Where to get help If you need help completing these forms, you may want to get advice from a lawyer. You can also visit the Family Law Information Centre (FLIC) at your local family court office. If you do not have a copy of your support order, contact the court where the order was made to request a copy. 8

9 What should I do if I have received a Notice of Default Hearing? Step 3 Complete the forms Financial Statement (FRO Form 4) or Financial Statement (FLR Form 13) You must also fill out and swear or affirm a Financial Statement. This provides the court with important information about your finances including: the amount and sources of your income the amount of your living expenses the amount of your assets and debts To learn more about how to complete a Financial Statement, visit the website of the Ministry of the Attorney General to get the publication A Guide to Procedures in Family Court. You will find this guide at Where can you swear or affirm a document? You can swear an oath or affirm a document in front of a lawyer, a justice of the peace, a notary public or a commissioner for taking affidavits. You should be able to get this done at a family court office. Be sure to bring two valid pieces of identification with you, including valid photo identification such as a driver s licence, passport or photo health card. Default Dispute (FLR Form 30B) A Default Dispute tells the court that you disagree with the Family Responsibility Office about the amount of money you owe. This amount is listed in the Director s Statement of Arrears that you received with your Notice of Default Hearing. The Default Dispute must also be sworn or affirmed. You may make any of three arguments: 1. That you have not missed any payments. You must explain how you made payments and to whom. You should attach proof of those payments, or you must explain why no payments are owed. You should attach proof of any support order or domestic contract made between you and the recipient. 2. That you owe a different amount of support than what the Family Responsibility Office says you owe. You must indicate the amount you believe you owe and attach proof to support your belief. If that amount is more than zero, you must also explain why you have not made all of the payments in paragraph 5 on the form. 3. That you agree with the amount the Family Responsibility Office says you owe. You must explain why you have not made all of the payments in paragraph 5 on the form. 9

10 family responsibility office Step 4 Give copies of your forms to the Family Responsibility Office Once you have sworn or affirmed your Financial Statement and Default Dispute, you will need to give the Family Responsibility Office a copy of your documents. This is an important part of the process. In legal terms, it is called service. When you serve your forms, you are telling the Family Responsibility Office what you intend to show in court. You can serve your forms in two ways: 1. by fax to by mail or delivery to the: Legal Services Branch Family Responsibility Office Ministry of Community and Social Services 125 Sir William Hearst Avenue, 7th Floor North York ON M3M 0B5 Note: If you are sending or serving court documents to the Family Responsibility Office, all documents must include Legal Services Branch on the envelope or the front of the document. After you have served your forms to FRO, you must complete and swear or affirm an Affidavit of Service (FLR Form 6B). This form tells the court that you have given a copy of your documents to the Family Responsibility Office. 10

11 What should I do if I have received a Notice of Default Hearing? Step 5 File your forms with the court You must take your original documents to the court and give them to the family court clerk. In legal terms, this is called filing. These are the documents you will need to file: Financial Statement (FRO Form 4) or Financial Statement (FLR Form 13) Default Dispute (FLR Form 30B) Affidavit of Service (FLR Form 6B) The court clerk keeps a file on your case called a Continuing Record. It contains all of the documents that have been filed on your case and a table of contents listing these documents. The court clerk will ask you to add your documents to this file, and to update the table of contents. What if I miss the deadline? Your Notice of Default Hearing includes a deadline date. You must serve your documents to the Family Responsibility Office, and file your documents with the court before that date. If you miss the deadline date, you must still come to court on the court date listed in your Notice of Default Hearing. You should bring copies of the Default Dispute, the Financial Statement, and the Affidavit of Service. The court may allow you to serve your documents to the Family Responsibility Office lawyer on the day of your hearing. If not, you will be told what to do next. Important Date The hearing date is on the Notice of Default Hearing. It is important to remember that there is a deadline indicated in the Notice of Default Hearing. You must send a copy of the completed Default Dispute and your Financial Statement to the Family Responsibility Office, and file the original documents with the court office indicated on your Notice of Default Hearing within 10 days after you receive the notice. 11

