What are the Maintenance Enforcement Program and the Recalculation Program?
In Alberta, those that have Court Orders, or written agreements, that specify the amount of child support that is to be payable, may be able to register those documents with the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) and the Recalculation Program (RP). Unfortunately, not all Court Orders or written agreements are capable of being registered with MEP or RP and you will need to send such documents to MEP or RP for a determination as to whether they fall within the program.
Sometimes, when a person separates from their spouse or former partner, they sign a document that is typically called a "Separation Agreement." When former spouses divorce, they normally obtain a Divorce Judgment and Corollary Relief Order if there were children of the marriage. Parties can also obtain a Child Support Order even if they do not elect to obtain a Divorce Judgment and Corollary Relief Order, or if they were never married.
MEP is a way to enforce payment of child support and is a very good way to ensure that the recipient receives the child support they should receive, if the payor of the child support is not paying the amount they ought to. MEP can also calculate the appropriate amount the each party should pay towards any section 7 expenses too.
If MEP is used to enforce child support, typically, they deduct the appropriate amount from the payor's bank account, and deposit the appropriate amount directly into the recipient's bank account.
MEP has a large number of tools available to it to obtain funds from the payor and, from my experience, they are very efficient at doing so. This is a link to the MEP's website: MEP Program.
RP can be used by the parties to avoid having to return to Court to have the amount of child support varied following a change of the income of the parties. As with MEP, one of the parties must register with RP to be able to use the program.
Once registered, the RP will contact the parties in advance of the anniversary date of the document to obtain the financial information of the parties. Once received, RP will contact the parties to inform them of the new amount of child support and the date upon which the new amount will be payable.
RP can only recalculate child support once each year and they aim to have the recalculated amount effective on the anniversary date of the Order.
If a party does not cooperate with RP, RP has tools available to it to enable a recalculation of child support, notwithstanding the lack of documentation from a party. They do so by applying a deemed increase to the income. How much the deemed increase is will depend upon the length of time since the last order or decision.
This is a link to RP's website: RP