Many residents of British Columbia who rely on child and spousal support use the services provided by the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program. The British Columbia Ministry of Justice established the program in 1989 for the purpose of enforcing and monitoring maintenance agreements and orders pertaining to spousal and child support payments.
The program enforces child support payments in the way similar to a third party. The program’s personnel takes action on behalf of enrolled families by overseeing child and spousal payments, making sure that they are complete and made in a timely manner. Whenever a payor misses a payment, the program’s personnel will take actions to encourage the individual to submit the payment voluntarily. Personnel will even offer the payor support in setting up an arrangement to catch up with outstanding payments. In the event the payor is not cooperative, the program’s personnel will take further steps as outlined in the provincial and federal laws to use enforcement measures, such as a wage garnishment and suspending a payor’s driver’s licence.
Moreover, payors who are behind in their payments will be charged interest that is added to the overdue amount owed to the recipient. In the instance the payor is late in making two payments or completely skips at least two payments, a default fee is added to the payor’s balance. This fee, which is in equivalent to a 30-day payment and cannot exceed $400.00, is paid to the BC government instead of the recipient.
Many British Columbia residents who are experiencing trouble obtaining spousal or child support payments retain the services of a local lawyer to help settle the matter. Since the legal aspect surrounding maintenance orders can be complex, a lawyer may be able to assist a person in determining the amount of the support that they may be eligible to receive.
Source: British Columbia Family Maintenance Enforcement Program, “What we do / How we do it“, October 23, 2014
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