Justice and Public Safety

Support Enforcement
Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does the Support Enforcement Program guarantee payments?
  2. What will this enforcement service cost me?
  3. I am owed back payments. How much of this money can be collected?
  4. What steps can be taken to collect support?
  5. How are payments made?
  6. What should I do if I receive payments directly from the person required to pay me support?
  7. What if I don't know where the person who is required to make payment is living?
  8. What if a person required to make payments resides in another province or country?
  9. What if my support order was made in another province?
  10. Will information I give be kept confidential?
  11. What if I have a written agreement for support? Can it be enforced?
  12. What if I want to vary my support order?

1. Does the Support Enforcement Program guarantee payments?

The Program can only pay to you what it has been able to collect. People entitled to support should realize that there are times when it is not possible to collect.

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2. What will this enforcement service cost me?

Nothing. There will be no cost to any person who is entitled to receive support.

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3. I am owed back payments. How much of this money can be collected?

Back payments can be registered for enforcement from April 1, 1997 forward. There is no expiry date for enforcement of these arrears.

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4. What steps can be taken to collect support?

The Director of Support Enforcement can demand a financial statement from a person who is required to pay support.

The Director has the authority to garnish or collect wages from an employer, monies held at financial institutions and federal sources of funds, such as EI payments or income tax refunds. In addition, property may be seized and sold to pay outstanding arrears.

The debtor may be brought before the court to explain the nonpayment and the court may make an order to enforce payment of arrears.

Collection Actions

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5. How are payments made?

The Support Enforcement Program uses a sophisticated computer program which monitors payments and alerts enforcement officers when they are missed.

The person required to pay support must make payments to the Director of Support Enforcement on the date(s) set out in the support order. The Director will then electronically deposit funds to the bank account of the individual who is entitled to receive support, in accordance with the terms of the support order. If for some reason the individual who is entitled to receive support is unable to provide their banking information, the Director of Support Enforcement can issue a government cheque. Payments cannot be disbursed to the person entitled to receive support until it becomes due in accordance with the terms of the order even if the funds are received in advance from the person required to pay support.

If enforcement action is necessary, there will be delays and support payments may not be available in accordance with the dates required in your support order. Enforcement actions require third party demands such as garnishments and as such have inherent delays in getting funds from employers, banks, etc.

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6. What should I do if I receive payments directly from the person required to pay me support?

Direct payments should not be accepted. If you receive a direct payment, make sure you write to the Support Enforcement Program immediately to confirm it, so that accurate accounting records are maintained. All support payments must be made to the Support Enforcement Program. Accepting direct payments will delay enforcement action.

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7. What if I don't know where the person who is required to make payment is living?

The Director of Support Enforcement has the authority to gain access to certain government records (both federal and provincial), and also has the authority to demand information from other sources in order to find out the whereabouts of someone who owes support payments.

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8. What if a person required to make payments resides in another province or country?

The Support Enforcement Program works best when the parties involved live in this province.

Other provinces now have similar programs and access to these can be gained by registering with the Support Enforcement Program. The other jurisdiction then assumes the responsibility to monitor and enforce the support order. However, enforcement is more difficult and may take longer.

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9. What if my support order was made in another province?

If your support order was made in another province and the debtor resides in Newfoundland and Labrador, we will enforce the support order after it is registered with a Newfoundland and Labrador court.

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10. Will information I give be kept confidential?

All information received by the Support Enforcement Program is confidential, and used only for the purposes of monitoring payments and enforcing support orders

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11. What if I have a written agreement for support? Can it be enforced?

The director will only enforce the support provisions of an agreement after it has been filed with the court pursuant to the provisions of the Family Law Act. It is your responsibility to have this done.

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12. What if I want to vary my support order?

The Support Enforcement Program will not act on behalf of either party at a variation hearing. We suggest you seek legal advice or contact the court to obtain the necessary forms.

View more information on Support Enforcement

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