Hi, my name is Lucy D’Ercole and I am an associate with the Feldstein Family Law Group.
Today I am going to discuss what to do if your partner is in breach of your Separation Agreement.
Let’s say you have stipulated access, but your former spouse will not let you see your child.
In another instance, your former spouse is not paying child support or spousal support.
What is written in this Agreement is only as good as your ability to enforce it. So, what are your options?
The first thing you should do is see if there is anything specified in the Agreement that outlines what to do if one of you is not following it. Many Agreements contain dispute resolution processes that must be followed. For example, you may first be required to speak to your spouse and attempt to negotiate the issue. The next step typically involves mediation or some other form of alternate dispute resolution.
You and your former partner can also seek out the assistance of a neutral third party, such as a parenting coordinator to help resolve your dispute.
In most cases, support provisions in a Separation Agreement can be enforced by way of the Family Responsibility Office (“FRO”). However, before filing with FRO the recipient parent is typically required to provide notice to the payor parent about any payment default. It is important to be mindful of your notice obligation to the payor parent, as it can be hurtful to your case if you prematurely file the Agreement with FRO.
If the dispute resolution process as set out in the Agreement fails, then you will need to go to court.
For all enforcement procedures not relating to support, such as custody, access, or the division of property, you will need to commence a family law court action.
Dealing with a partner who is not following an Agreement can be frustrating, but the good news is that steps can be taken to enforce what you are legally entitled to. It is important that you act fast and seek out the advice of a legal professional at every step to ensure that you are not only following the correct procedures, but that you are also aware of what remedies are available to you. For more information and to schedule a free initial consultation, please visit our website at www.separation.ca or contact us at 905-581-7222.