Child and Spousal Support 2017

 Calgary, Edmonton, LESA Update, News, Upcoming Seminars  Comments Off on Child and Spousal Support 2017
Jan 302017
 

Child and Spousal Support 2017

Are you a lawyer with experience in family law who is looking for practical strategies to address challenging child and spousal support issues?

If so, then our upcoming program Child and Spousal Support 2017 may be the educational opportunity you’re looking for.


We welcome you to join us on April 4 (Edmonton) or on April 11 (Calgary) for Child and Spousal Support 2017. Join seminar chair Michelle J. Bailey to explore the latest developments in child and spousal support.

Faculty and Discussion Topics

Discover practical strategies and helpful tips for keeping up-to-date in child and spousal support issues from distinguished panelists.

Abram Averbach | Widdowson Kachur Ostwald Menzies LLP
Jonathan F. Griffith | Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP
Jocelyn E. Innes | Lewis & Chrenek LLP
Pierre V. Lamoureux | Lamoureux Culham LLP
Lori Marshall | Maintenance Enforcement Program
Matia L. Matkovic | Matkovic Allan LLP

In a recent interview, we spoke with Michelle J. Bailey who told us a bit more about the program and presenters. Here’s what she had to say.

With respect to child support, we have asked the presenters to go beyond the normal and look into areas that are of particular interest to them. Jonathan Griffith is going to be talking about adult children and how they are increasingly continuing to rely on their parents for support after the age of 18. He will outline some of the key differences between support for minors and adult children. Abraham Averbach is going to talk about imputation of income for child support purposes and any changes that are happening in the Alberta Courts – particularly in response to the current economic climate. Lori Marshall is coming from the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP), which we are all pretty excited about. She is going to be discussing how maintenance enforcement administers family support orders and dealing with the MEP policy changes that have come into play recently, particularly with respect to s. 7 expenses. On the spousal support side, we have Pierre Lamoureux, who is a seasoned presenter and will talk about review clauses, including when they’re appropriate and how to address those issues and what to advise clients when negotiating those particular terms of settlement. Jocelyn Innes is going to be speaking about illness and disability and its impact on spousal support. Often when we talk about spousal support, we talk about the roles within the marriage and in particular, dealing with children. We don’t talk a lot about illness and disability and its impact, so she is going to do a case review on how this affects spousal support in short-term, medium-term, and long-term relationships. Finally, we have Matia Matkovic who is talking about interim applications of spousal support. She will provide some practical tips on seeking interim support and defending applications for interim spousal support. With our access to justice issues that are happening across the province right now, those interim applications are becoming more and more important and often becoming the basis of settlement. What often happens on an interim basis often drives what settlement will look like down the road.”

Program Benefits and Takeaways

Here is what Michelle had to say about the benefits of attending this program.

We’re going to address some really unique circumstances that we’ve noticed from across the province. As economic conditions change, and as we are seeing parties that are separating later in life, illness and disabilities issues come up. I think it’s going to be very practical for lawyers who are attending and hopefully everyone will be able to take back something that will apply immediately to one of their files.”

Michelle also shared some of the key program takeaways.

There will be precedents and some really good tips about drafting child support orders to help with maintenance enforcement. Matia is going to be coming with some really practical information, and potentially speaking to judges and providing them with case scenarios to talk to them about how to most successfully make or defend against a spousal support application. I think in those two areas, you are going to get some really practical applications to your practice and with some of the other ones; you are going to come away with some really good arguments to put into your submissions.”

Register Online

Network with other family law practitioners and learn practical tips and strategies from seasoned professionals. Register to attend Child and Spousal Support 2017 in Edmonton (April 4) or Calgary (April 11).

Register on or before February 7 to take advantage of our Early Bird pricing.

MEA and ISOA Amendments

 Legal News: Alberta, Legislative Update, News  Comments Off on MEA and ISOA Amendments
Dec 152016
 

MEA and ISO Amendments

Amendments to the Maintenance Enforcement Act [MEA] and the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act [ISOA] were made on November 22, 2016. These amendments affect collection of child and spousal support by the Maintenance Enforcement Program [MEP].


