In BC there is a free service to help spouses collect spousal maintenance and child maintenance payments which is called the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP).

In order to register with FMEP you will need a Court Order that sets out exactly what payments are required. If you already have a Separation Agreement it can be filed with the Court and it then becomes a Court Order.

FMEP started in 1988 and in the first year it helped families receive $445,000. It now helps families receive this amount in a single morning and payments now exceed $200 million per year.

There are currently approximately 70,000 parents and 50,000 children relying on FMEP to collect their payments and the average enrollment time is over 9 years.

FMEP’s success is due to the stringent powers they have at their disposal to collect money.

For example they can:

• intercept federal sources of income such as income tax or EI
• attach wages, bank accounts or other sources of income
• cancel a current driver’s licence or prevent a new licence being issued
• prevent a motor vehicle registration being issued or renewed
• suspend a passport or federal licences such as pilot’s licence
• report unpaid maintenance to a credit bureau
• summons the payor to a default hearing in court
• issue a lien against the payor’s personal property or land

Deborah Todd Family Law Victoria
Deborah A. Todd