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If you fall behind in making support payments, FRO has the legal authority and responsibility to take enforcement action. This may include filing a writ of seizure and sale against assets you own, such asa home, land, a car, or a boat.

What is a writ of seizure and sale?

A writ of seizure and sale is a document the court issues to help collect money that is owed.

We file writs with the sheriff in the jurisdiction where a support payor owns assets. If the support payor attempts to sell or refinance real property, the writ will require the support payor to use any profit to pay the support arrears.

How long do writs stay in effect?

Writs stay in effect until they are withdrawn or until the arrears are paid in full.

Can I avoid having a writ filed against me?

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

Your other options are to:

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

When can the sheriff seize and sell assets?

Before the sheriff can seize assets, we must confirm that the payor owns them. After this we’ll consider:

  • the amount of support arrears owed
  • the value of the assets, and
  • the success of other enforcement actions taken to recover the outstanding arrears.

Does a writ guarantee that support arrears will be paid after the sale of assets?

No. While writs ensure profits from the sale of assets are used to pay off the owners’ debts, support arrears are only one type of debt. Support arrears have a priority over other unsecured debts (such as credit card debt), but secured debts (like mortgages) come first. If there is money left after secured debts are paid, it may go to pay support arrears.

What happens if the support payor’s name changes?

Court rules require that the name on the writ be the same as the name on the support order.

If the payor is using a name that is different from the one listed on the support order, the payor and the support recipient must notify us to update the writ.

We will notify the sheriff of the name change and request that the writ include all names and aliases, including spelling variations. This will ensure that the writ reflects the new name and will be found when the payor is selling or refinancing a property.

Learn more

Paying arrears (voluntary arrears payment plan)

Contact FRO