Can a court order the deposit of a passport to secure payment under a Family Law Order?

Ontario, Canada


The following excerpt is from Sadlier v Carey, 2015 ONSC 3537 (CanLII):

In Jones v. Hugo, the applicant requested security for the respondent's support obligations first by making a non-depletion of property order and second, by requiring the respondent to deposit his passport with the court. Justice Sherr concluded that he had the power under s. 34(10)(k) of the Family Law Act to order the deposit of the passport. I agree and adopt Justice Sherr’s reasons in Hugo at paras. 86-88 as follows (the same reasoning was applied by Justice Sherr in H.F. v. M.H.): 86 The deposit of a passport is not a charge on property. The issue is whether the deposit of the passport can qualify as "or otherwise" for requiring the securing of payment under the order. I find that it does. 87 This clause of the Act should be considered and interpreted within the context of the entirety of the Act, as well as other legislation enforcing support orders. One of the objectives of the legislation is to ensure that payors pay support ordered by the court and not abscond from the jurisdiction in order to avoid their support obligation. This is reflected in section 43 of the Act which reads as follows: Arrest of absconding debtor 43. (1) If an application is made under section 33 or 37 and the court is satisfied that the respondent is about to leave Ontario and that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the respondent intends to evade his or her responsibilities under this Act, the court may issue a warrant for the respondent's arrest for the purpose of bringing him or her before the court. Bail (2) Section 150 (interim release by justice of the peace) of the Provincial Offences Act applies with necessary modifications to an arrest under the warrant. 88 Section 43 of the Act permits the court, by warrant, to have a support payor arrested and brought to the court if it has reasonable grounds to believe that he or she will abscond from the jurisdiction in order to avoid his or her support obligations. The court is permitted under subsection 43 (2) of the Act to impose bail terms. In such situations, the deposit of a passport would likely be a critical term of release. [Emphasis in original.]

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