Amendment Highlights

  1. Further clarification of what occurs when a debtor applies for a stay of enforcement under the MEA. Effective November 23, 2016, unless the court directs otherwise, a stay has a duration of 9 months (increased from 3 months with the ability to extend for a further 6 months), is limited to arrears only, and does not apply to lump sum or one-time payments owed to the debtor. In the absence of specific direction in a stay, the MEP will continue to enforce ongoing support payments due and any related new arrears. There is also a new requirement that, prior to granting a stay, the court is satisfied that the debtor attempted to make a payment arrangement with MEP, or has provided reasons why a payment arrangement was not possible.
  2. A new requirement under the MEA that all clients keep contact information up-to-date with MEP, and that debtors also keep their employment, income, and other financial information current.
  3. Amendments to the ISOA which impact the interjurisdictional support order process. This includes clarifying choice of law provisions, expanding the definition of ‘support order’ to include administrative recalculations, reducing the amount of time for jurisdictions to respond to information requests by Alberta courts to 12 months, clarifying that an order made in Alberta is to be treated the same as an order registered in Alberta, and changing all references of ‘ordinarily resident’ to ‘habitually resident’ to align with 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance.

FAQ

Why is it important that I be aware of these changes? To be aware of the new legislative requirements the court must consider prior to granting a stay of enforcement.

What key information should I know about these changes? These changes were the result of consultation and engagement activities between Alberta’s MEP, other Canadian jurisdictions’ MEPs, and Alberta-based lawyers, judges, clients, and Government of Alberta ministries.

How will these legislative changes affect me/my practice? When there are no specific terms in a stay of enforcement order, MEP interprets the stay of enforcement as being granted in accordance with the new amended s 32 of the MEA.

Prior to the court granting a stay of enforcement, the debtor is now required to show to the court that he or she attempted to make a payment arrangement with MEP, or provide reasons why a payment arrangement could not be made. MEP anticipates this change will encourage debtors to make a payment arrangement with MEP and this will reduce the number of court applications. To assist the courts in making this determination, MEP provides debtors with a written explanation if a payment arrangement is not possible.

Is there any additional key information I should know regarding these changes? These amendments do not change the MEA’s provisions which indicate that a stay of enforcement does not affect MEP’s ability to issue the following collections actions: a Federal Support Deduction Notice, motor vehicle restriction and/or suspension, federal license denial, Land Titles registrations, and writs at the Personal Property Registry.


Click here for more information , or call the Maintenance Enforcement Program at 1.780.422.5555.

Toll-free in Alberta: 310-0000: select the Program’s lawyer line.

MEP – Section 7 Expense Policy Changes

 Legal News: Alberta, News  Comments Off on MEP – Section 7 Expense Policy Changes
May 272016
 

 

 

Find out about MEP’s changes to section 7 expenses!

Are you a member of Alberta’s legal community who handles the preparation of child support orders? If so, did you know that the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) has changed how it enforces select types of section 7 expenses?

These changes were made as a result of feedback from the courts, the legal profession, and clients.

The new policy affects expense claims processed by MEP only on or after May 16, 2016, regardless of when the claims were received by MEP.  It does not affect any expense claims added to a MEP file prior to May 16, 2016.


The change doesn’t affect you if your court order or agreement

sets an amount for expenses or specifies what expenses are payable.


Changes

MEP will no longer enforce percentage or proportionate share of expenses unless:

  • the type of expense is clearly stated in the court order or agreement, or
  • the parties agree on the expenses to be shared.

As an administrative program, it is not MEP’s role to determine what expenses are reasonable and necessary for a family. MEP will continue to enforce orders that set a specific amount for section 7 expenses, or allow for proportionate shares of clearly specified expenses. MEP will no longer enforce general section 7 expenses, unless the parties agree to specific expenses in writing.

Find out more about what is considered to be too general for MEP to enforce.

Q & A

Here are some key questions we asked Miyo Bly, Family Support and Order Services (Alberta Justice and Solicitor General), regarding these changes.

Why is it important that I know about these changes?

We want the Alberta’s legal community to be aware of this change when preparing child support orders, so that clients can avoid the extra step of completing MEP’s Section 7 Expenses Agreement form or initiating further court action. We also want the Alberta legal community to be aware of the reasons that MEP may stop enforcing their client’s non-specific section 7 expenses, and the options available to ensure enforcement of specific section 7 expenses.”

How will changes to the S7 Expense Policy affect my practice?

When an order term is not specific enough for MEP to enforce, MEP will request they complete a Section 7 Expenses Agreement.  If parties cannot agree on the specific expenses, MEP will advise parties to have their court order changed to clarify their Section 7 expenses. MEP is expecting an increase in the number of people asking for legal advice and initiating legal action to have their child support order changed.”

What do I need to do?

MEP prefers that parties submit a completed Section 7 Expenses Agreement Form signed by both [parties], but where this is not feasible, MEP will attempt to facilitate agreement by forwarding the agreement completed by one party to the other.  The second party may agree or reject any or all of the proposed expenses listed in the draft agreement, and return a signed copy to MEP.”

Contact

If you have questions, please contact MEP at 780-422-5555 (toll-free in Alberta 310-0000) and select the Program’s lawyer line.