12 family responsibility office Step 6 Go to court on your hearing date You should arrive at the court at least 30 minutes before the time of your hearing. On the day of your hearing, be sure to bring copies of your: Financial Statement (FRO Form 4) or Financial Statement (FLR Form 13) Default Dispute (FLR Form 30B) Remember to bring any documents you attached to your Financial Statement, such as pay stubs, Notices of Assessment and Income Tax returns from the government. If you do not have a lawyer, you may want to speak with duty counsel upon your arrival at court. Duty counsel are lawyers paid by Legal Aid Ontario who work in family courts. If you are not represented by a lawyer, duty counsel can help you by: giving you basic legal information and advice helping you prepare documents assisting you in the courtroom, in some cases helping you negotiate settlement terms with the FRO lawyer who will also be attending court that day Before your court appearance, you should meet with the Family Responsibility Office lawyer, who will call your name in the waiting room. The purpose of this meeting is to attempt to make payment arrangements with the Family Responsibility Office. 12

13 What should I do if I have received a Notice of Default Hearing? In this meeting, you may be able to negotiate the terms of the Default Order with the Family Responsibility Office lawyer. This means you and the Family Responsibility Office lawyer agree on how you will pay the money you owe. You will be given a copy of the consent at the end of the hearing. If you cannot reach an agreement with the Family Responsibility Office lawyer, then the judge will ask you why you have not made your payments, and the judge will decide on the terms of the Default Order. Once your Default Hearing is complete, you should ask the court clerk for a copy of the judge s decision. You may receive a document called a consent or a document called an endorsement or both. This will depend on whether or not you reached an agreement with the Family Responsibility Office lawyer before your court appearance. Step 7 Take the steps ordered by the court Your Default Order will tell you what you are expected to do. If you do not meet the terms of your Default Order, the court can order that you be arrested by the police and put in jail for as long as six months. What if I can t pay? You may be unable to meet the terms of the Default Order because something has changed since the Default Order was made. For example, you may have lost your job or become too ill to work and have no income. In this case, you can ask the court to change your Default Order by starting a Motion to Change. You may want to get advice from a lawyer. You can also visit the Family Law Information Centre at your local family court. 13

14 family responsibility office Where can I get more help and information? Family Responsibility Office Web: ontario.ca/fro TTY: Fax: (416) General Information - 24-Hour Automated Info Line Toll-free: To speak to your case contact, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., call: Toll-free: Interjurisdictional Support Order Unit Family Responsibility Office ISO Unit P.O. Box 600 Steeles West Post Office Toronto ON M3J 0K8 Canada Toronto: Toll-free: Driver s Licence Suspension Family Responsibility Office Ministry of Community and Social Services P.O. Box 200 Station A Oshawa ON L1H 0C5 Fax: Court Forms Available at the family court office or at Legislation Available online at Publications Ontario Toronto: Canada: Web: Legal Information Family Law Information Centre (FLIC). Located in your local family court. Correspondence (not for payments) Family Responsibility Office Ministry of Community and Social Services P.O. Box 200 Station A Oshawa ON L1H 0C5 Payments (not for letters) Family Responsibility Office Ministry of Community and Social Services P.O. Box 2204 Station P Toronto ON, M5S 3E9 Legal Aid Ontario Toronto: Ontario: Fax: Web: Lawyer Referral Service Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m (within GTA) Web: *Always include your seven-digit case number and first and last name on all payments. 14

