Family Law / Divorce Library

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Child Support:
Maintenance Enforcement Program

Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP)

All Albertan child support orders can be collected through the Alberta government's Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP). MEP is a government department.

MEP can lead to additional paperwork, and it can at times be difficult to utilize and inflexible, however MEP can be helpful to track payments, and MEP has many collection powers where support is not being paid as ordered. MEP can:

  1. Garnishee (take part of) wages;
  2. Seize bank accounts and assets;
  3. Suspend driver's licenses;
  4. Freeze motor vehicle registry services;
  5. Suspend passport services;
  6. Suspend fishing and hunting licensing services;
  7. Seize government benefit payments and tax returns; and
  8. Levy fees and interest.

Either the payor or the recipient can decide to register for MEP, using the forms located at

MEP will automatically stop enforcing child support when an adult child turn 22 years old, although a court can extend that duration (see Adult Children).

MEP will automatically stop enforcing child support, spousal support, and partner support when the person paying support has died. However, a claim may be made against their Estate for Family Maintenance & Support, which seeks that a portion of their estate (property) be used to provide for dependents if their Will has not left sufficient assets to any dependent.

Where circumstances have changed, MEP can sometimes perform a Status Review to determine if a child is no longer living with a parent or no longer enrolled in school full-time.

Where a debtor has made attempts to enter into payment arrangements with MEP but for valid reasons has been unable to, they may apply for a stay of enforcement or suspension of enforcement. Unless the court orders otherwise, a stay only postpones arrears and is in place for 9 months, following which point arrears become payable again. Unless payment is postponed because of temporary circumstance such as the loss of a job, it's generally expected that prolonged changes in circumstances or Retroactive Adjustment of arrears should lead to a court application to vary child support. Court Applications for stays of enforcement must also be served upon the Director of Maintenance Enforcement. The debtor must have attempted to make payment arrangements with MEP, and there must be valid reasons why they're unable to enter into such an arrangement, which they'd need to include in their Affidavit. Courts generally can't undo steps that MEP has already taken, except that money held by MEP or the court can be returned to the debtor, restrictions will usually be removed once a person is in compliance with a court order (which can set the amount of instalment payments), and the debtor can bring an Application for overpayment against their former partner (see Retroactive Adjustment to Child Support and Retroactive Adjustment to Spousal Support).

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You're Viewing:

Child Support:
Maintenance Enforcement Program


Content by Ken Proudman of BARR LLP (Edmonton)

Last updated on January 21, 2023

Last complete review of all content on this page on November 12, 2022

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