The Maintenance Enforcement Program (hereinafter referred to as “MEP”) is a free government program that collects and enforces the payment of both child support and spousal/partner support as well as Court ordered costs that relate to obtaining child or spousal/partner support. In past presentations, I affectionately refer to MEP as “the repo man for support”.
Once a payor of support or a recipient of support registers with MEP, MEP can then collect both child support payments and spousal/partner support payments. You can register a Court Order that directs the payment of support or you can sign an MEP agreement which records an agreement to pay support. MEP does not have the ability to change the terms of a Court Order or enforce a new payment arrangement without a new Court Order or a new MEP agreement being registered with MEP. Here is a link to MEP’s website and just look under “how to register”: https://justice.alberta.ca/programs_services/mep/Pages/default.aspx?WT.svl=programs. You can also unregister with MEP but there is fee to do so.
The Maintenance Enforcement Act gives MEP “super powers” when collecting on support payments by allowing MEP to garnish, suspend or cancel drivers’ licenses, cancel passports and even sell a payor’s property for non-payment of support. These are “super powers” because MEP can enforce without the need for a further Court Order. Unlike mere mortals or mere lawyers like me who need a further Court Order or Writ of Enforcement to collect on outstanding debt judgments. Your child support or spousal/partner support Court Order are debt judgments. It is very important that payors make appropriate payment arrangements with MEP to prevent enforcement measures.
I can hear all the payors groaning while they read this article. But there is a benefit for payors: MEP keeps track of your payments, you can print off your payment statements and you can ask MEP to recalculate support payments for you each year. It may “keep the peace” between payors and recipients as you submit your updated financial information to MEP each year and MEP issues a recalculation decision in writing. You are able to appeal MEP’s recalculation decision with another free program called Child Support Resolution Services also offered by the Government of Alberta. So win-win. Money is saved and the obligation to exchange and review updated financial information each year is done! Also for you payors out there, MEP can be asked to do a “child update” if you believe that a child is no longer a dependent child and you feel that no further child support should be paid. However, if you wish to stop paying child support for this child then you will need an updated Court Order as MEP cannot change the terms of a Court Order.
See MEP can help make support arrangements easier. Should you have any questions, we are just a consultation away via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone call to (780) 761-1070…please note there is a fee for this consultation. We can help you obtain child support, spousal/partner support or change a Court Order dealing with the payment of support.
Author: Ms. Ning Ramos, Barrister and Solicitor
Phone: (780) 761-1070