Can a spouse refuse access if child support is not paid in its entirety? What happens if my ex defaults on his support payments?

No, the custodial parent (or parent with the primary physical residency of the child) has no right to deny or limit the rights of the other parent.

When a court orders child support, it is automatically filed with the Family Responsibility Office (FRO). They then contact the parties and collect the support payment from the paying parent to administer to the recipient.

If there is no order and instead only a separation agreement, then the parties can file the agreement with the court who then forwards it to the FRO.

If the paying parent starts defaulting on their payments, the FRO has the right under the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act, 1996, to:

  • (1) seize bank accounts;
  • (2) garnish wages;
  • (3) cancel income tax returns and GST/HST rebates;
  • (4) cancel passports and other federal licenses;
  • (5) suspend their driving license;
  • (6) garnish 50% of Employment Insurance, CPP, OAS, and other periodic federal payments.


If the FRO fails to enforce the support payments and the paying parent recurrently defaults, the last option would be to charge them in contempt of the orders pursuant to s. 49(1) of the Family Law Act. This may result in either a fine or a term of imprisonment.