Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP)

Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP)

Our team of family law experts recognizes that the Maintenance Enforcement Program can be hard to understand.

We are here to assist with understanding, dealing with and enrolling in the Maintenance Enforcement Program, We are also here to assist you in fixing your order to ensure that MEP is taking the correct amount of support as well as enforcing your Section 7 expenses.

Maintenance Enforcement Program Questions

Some of the common questions we hear when dealing with the Maintenance Enforcement Program are:

  • What is the Maintenance Enforcement Program?
  • How much can the Maintenance Enforcement Program garnish from your wages?
  • Can MEP suspend my driver’s license?
  • How do you negotiate arrears with MEP?
  • I lost my job, will MEP stop taking payments?
  • Can MEP calculate the correct support owed?
  • Does MEP enforce my extra expenses?
  • Is there a program that helps me calculate any changes?

What is the Maintenance Enforcement Program?

The Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) is a program that is authorized to collect and enforce spousal, partner and child support Orders.

What does Maintenance Do?

Maintenance Enforcement is there to ensure that the payments you are making or receiving are being paid in accordance with your current Order. This is not only helpful for the person who is reciting support, but is helpful for the debtor as well. They track and monitor any overpayments/underpayments that may have been made.

We see this is quite helpful in situations where families are in high conflict situations as MEP will act as the third party collector and distributors of payments, cutting down on the communications you need to have with your ex regarding support payments.

How does Maintenance Enforcement deal with Section 7 (extraordinary) expenses?

MEP has recently made changes to how they enforce Section 7 expenses. MEP will continue to enforce section 7 expenses where the court order or agreement clearly states that either:

  • a party is to pay a fixed dollar amount for expenses
  • both parties are to pay a percentage or proportionate share of expenses, and the order specifies what expenses are payable

These Section 7 expenses could be as follows:

  • child care
  • health-related or medical expenses
  • post-secondary education
  • extracurricular activities
  • primary / secondary school or educational
  • medical and dental insurance premiums for the child
  • other extraordinary expenses

MEP is no longer able to enforce section 7 expenses in the following circumstances:

  • When the order requires the parties to pay a percentage or proportionate share of expenses but doesn’t clearly state which expenses are to be shared
  • The order lists non-specific expenses
  • health-related or medical without further details about the types of expenses
  • post-secondary education – MEP will only enforce expenses for tuition and books, unless the order clearly provides for other expenses
  • section 7 expenses without further details
  • primary / secondary school or educational unless specific expenses are listed in the order
  • extracurricular activities without stating any specific activities
  • additional expenses without further details

If you’re impacted by the change to MEP enforcement of Section 7 expenses, you will need to have your order amended if you want to claim these expenses.

What happens if a parent is not paying?

Maintenance Enforce can take steps to enforce support, including:

  1. Wage Support deduction
  2. Non-Wage Support deduction
  3. Federal Support Deduction Notice
  4. Writ of Enforcement at the Personal Property Registry
  5. Registration against Real Property
  6. Credit Bureau Reporting
  7. Motor Vehicle Restriction
  8. Driver’s Licence Suspension
  9. Recreational hunting and fishing
  10. Federal Licence Denial
  11. Financial Examination Process
  12. Default Hearing
  13. Seizure of assets
  14. Seizure of third-party assets

Child Support Recalculation Program

Changing your child support order can be costly, this could involve lawyers, drafting and filing new court orders. This could be a source of fighting for families. If there is a change in your income, how do you know what to pay correctly in child support?

The Child Support Recalculation Program helps parents with Child Support orders continue paying a fair amount of support for their children in accordance with their incomes.

The Child Support Recalculation Program charges a $77.00 fee per parent to assist with the recalculation, which is significantly lower than court costs.

The program annually looks at each parent’s income to determine what you should be correctly paying for the following year. They then have a recalculation Court Order filed on your behalf and adjust your child support payment accordingly.

Once they have completed your recalculation, a copy of the Order is provided to both parents and Maintenance Enforcement. Maintenance Enforcement then adjusts their records and correctly enforce the amount of child support.

The Child Support Recalculation Program not only adjusts your child support payments, but it can also adjust the percentage amount of any Section 7 expenses that you are paying. For example:

Scenario 1

Susie and Derek have two children. Susie made $45,000 per year in 2017 and has both of the children full time. Derek has the children every second weekend and made $75,000 per year in 2017. Derek paid Susie $1,094 per month for child support and paid 62.5% of the extraordinary expenses, with Susie being responsible for 37.5% of the expenses. Suzie now makes $50,000 per year and Derek makes $89,000 per year, the Child Support Recalculation Program adjusts the support as follows:

    • Derek now pays Susie $1,304.00 per month for child support.; and
    • Derek is now responsible for 64.03% of the extraordinary expenses, while Susie is responsible for 35.97%

Scenario 2

Susie and Derek have two children. Susie made $45,000 per year in 2017 and has both of the children full time. Derek has the children every second weekend and made $75,000 per year in 2017. Derek paid Susie $1,094 per month for child support and paid 62.5% of the extraordinary expenses, with Susie being responsible for 37.5% of the expenses. Suzie now makes $60,000 per year and Derek makes $65,000 per year, the Child Support Recalculation Program adjusts the support as follows:

  • Derek now pays Susie $944.00 per month for child support.; and
  • Derek is now responsible for 52% of the extraordinary expenses, while Suzie is responsible for 48%

Scenario 3

Susie and Derek have two children and have a shared parenting arrangement. Susie made $45,000 per year and Derek made $75,000 per year in 2017. Susie owed $653.00 per month in child support and Derek owed $1,094.00 per month in support. Derek paid Susie $441.00 per month for child support (which is the difference between the supports owed) and paid 62.5% of the extraordinary expenses, with Susie being responsible for 37.5% of the expenses. Suzie now makes $60,000 per year and Derek makes $65,000 per year, the Child Support Recalculation Program adjusts the support as follows:

  • Derek now pays Susie $75.00 per month for child support.; and
  • Derek is now responsible for 52% of the extraordinary expenses, while Susie is responsible for 48%

Scenario 4

Susie and Derek have two children and have a shared parenting arrangement. Susie made $45,000 per year and Derek made $75,000 per year in 2017. Susie owed $653.00 per month in child support and Derek owed $1,094.00 per month in support. Derek paid Susie $441.00 per month for child support (which is the difference between the supports owed) and paid 62.5% of the extraordinary expenses, with Susie being responsible for 37.5% of the expenses. Suzie now makes $75,000 per year and Derek makes $65,000 per year, the Child Support Recalculation Program adjusts the support as follows:

  • Susie now pays Derek $150.00 per month for child support.; and
  • Derek is now responsible for 46.43% of the extraordinary expenses, while Susie is responsible for 53.57%

Conclusion

The benefits of this program are that it can be a painless solution for families going forward, it helps avoid any difficult discussions about adjusting child support with your ex and avoid the need for lawyers to be involved.

Their goal is to help parents keep their support current and up to date in line with their incomes to help avoid underpayments and overpayments.

It also helps parents avoid owing large sums in the future due to underpayment, or in other cases having paid too much into child support and having a large overpayment, resulting in the other parent having to reimburse you for the overpayment.

Kurie Law Group remains open as we continue to assist clients during this ongoing crisis. During this time, however, we ask that you do not attend our offices in person but connect with us via phone or email. We are closely following Alberta Health Services (AHS) updates about COVID-19 (Coronavirus). If you have any questions as to how this crisis may impact your legal matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.