15 What should I do if I have received a Notice of Default Hearing? Tips for support payors Here are some tips that will help you avoid problems with your child support or spousal support: Pay your support in full and on time to avoid enforcement action. Make your support payments through the Family Responsibility Office. Do not pay the support recipient directly. Always include your seven-digit case number and your first and last name on your payment and in all communication with the Family Responsibility Office. If your financial situation changes, you may wish to contact a lawyer to find out what your options are. The Family Responsibility Office cannot change the amount of support you pay. If you want the amount of support to change, you must commence a Motion to Change. If you fall behind on your payments, you should contact the Family Responsibility Office to make payment arrangements with your case contact. You will be asked to fill out a Financial Statement and a document called a Voluntary Arrears Payment Schedule (VAPS). Tell the Family Responsibility Office about any changes to your name, address or income source within 10 days to avoid file errors and possible enforcement action. Keep your own records (pay stubs, copies of cancelled cheques, receipts). The Family Responsibility Office does not provide a year-end statement for income tax purposes. If you believe that your support has ended, you should contact the Family Responsibility Office. If you need a change to your support order, you can get advice from a lawyer, or contact your local Legal Aid Office. Look in the Yellow Pages under legal aid. You can also meet with an Advice Lawyer at the family court or visit the Family Law Information Centres (FLIC) for help. FLICs are located at all family court locations across Ontario. For information on the location of the FLIC nearest you, visit If you need help finding a lawyer, contact the Lawyer Referral Service for a free half-hour consultation at For updated information on your case, call the Family Responsibility Office automated information line at , 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Have your Family Responsibility Office case number and Personal Identification Number (PIN) ready. 15

16 family responsibility office What is the Family Responsibility Office? The Family Responsibility Office receives every support order made by an Ontario court. It enforces these support orders by ensuring that support payments are made. If payments are not made, the Family Responsibility Office can take legal action. The Family Responsibility Office enforces court-ordered support as well as domestic contracts. It is important to understand that the Family Responsibility Office only enforces those parts of an order or agreement dealing with support. The Family Responsibility Office does not become involved in child custody or access issues. The Family Responsibility Office is a division of the Ministry of Community and Social Services and operates under the authority of the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act, The Family Responsibility Office also works with enforcement programs in other jurisdictions that have reciprocal arrangements with Ontario to collect and distribute support payments in situations where one parent lives outside of Ontario under the authority of the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act, Myth The judge can change the amount of the support at a Default Hearing. Fact The judge cannot change the amount of your support payments at a Default Hearing. If you want the amount of support to change, you must start a Motion to Change. 16

17 What should I do if I have received a Notice of Default Hearing? Glossary: Important terms you should understand Arrears: Another word for balance owing. It is the amount of support payments that a payor has missed and owes to a recipient. Commissioner for Taking Affidavits: A person who is authorized to administer oaths or take affidavits, such as a lawyer, MPP, municipal official or court official. Domestic Contract: A legal document in which the support payor and support recipient have agreed on the amount of support to be paid. FLR: This acronym stands for Family Law Rules. These Rules are a regulation under the Courts of Justice Act. The Rules and the associated forms apply to your Refraining Order. You can find these Rules online at The forms can be located at Payor: The person who is required to pay support under a support order or domestic contract. Recipient: The person who is entitled to receive support under a support order or agreement/domestic contract. Refraining Order: A court order that prevents the Family Responsibility Office from suspending your driver s licence for a temporary period of time. You cannot get a Refraining Order after the deadline provided in the First Notice has expired. Support Order: An order for the payment of money toward the support or maintenance of a child or spouse. Also includes a domestic contract requiring support payments that has been filed with the court. Voluntary Arrears Payment Schedule: A plan to repay support arrears (debt) owing to a recipient. The payor proposes the plan. The Family Responsibility Office reviews it and, if acceptable, agrees to it. The plan is proposed by the payor and, if acceptable, agreed to by the Family Responsibility Office. 17

