One of the most frustrating experiences in family law is when a parent does not pay child support they owe their children. We have all heard of deadbeat parents who try to find a way out of paying, or who simply refuse to pay. To deal with this issue and help ensure parents are paying court ordered child and spousal support, Nova Scotia created the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP).
Support recipients can register their court ordered child and spousal support payments with the program. They paying parent sends money directly to the program, who then pay it to the recipient. This way the program can keep track of late or missing payments.
The MEP has powerful tools they use to collect overdue spousal and child support payments including garnishing wages, freezing bank accounts, seizing and selling assets and even revoking passports and driver’s licenses.
Despite these sweeping powers, at least one recipient was not satisfied with the MEPs collection efforts. Angela Power’s ex husband, Joe Power owes almost $400,000 in overdue child support for their two children. Two years ago, he was found to be in contempt of court after skipping a court hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest and his passport revoked. Recently Ms. Power was kicked out of the program for taking matters into her own hands and trying to collect the money herself.
The Provincial ombudsman found that the decision to kick her out of the program was unfair and she has since been reinstated in the program unfortunately, during the time she was kicked out of the program Mr. Power got his passport back and is believed to be living in Denmark where collecting child support could prove to be very difficult.
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