Maintenance Enforcement Program Enrollment

The Maintenance Enforcement Program manages any child and spousal support payments contained in a court order or separation agreement and  registered with the PEI program. A person making payments is called the payor; the person receiving payments is the payee. Under the Maintenance Enforcement Act, enforcement officers have authority to take action to enforce maintenance obligations in arrears.

 Am I required to enroll with MEP?

Enrollment is only mandatory when the payee applies for income assistance. Either party may choose to enroll in the Maintenance Enforcement Program for the following reasons:

  • For the convenience of collecting and tracking maintenance payments;
  • To have a neutral third party to help reduce conflict over payments; and
  • To take enforcement action if payments are in arrears.

How do I register with Maintenance Enforcement?

Submit a completed registration form with a copy of your current court order or separation agreement to the Maintenance Enforcement Program. Access the registration form one of the following ways:

How long does it take to become enrolled?

It may take two to three weeks to process your enrollment. A notice of filing will be issued once your enrollment is complete. If you have not received this within one month, contact MEP.

MEP will issue you a Personal Identification Number (PIN) which you will need to access up-to-date information about your personal case file anytime.

You will need both your PIN and case file number to get personal information as follows:

All information about a case is confidential and will be released only as necessary to enforce a maintenance order or agreement.

Is there a fee for the maintenance enforcement service?

There is no fee for the maintenance enforcement service.  Charges may be applied, however, for late payments and enforcement action.

  • A deterrent fee is charged when a payment obligation is one month in default and for each month thereafter that the ledger carries a child support arrears balance. This fee is used to cover program operating expenses.
  • A service fee is charged according to the action required to collect an outstanding support obligation. This fee is used to help cover costs of operating the program.

What are my responsibilities under the Maintenance Enforcement Program?

Once you enroll, all of your payments must be managed through the program. You must report to MEP any payments you exchange directly. When payments you make or receive on your own are not recorded, it may cause accounting errors and unnecessary deterrent fees.

It is your responsibility to contact Maintenance Enforcement to report the following:

  • Any payments exchanged directly rather than through MEP;
  • Any changes to the current order or agreement registered with the program or any change of circumstance which may impact the enforcement of your file;
  • A change of employment, contact information, or banking information which may affect direct deposit support payments;
  • A child has reached the age of majority and no longer attending school full time; and/or
  • A child has stopped living with the custodial parent and is no longer dependent.

How are payments managed through the Maintenance Enforcement Program?

MEP receives, calculates,  and records payments and then forwards the money to the recipient (payee). Payments options include:

  • Electronic banking;
  • Payroll deduction;
  • Money order or bank draft; or
  • Debit or cash payment.

In-person payments are accepted during regular government office hours at both the Honourable C.R. McQuaid Family Law Centre in Charlottetown and at the Summerside Court House in Summerside. Please note: The Maintenance Enforcement Program will not accept personal post-dated cheques.

What is the best way to receive payments?

The best way to receive maintenance payment is through direct deposit. As soon as the maintenance obligation is processed, it can be deposited directly into your account without delay. It may take up to two business days for direct deposit to appear in your account.

If you prefer to receive a cheque, payment will be issued from the Office of the Comptroller each Wednesday and then mailed to you. To register  for direct deposit, you must submit a completed Vendor Registration Form. If you have more than one MEP case, include all case numbers on the direct-deposit form. Download Vendor Registration Form.

  • It is important to notify MEP of any change in banking and contact information to avoid delay in receiving payment.
  • If personal cheques are used to make payments, unless it is a certified cheque, MEP will hold the payment for 15 business days until the cheque is cleared before issuing the payment.

When will I receive payment?

If you received regular payments before you enrolled with MEP, you will receive your first payment within one month of enrollment. However, if your case is complicated, it may take longer, i.e. poor payment history, payor’s contact information is unknown, or the payor refuses to pay.   Other possible reasons for a delay may be in relation to an enrollment delay:

  • Incomplete or incorrect information was entered on your enrollment form.
  • The order or agreement may require a legal opinion.
  • Extra time to prepare a summary of payments due is required because payments are in arrears.

What happens when the payor cannot or will not make the payments?

A court order or agreement that requires child and/or spousal  support is a legal obligation. Under PEI law,  support payments have priority over all other debt payments, i.e. credit card, mortgage or car loan. Any payor who does  not meet his/her maintenance obligation is subject to enforcement action.

 When will you take enforcement action?

If maintenance is in arrears when the order or agreement is enrolled with MEP, the payor will be contacted immediately to begin a voluntary payment arrangement, which will include paying arrears in addition to making regular payments. If a payment agreement cannot be achieved, enforcement action will then be considered. For more information read Enforcement Action for Child Support in Default in PEI.

Should I contact MEP when I want to review my case status?

The best way to know what is happening with your case is to log in to the online service or call the IVR system.  Review your payment history summary to find out when the most recent payment was received or how much may be owed in missed payments. If necessary, you can leave a message on the IVR system.

It is only necessary to contact MEP if:

  • You move or change your phone number;
  • You know the other party has moved, changed his/her phone number or job or has made a significant change, i.e. bought or sold a major asset such as a car or house or opened a new business;
  • Payment is received directly rather than through MEP;
  • Either party starts legal action that may result in a change to your current order or agreement;
  • There is a change in the child custody arrangement that may affect maintenance payments, i.e. change from sole to shared custody, a child leaves home or becomes independent; or
  • You believe there is a mistake in payment records.

What if my partner has been violent in the past?

If you tell us your partner has been violent in the past, we will handle your case carefully. Any information provided to us about any case is kept confidential, except where necessary to enforce an order.

What if the payor cannot be located?

There is no guarantee that MEP will be able to locate the payor.   MEP, however, has the authority to request, for the purposes of enforcing a maintenance order, that any person or public body share information about the payor’s location or financial circumstances. Personal information about the payor, such as work/employment history, birth date, social insurance number, and mother’s maiden name can be useful in tracing him/her.

Can I withdraw from MEP?

The beneficiary can withdraw from MEP at any time unless one of the parties  is receiving social assistance. You must contact the person managing your social assistance case about withdrawing from MEP.

What happens when one of us moves away?

If the payor leaves PEI, the order or agreement will be sent to the Maintenance Enforcement Program in the new jurisdiction. Registration may take two to four months to allow documents to be filed in court in the new location. If enforcement action is necessary, it will be based on the laws and enforcement methods in the new jurisdiction.

If the recipient leaves PEI, contact the Maintenance Enforcement Program in the new location as soon as possible. PEI Maintenance Enforcement has a reciprocity agreement with every jurisdiction in Canada and several outside of Canada. Payments will continue to be processed in PEI until the reciprocating jurisdiction notifies that the file is registered. Read Child Support from Out of Province.

What if I feel my case is being handled unfairly?

Please report any concerns or complaints directly to the Director of  Maintenance Enforcement at 902-894-0383. If the issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, contact the Manager of the Family Law Section at 902-368-6940.

Who can I contact for more information?

Maintenance Enforcement Program
Honourable C.R. McQuaid Family Law Centre
1 Harbourside Access Road
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: (902) 894-0383
Fax: (902) 368-6934

 

Published date: 
April 19, 2018