If you fail to make support payments, the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) has the legal authority and responsibility to take enforcement action. This may include garnishing your bank account. Garnishing means we can take the amount you owe (arrears) directly from your bank account.

How much will FRO garnish from my bank account?

The bank is required to take the full amount of the money you owe from your bank account, and then send the money to us.

If the account is only in your name, 100 per cent of the money you owe can be taken to pay arrears.

Can a joint bank account be garnished?

Yes, but only a maximum of 50 per cent of the money you owe can be taken to pay arrears.

When it’s a joint account, the financial institution must:

  • tell the other account co-holder(s) about the garnishment
  • tell FRO that the money is from a joint account.

When money is taken from a joint bank account, FRO holds it for 30 days. Within that 30-day period, the account co-holder(s) can file a dispute with the court claiming ownership to all or part of the money. We are required to hold the money until the dispute is resolved.

If the co-holder(s) of the account does not file a dispute within 30 days, we will give the money to the support recipient.

Can I avoid bank garnishment?

Yes. The best way to avoid bank garnishment is to pay the support you owe in full and on time each month.

Your other options to avoid bank garnishment are to:

  1. immediately pay all the arrears owing, or
  2. enter into a voluntary arrears payment plan with FRO.

Learn more

Paying arrears(voluntary arrears payment plan)

Contact FRO