Procedure for Collecting Child, Spousal or Partner Support

child support

Collection of Child, Spousal or Partner Support: Know The Process, Know Your Rights

When dealing with collecting child support the Maintenance Enforcement Program collects court-ordered child support, spousal and partner support. The issue is the inconsistent enforcement by the MEP of section 7 expenses, and because of this they have now revised their policy and procedure relating to enforcement of section 7 expenses.

A section 7 expense is an expense on top of basic child support including:

  • Childcare
  • Dental Care
  • Glasses
  • School expenses
  • Sports
  • Extra curricular activities

These expenses are divided into 2 separate categories:

Fixed Amount: parties pay a set dollar amount

  • Expense claims are not required to be filed

Proportionate Amount: parties split expenses based on proportionate income

  • Expense report is required to be filed with MEP for them to be able to enforce the expense amount

Please follow the guide below for procedure requirements for each type of expense amount:

  • Non-specific fixed amount
    • Example: “A” must pay $100 in section 7/health related expenses
    • Expenses must fall properly under one of the section 7 categories (see above)
  • Non-specific proportionally paid amount
    • MEP will generally only enforce these amounts which both partners agree to pay. This will require a section 7 agreement form and expense form to be completed. The expense form must be filled out upon payments with proof of payment attached.
      • Proof of payment must:
        • By actual party seeking MEP enforcement
        • State the name of the child receiving it and the name of the service provider
        • The date the payment must be indicated
        • State the expense type
  • Specific proportionally paid amount
    • Example: “A” must pay 50% of all hockey expenses incurred on behalf of the child.
    • Types of specific proportionally paid amounts and how detailed the description of the expense must be
      • Child care expenses incurred as a result of the custodial parents employment, illness, disability or education or training for employment
        • Expenses do not need to be more specific than childcare
      • The portion of the medical and dental premiums attributable to the child
      • Health related expenses that exceed insurance reimbursement by at least $100 annually, including orthodontic treatment, professional counselling provided by a psychologist social worker, psychiatrist or any other person, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and prescription drugs, hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses;
        • Expenses MUST be specific (prescription drugs or glasses). It is not sufficient to say ‘A will proportionally pay 50% of all health expenses  incurred on behalf of the child).
      • Extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school education or for any other educational programs that meet the child’s particular needs;
        • Specific expenses will be covered only (field trips/tutoring).
        • It is insufficient to say "Extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school education or for any other educational programs"
      • Expenses for post-secondary education
        • Expense MUST be specific.
        • If a party fails to specify beyond ‘post-secondary’ only tuition and required textbooks will be covered (board and transportation for example would not be covered).
      • Extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities.
        • Must state specific activity (hockey v. extracurricular)
        • MEP will enforce all expenses related to that activity that do not properly fall under s. 3 expenses).

Caselaw:

  • 2016 ABQB 593 discusses reasonableness of s. 7 expenses.
  • 2016 ABQB 523 discuss acceptable categories of expenses and the need for consent