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What is FMEP and is it for me?

The acronym FMEP stands for Family Maintenance Enforcement Program.  This is a free service in British Columbia which monitors and enforces orders and agreements for child support and/or spousal support.  If payments pursuant to a separation agreement or a court order are made on time, then enforcement never becomes an issue.  In fact, some payors of child support choose to enrol in FMEP because it monitors payments for them which in turn reduces his or her need to communicate with maintenance recipients and possible miscommunication or disagreements.  However, if people obliged to pay support do not make the payments on time, then FMEP will takes steps to enforce child support and spousal support obligations.  FMEP will first contact the payor to try and get payment voluntarily and develop an ongoing plan for future payments with the payor.  If that fails however, FMEP can take a number of steps to enforce payment, including garnishing the payor’s wages, bank accounts or EI payments, or placing a lien on their real estate or personal property. They are even able to prevent a payor from being able to renew his or her driver’s license or obtain a passport.As is true with any service, FMEP is not for everyone and may not be able to assist you in your particular situation.  In addition, you should be aware that, while it is a publicly funded service, FMEP is not a government agency per se as it is a private company that the government contracts to perform a service.  As is the case in all family law and divorce matters, the best thing to do is to talk with your family law lawyer or divorce lawyer about whether or not involving FMEP makes sense for your particular situation.   The family law lawyers at Henderson Heinrichs LLP will be happy to talk to you about your circumstances and direct you to the best and most efficient way to enforce your rights and those of your children.

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