Glossary

A  C  D  E  F  G  I  J  M  N  P  R  S  V  W 

A

additional expenses / extraordinary expenses / section 7 expenses

In addition to the amount of child support, the court can order the payment of additional expenses under section 7 of the Federal or Alberta Child Support Guidelines. These expenses can be for education; medical, dental, visual or other health care; childcare; or extracurricular activities. 

affidavit of arrears

An Affidavit of Arrears is a legal document that declares the total amount of arrears (maintenance that is past due) owed, which a creditor (recipient) or a debtor (payor) is required to sign in front of a Commissioner for Oaths or Notary Public.

application

An application is a formal notification to one or more parties that the named party has filed an application (involving them in a lawsuit) before a court that will be heard on the stated date.

arrears

If a support payment is not paid on time as stated in the order or agreement, that amount of unpaid support is referred to as arrears. When money is owed on a file, that file is said to be in arrears.

attach

When a Support Deduction Notice attaches funds, this means that the funds are taken and paid to MEP for support payments instead of being paid to the debtor.

authorized third party

MEP cannot release client information or discuss a client’s file with the client’s spouse, partner, family member or any other third party unless the client authorizes this.

C

Child Status Report

This form is used to provide information on the status of a child.

child support guidelines

The federal Divorce Act and the Alberta Family Law Act both set out guidelines for the amount of child support a debtor must pay. The amount normally depends on the debtor’s income and the number of children needing support.

clients

Both debtors (payors) and creditors (recipients) are clients of MEP.

Client Service Centre

It operates from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and noon to 4:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday (excluding government holidays). The centre provides clients with the opportunity to speak to a collection officer by calling the MEP Info Line and following the prompts.

commissioner for oaths / notary public

A Commissioner for Oaths or a Notary Public is a person, such as a lawyer, a Member of the Legislative Assembly or a municipal or government official, who is authorized to administer oaths, affirmations and declarations.

confirmation order

A confirmation order is an order of a court that confirms the provisional order under review.

creditor

The creditor is the person who receives the support payments (recipient).

Crown

When used by MEP, the Crown refers to the Alberta government.

Crown claim / arrears

If a creditor is on income support, the Crown has the right to support owed to the creditor and the creditor’s dependent children. Support payments that might be due to the creditor are due to the Alberta government.

D

debtor

The debtor is the person who must pay support (payor).

default

The debtor is said to be “in default” when a debtor has not made payments towards the support required by a court order or agreement.

default hearing

A default hearing is a court process held in the federal Court of Queen’s Bench. Debtors may be summoned to appear in court to show why MEP  should not enforce the support order, to be examined under oath about their finances, or to show why they should not be committed to prison for willfully defaulting in their support payments.

default penalties

A default penalty is a $40 charge MEP adds to a debtor’s file when there is a failure to make payments on time or arrears remain on the file with no payment arrangement in place.

Director

The Director of MEP.

driver’s licence suspension

When a debtor is in default of payment for at least 60 days, MEP may direct the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to suspend the debtor’s driver’s licence.

E

ex parte

Ex parte is when a court application is made by one party without notice (i.e. in the absence of) to the other party.

F

federal licence denial

When a debtor has failed to make payments in full for three payment periods, or has accumulated arrears of $3,000 or more, MEP may apply to the federal government for a denial of certain federally issued licences, such as passports, aviation and marine licences.

federal support deduction notice

A Federal Support Deduction Notice collects funds that may become payable to the debtor from federal sources, such as income tax refunds, employment insurance benefits, Canadian Pension Plan and GST rebates. The federal government uses the term garnishment rather than Support Deduction Notice.

financial examination

If a debtor’s Statement of Finances does not give enough financial information, MEP can schedule a financial examination. Through the examination process, MEP will try to come to an agreement with the debtor regarding an appropriate payment arrangement.

G

global child support order

A global child support order is an order (like those given under child support guidelines) that sets a total amount of money to be paid for the support of a number of children, instead of setting an amount per child. For example, a global child support order (when referring to two children) will read that the debtor must pay “$600 for the support of the children,” instead of “$300 per child for each of the children.”

I

income support

Income support is money (social assistance) provided by Alberta Human Services (formerly Alberta Employment and Immigration). Income support was formerly known as supports for independence (SFI) and social assistance.

J

jurisdiction

A jurisdiction is a province, state or country with its own maintenance enforcement laws.

M

maintenance

Maintenance and support mean the same when used by MEP.

maintenance order / agreement

A maintenance order, which is enforceable by MEP, is a court order or agreement filed with the court that requires the debtor to pay a specific amount of money over a period of time to the creditor for child and/or spousal or partner support.

master

A master is an official of the federal Court of Queen’s Bench who presides at default hearings. Like a judge, a master issues court orders.

MEP account number / MEP file number

Once a maintenance order or agreement has been registered with MEP, a MEP Account Number will be issued to the creditor and debtor for that file. Both clients will be asked to quote this number on all payments, correspondence and telephone calls.

