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Ministry of Community and Social Services (Family Responsibility Office)

Date: 2010

A woman complained to the Ombudsman that the Family Responsibility Office (FRO), would not release a support payment of $1,200 that her ex-husband had made, even though she was owed almost $7,000. FRO’s explanation was that the man had filed for bankruptcy protection, meaning it was only allowed to collect ongoing support, not arrears. FRO staff confirmed that they were holding $1,200 in payments the man had made while he was under bankruptcy protection. Ombudsman staff asked FRO to reconsider the matter and it ultimately agreed that the ex-husband could make an additional voluntary payment to pay off the support arrears, even though he had not been discharged from bankruptcy – and it released the $1,200 to the woman.