October 31, 2019

Government Strengthens Legislation On Child Support Payments

Amendments are being introduced that will help enforcement of child support orders.

The Enforcement of Maintenance Orders Amendment Act, 2019 will amend The Enforcement of Maintenance Orders Act, 1997 and will clarify that the Maintenance Enforcement Office (MEO) can collect financial information, including banking information.

“These changes are about helping children receive the support to which they are entitled,” Justice Minister Don Morgan said.  “The Maintenance Enforcement Office needs to be able to collect banking information in order to accurately calculate and collect payments.”

The current law says the MEO can request information on financial status, but does not expressly reference banking information.

The proposed amendments will also add recalculation decisions to the definition of maintenance order.  Recalculation decisions allow for updates to child support payments to be reviewed by program staff rather than going back to court.

Some family law disputes may result in an arbitration award. The amendments will also clarify that the Maintenance Enforcement Office can enforce an arbitrator’s decision that awards support.

The MEO registers child support orders and agreements, records and monitors payments and takes enforcement action when the required payments are missed or late.