In order for the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) to effectively collect maintenance, we need clearly worded maintenance orders.
Maintenance orders must clearly state
- that the payment is maintenance or support
- that one party is to pay the other party
- the date the payments are to commence
- the dates the payments are due
- the quantum of maintenance or support
- the quantum of any costs or legal fees ordered and the portion of same that is solely in relation to support or maintenance
- any applicable conditions of eligibility and/or terminating event and whether the maintenance obligations may be revived once it ends
- the statute under which maintenance or support is ordered
There are standard clauses that can be used in orders and found in the practice memorandum of the Supreme Court family division. See sample orders FDO3 and FDO 4.
Quantum of maintenance
- If the quantum of maintenance, or exact dollar figure, does not appear on the face of the maintenance order, MEP may not be able to enforce the order.
- MEP cannot recalculate child support. If you wish to have the support amount in your order annually recalculated based on the child support guidelines, you must have the enrolment into the Recalculation Program explicitly stated in the order. Details about how to enrol in the Recalculation Program are on the NS Family Law website.
- MEP may not be able to enforce a variable order that is not based on the child support guidelines, especially if it provides for different maintenance amounts depending on particular circumstances. MEPs in other jurisdictions may not enforce variable orders or orders without the specific quantum owed stated in the order; this makes enforcement difficult if the payor moves outside Nova Scotia.
Financial disclosure clauses in orders
- MEP does not enforce a financial disclosure clause in a maintenance order.
- MEP has authority to demand financial disclosure from the payor and other persons for the purpose of enforcement of a maintenance order by MEP.
Section 7 Expenses ("special expenses," or "extraordinary expenses")
In order for a Section 7 of the Nova Scotia Child Maintenance Guidelines and Federal Child Support Guidelines to be enforceable by MEP, it should
- state clearly that one party (payor) pays the other party (recipient)
- state what expenses the payor is being required to pay for, such as child care, lessons, etc.
- state the dollar amount or quantum payable (such as $200) because MEP cannot enforce orders with provisions such as “the parties shall equally share the expense” or even “the payor shall pay 50% of the cost”
- state the date of the first payment and when payments are due after that (such as: the first day of each month or first day of each week), or whether payment is a one-time lump sum
- state for whom (the child’s full name) the expense is payable
- state clearly and unambiguously the termination date or any conditions for termination of payment of the expense, if applicable
Information for lawyers
Child support orders with no terminating events
See this fact sheet (PDF 97 KB).