18 family responsibility office Appendix: Sample Forms ONTARIO Court File Number SEAL at (Name of court) Court office address Form 30: Notice of Default Hearing Recipient(s) Full legal name & address for service street & number, municipality, postal code, telephone & fax numbers and address (if any). Lawyer s name & address street & number, municipality, postal code, telephone & fax numbers and address (if any). Payor Full legal name & address for service street & number, municipality, postal code, telephone & fax numbers and address (if any). Lawyer s name & address street & number, municipality, postal code, telephone & fax numbers and address (if any). TO (name of payor) YOU MUST COME TO COURT on (date), at a.m./p.m. or as soon after that time as the court can hear the matter, at (place of hearing) It is claimed by the recipient or on the recipient s behalf that you have missed support payments under an order, domestic contract or paternity agreement. Details of the claim against you can be found in the attached copy of the statement of money owed. If it is missing, you should contact the court office immediately. The court has been asked to hold a default hearing under section 41 of the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act, in which you will be required to explain not only the missed payments mentioned in the statement of money owed, but also any payments missed right up to the day when the court holds the hearing. YOU MUST FILL OUT the attached blank forms of the financial statement (Form 13) and the default dispute (Form 30B), serve a copy of the completed forms on the recipient s lawyer, or on the recipient if the recipient has no lawyer, or on the Director of the Family Responsibility Office, and then file the completed forms, together with proof of service (Form 6B), at the court office, all within 10 days after service of this notice on you. You can use any method of service allowed under rule 6 of the Family Law Rules, including mail, courier or fax. If the blank forms are missing, you must talk to the court office immediately. IF YOU DO NOT FILL OUT AND SERVE THE FINANCIAL STATEMENT OR IF YOU DO NOT COME TO COURT AS REQUIRED BY THIS NOTICE, A WARRANT MAY BE ISSUED FOR YOUR ARREST TO BRING YOU TO COURT. You should bring with you to the default hearing any documents (such as cancelled cheques) that you need to prove that you made payments that are claimed to be missing. You may bring your own lawyer with you. AT THE DEFAULT HEARING, THE COURT MAY MAKE AN ORDER AGAINST YOU, INCLUDING AN ORDER FOR YOUR IMPRISONMENT FOR UP TO 180 DAYS. YOU MAY ALSO BE ORDERED TO PAY COSTS. IF YOU PAY THE AMOUNT OF THE MISSING PAYMENTS ON OR BEFORE THE DAY OF THE HEARING, YOU MAY STILL BE REQUIRED TO COME TO COURT AND TO PAY COSTS. Date of signature Signature of clerk of the court FLR 30 (September 1, 2005) Page 1 of 1 18

19 What should I do if I have received a Notice of Default Hearing? ONTARIO Court File Number at (Name of court) Court office address Form 30B: Default Dispute Recipient(s) Full legal name & address for service street & number, municipality, postal code, telephone & fax numbers and address (if any). Lawyer s name & address street & number, municipality, postal code, telephone & fax numbers and address (if any). Payor Full legal name & address for service street & number, municipality, postal code, telephone & fax numbers and address (if any). Lawyer s name & address street & number, municipality, postal code, telephone & fax numbers and address (if any). My name is (full legal name) I live in (municipality & province) and I swear/affirm that the following is true: 1. I am the person named as payor in this case. Check off and fill in appropriate paragraphs below. Paragraphs that do not apply to you may be struck out and initialled. 2. I have not missed any support payments as claimed in the statement of money owed because: (Set out your reasons for saying that there are no missed payments.) 3. I do not owe the amount claimed in the statement of money owed. I owe instead the sum of $. The reason for the difference in the amounts is: (Set out your explanation, if any and if known, for the difference. If you have paid all the money that you claim to owe here, ignore and strike out paragraphs 4 and 5 below; if not, go to paragraph 5 to give your reasons for non-payment.) Put a line through any blank space left on this page. FLR 30B (September 1, 2005) Page 1 of 2 19

20 family responsibility office Appendix: Sample Forms Form 30B: Default Dispute (page 2) Court File Number 4. I owe the amount claimed in the statement of money owed. (Go to paragraph 5 below to give your reasons for not paying.) 5. My reasons for not paying the money that I owe are: (State your reasons.) Put a line through any blank space left on this page. Sworn/Affirmed before me at in on date province, state, or country municipality Commissioner for taking affidavits (Type or print name below if signature is illegible.) Signature (This form is to be signed in front of a lawyer, justice of the peace, notary public or commissioner for taking affidavits.) FLR 30B (September 1, 2005) Page 2 of 2 20

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