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Tuesday November 20, 2018

Maintenance Enforcement Program Decreases Arrears

Authored by: Jessica D. Chapman Posted in: Family Law

The Nova Scotia Maintenance Enforcement Program was first established in 1996 and was tasked with ensuring that court ordered child and spousal support payments were paid to recipients. allNovaScotia reports that there are 14,000 children in the Province who receive child support through the Maintenance Enforcement Program.  In the 2017/2018 fiscal year, the program oversaw over 54 million dollars in family support payments.

In May of 2018, the Nova Scotia Auditor General set out recommendations for improvement and efficiencies for the Maintenance Enforcement Office.  Since that time, the number of uncollected child and spousal support payments has dropped by almost 2 million dollars. The recent improvements and efficiencies in the Nova Scotia Maintenance Enforcement Program come following a ten million dollar jump in arrears between 2012 and 2015.

There continues to be 58.8 million dollars’ worth of child and spousal support payments that have been unpaid to children and families in Nova Scotia, however the Province’s Deputy Justice Minister, Karen Hudson, has indicated that this is the lowest amount owed in almost a decade. New staff training programs and a process for monitoring and reviewing inactive cases has been put in place.  The Province has provided a 1.2 million dollar capital injection on top of its 4.4 million annual budget to the Maintenance Enforcement Office who plans to make its services more accessible to people on tablets and mobile phones by December of 2018.  The office oversees an average of 230,000 family support payments per day.

For more information about establishing, varying or terminating child or spousal support payments, as well as information related to the Maintenance Enforcement Program, including suspending enforcement by program, please contact a Family Lawyer for a free half hour consult.

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