MEP Accounts Online

MEP Accounts Online is MEP’s Internet system, which allows clients to access general and file-specific information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

motor vehicle restriction

A motor vehicle restriction removes the debtor’s ability to access motor vehicle services provided by the Alberta government through private registry agents. While a restriction is in place, the debtor is unable to renew a driver’s licence, or vehicle registration, or obtain a driving abstract. A motor vehicle restriction does not suspend or cancel a current licence or registration.

N

non-wage support deduction notice

These notices collect money owing to debtors from a variety of sources, such as bank accounts or rent payments. When banks (people, or organizations) receive a support deduction notice from MEP, they are obligated to send MEP money that might otherwise be payable to the debtor (payor). Failure to send money as requested can make the entity to which the notice was sent legally liable for the amount the notice requests. Non-Wage Support Deduction Notices have been called Bank Support Deduction Notices or Notices of Continuing Attachment.

P

parenting time / child access / custody

Parenting time has two definitions. The common concept of parenting time (formerly called access or visitation) is time that the parent/guardian spends with the child, separate from the child’s other parent/guardian. The court concept of parenting time includes deciding upon the time that each parent/guardian spends with the child, and usually provides some kind of decision about how the care and control of the child will be allocated between the parents. Formerly, this was called custody or custody rights, and is sometimes now called residency.

personal identification number (PIN)

Upon registering with MEP, clients can contact the Client Services Centre and ask to be issued a Personal Identification Number (PIN). This number is used by clients to access information about their files through the MEP Info Line.

personal property

Personal property is property that is not land or real estate. Vehicles, cattle and trailers are examples of personal property.

personal property registry (writ)

The Personal Property Registry is an Alberta registry where people can register notice of a financial interest in personal property. This registry is commonly used by lenders to register liens against vehicles that they have financed.

provisional order

A provisional order is an order of the court in one jurisdiction obtained by one party who lives in that jurisdiction, in the absence of the other party who lives in another jurisdiction. A provisional order cannot be enforced until it is confirmed by the other jurisdiction. Provisional orders are less common since most Canadian jurisdictions have passed the Interjurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) Act.

R

real property

Real property is land or real estate.

reciprocal jurisdiction

A reciprocal jurisdiction is a province, state or country that has an agreement with Alberta to enforce an Alberta court order (when the debtor lives in that province, state or country and the creditor lives in Alberta), or when an order is from another jurisdiction for which Alberta has an agreement to enforce orders.

reciprocal registration

A reciprocal registration occurs when a court order or an enforceable agreement for maintenance from one jurisdiction is filed in another jurisdiction that is willing to recognize and enforce it.

registration

Registration is the process that a client must follow to open a file with MEP. For registration to occur, either the creditor or the debtor must complete and return a registration package.

remuneration from employment

MEP considers any sort of remuneration from employment to be the same as wages or salary, from which money can be collected to satisfy maintenance arrears.

request for information

A request for information is a form served on a business organization (such as a bank, a trade union, or an employer) to request details about a debtor’s location, employment or finances. 

registration identification number (RIN)

Upon registering with MEP, clients can contact the Client Services Centre and ask for a Registration Identification number (RIN).  This number is used by clients to access information about their files through MEP Accounts Online.

S

section 7 expenses

See Additional Expenses

seizure

A seizure blocks a debtor’s assets. Seized assets may be sold and applied towards a debtor’s maintenance arrears.

statement of finances

A Statement of Finances is a document that requires full disclosure, under oath, of the debtor’s employment, income, assets, expenses and liabilities.

stay of enforcement

If there is a dispute over payments, the debtor may apply to the court for an order telling MEP to stop or postpone collections. The Maintenance Enforcement Act limits the debtor’s ability to obtain orders to stop certain enforcement actions (such as a motor vehicle restriction, driver’s licence suspention, Federal Support Deduction Notice, Personal Property Registry writ or a Land Titles registration). These actions cannot be removed through a stay of enforcement.

substitutional service order

A substitutional service order is a court order that allows one party to serve documents on a debtor or creditor through a third party such as MEP.

summons

A summons is a legal document commanding the debtor to appear in court. MEP may personally serve debtors with a summons to appear in court for default hearings.

support

“Support” and “maintenance” mean the same when used by MEP.

support deduction notice

A Support Deduction Notice is a legal document by MEP issued to collect funds that would otherwise be payable to the debtor (e.g. wages, etc.). Support Deduction Notices used to be known as garnishees or notices of continuing attachment.

V

variable support orders

Variable support orders detail a change in the payment of support depending on changing circumstances. The court order specifies which particular situations may lead to changes in the amount of support payable or the way that support is payable. Variable support orders are not a decision made by MEP.

variation application

In the event that circumstances change, either the creditor or debtor can apply to the courts to have the maintenance order changed. The application process to change maintenance orders is called a variation application.

W

wage support deduction notice

When a debtor is not paying on a court order or enforceable agreement, a Wage Support Deduction Notice is used to block the debtor’s wages or salary. When support deduction notices are faxed or delivered to employers, they are legally bound to pay MEP a portion of the debtor’s wages. This used to be called a wage garnishee or a wage continuing attachment.



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