What is the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP)?
Matthew Katsionis, Vancouver Family Lawyer
What is the FMEP?
The Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP) is a government operated agency that collects spousal support and/or child support. It is a free service.
Do I need the FMEP?
FMEP can be a valuable ally in securing your support. If there are concerns about future payments, or there are ongoing instances of not being paid, not being paid the right amount, or not being paid on time, the FMEP can help remedy the situation. They also retain the option of going to court if necessary.
If you are getting paid regularly and consistently, involvement of the FMEP would likely complicate matters as they perform an intermediary role between your spouse and yourself.
If I am the recipient, what do I need before contacting the FMEP?
- A court order or agreement that clearly spells out support levels;
- A fully updated accounting of what you have or have not been paid.
If I am the recipient, what facts do I need to know about the FMEP?
- FMEP collects from the date of the order or agreement and not before, unless either states otherwise;
- FMEP will keep an online accounting for you, and apply interest to late payments;
- FMEP will collect your payments then pay you.
What are the FMEP’s enforcement measures?
- They can take away the payor’s driver’s license and passport (Canadian only);
- They can garnish a bank account;
- They can secure your interest against an estate, ICBC (or other insurance) claim;
- They can secure your interest against property owned by the payor.
Can payors challenge anything once the FMEP is involved?
The only negotiating point is the repayment of support arrears. Prospective support is typically adjusted on an annual basis – in the event of dispute, parties can seek resolution in mediation, by negotiation, or in court. Payors may speak to, and negotiate a payment plan with, a FMEP officer. The FMEP’s mandate is to collect, but they are often open to a reasonable payment plan assuming there is documentary evidence of financial circumstances (credit card statements, bank account summaries, tax returns, etc).
Is the FMEP for you? Phone Crossroads Law for a free 20 minute consult with one of our team of professional and experienced family lawyers.