Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The FRO was WRONG...

Okay, it's been a while since my last post. Adjusting my support last year went better than expected and I have since found a job and revised the amount back to a more appropriate level.

The latest "excitement" is that on October 19th the FRO sent me a letter (arr. 2013-10-24) notifying my of being in arrears... Whoa! WAIT A MINUTE. I have been, and I advice any of you, to be ahead of your support payments. Of course this means you need to trust the folks in your version of the FRO to know what they're doing. The folks at the Family Responsibility Office clearly do not. They issued this letter, without advising my case worker, that stated I owed $2015 in Child Support. I was offended and shocked because I work so hard to ensure I'm not in arrears. My calculations are that I'm $249 ahead month to month, at the lowest. My support payments are $566 and the support is paid on the 20th of the month, ahead of the 1st of the month. So, when I'm being accused of being a Deadbeat Dad, I'm rightfully offended!

So I called the FRO (October 25th), they offered no sympathy and couldn't fathom that I was upset, or that the numbers could be wrong. I demanded a Statement of Account, normally a $25 cost to the requester, but how could I defend or understand how I had become an offender without something to back it up? They told me they would send me that SoA. I got off the phone and my stress level was through the roof.

I calmed down and decided this insanity had to stop. I called on the Ontario Ombudsman, a government watchdog as it were, and two days later they called me back. We discussed the case and my concerns, and they went off to talk the FRO. Yesterday I got a call that explained the FRO reviewed their prior conclusion, and, low and behold, they recanted the accusation. They found I was ahead by $249! Wow! What a remarkable coincidence!

Canada Post has yet to deliver that Statement of Account I was promised, and frankly the idea that I would need to PAY these fools anything to understand my account is ludicrous! If you feel that they are in the wrong, call them on it, be polite (more than I was), and push for the information. If they hadn't recanted and didn't provide the SoA (I will have it, one way or another), I would not have come to an agreement with them. The cost will be to determine if they have already tarnished my recovering Credit Bureau reputation, but I have been told that this initiative was halted.

To the credit of my agent, my contact at the FRO, Michelle. These agents have 1600 cases each. How do they cope when payors call and are abusive or simply upset. I don't believe anyone should be abusive, but this topic and these tactics are offensive and will generate agitated callers. Rightfully so. That said, TRY to be calm and collected, even if they are dismissive and arrogant.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Initiating Change: Beginning the termination of support.

It has become necessary to consider both a reduction in support due to a change in circumstances (I have been laid off) and the termination of support for my older daughter as she is turning 18 in the near future. She plans on continuing her education, but not for some time. Her mother insists that she deserves continued support and while I am fine with this if she provides documentation, if she cannot I will need to proceed. After the level of support, and frankly over-payment both by the courts order and my own distrust of the system*, I need to re-open these wounds. I have no choice. This is not a process anyone enjoys, least of all me. My ex-wife clearly believes my choice is one of greed or selfishness, but those people that know me can vouch that this has never been, and will never be, my motivation. Any parent, no matter what the situation, will always ask themselves "am I doing this for the kids" and only if that answer is "yes" should they proceed. I can proceed.

I'll keep you all posted on the process and progress.

* because I had such little faith in the system the last time I was out of work (7 months) I did not pursue a reduction in support, instead I paid the full amount through this time. I also was saddled with an imputed income charge in 2002 that amounted to $15,000 be set as arrears and to be paid over three years. My income was imputed to $35,000 when my actual and true income, was ~$9,000. It was not a matter of being under-employed by choice, but because I'm in tech and that was a time when the .com bubble burst. I endured and survived by driving a tow-truck, roadside assistance, but rather than allow me to build up this role, the system (at my ex-wife's request) took my license and my ability to pay any bills. I had to walk away from and earned zero dollars for months while things were sorted out. I estimate I have over-paid support by ~$18,000. I have been fortunate that my parents were in a position to help.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

From a Father... to the FRO

I appreciate the feedback I get from others on their experiences on the system. I offer you a comment from one father:

The amount that I pay per month on a 4 year old is absurd. One would think that I make 2x what I make. At one point after the FRO stepped in, I lost my job. This establishment is like the mob. Arrears started to accumulate. Letter started arriving. My license was taken from me. Then my passport. Tell me: how am I supposed to get to that interview (the only [interview] that I have had in ages thanks to the economy) that is in a city 100km away? I have no money and no license! Gee the FRO, thanks for looking out for the family. We're all so much better off now that you have stepped in! 
Now I'm working again and all paid up with my arrears – it's part of the equalization after to 3 years in court. Guess what!? I just got a letter from the FRO! My passport was just revoked and my license (fourth time) is gone too! 
It turns out that the judges order that states "there are no monies owing to or from either party" is too vague. That's right. Too vague. 
Thanks FRO.

I really wish the government bodies involved would realize that not ALL fathers are Deadbeats... We really need to make this system less adversarial.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Yankee-Bashing Canadian Comedian Seeks Refuge in… America | NewsReal Blog

“The judge even said, if I was paralyzed from the neck down, I would still be responsible for having to earn a million dollars a year.” - Dave Foley [Yankee-Bashing Canadian Comedian Seeks Refuge in… America | NewsReal Blog]

And this is the stupidity of imputed income and the judges that operate in the Ontario Family Court system.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Children Are Not Pawns

Your children are not chess pieces in the life you have after a failed marriage, they are children. You don't play one against your former spouse or make it difficult for them to see that other party. Why, because they are not your property and life is NOT a game.

Some people, such as my ex-wife, are all too ready to call the other parent names, denigrate them or otherwise tarnish the image that your children have for their other parent. They will make up their minds on their own. That said, I would encourage you to ensure that if your son or daughter is unhappy with the other parent, try to help them maintain a positive attitude where possible.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Wait, did they {gasp} listen to a Payor?

I received a notice this week, and I apologize for not posting this sooner, that the FRO has sent a Notice of Termination of Support Deduction that states that the Department of Justice (FOA) that the FRO "no longer requires [them] to to take support payment deductions..."

Well, this is good news. While I am not sure whether this was due to my FAX or my involvement of my local M.P.P., Dr. Kuldip Kular's office, the result is the same. Now I did find it humorous that my contact at the office was told this process was standard procedure and was not a new action, but rather an old one for the last dance around the courtroom, but I'm certain that's either a smoke-screen or an individual's uninformed observation.

Either way, this teaches us something about dealing with the FRO:

  • DON'T TRUST THEIR ACCOUNTING (I'm waiting on a Statement of Account BTW)
Take care people.