Taking any court enforcement is a serious step. It is only considered if the payor doesn’t pay voluntarily and we have been unsuccessful in collecting the maintenance in other ways.
We can issue court action requiring the payor to attend court to explain why maintenance payments aren’t being made. The court decides whether the arrears are to be paid all at once or by installments, and can also order jail time if payments aren’t made.
The payor is required to provide a Statement of Finances (PDF, 394KB) to the court and failure to do so can result in a fine up to $5000 for the benefit of the recipient.
If the payor doesn’t appear at the hearing, the court may make an order in the payor’s absence or may issue a warrant for the payor’s arrest.
If the payor doesn’t pay according to the order made at the default hearing, we can issue further action requiring the payor to attend court again. The court reviews the payor’s circumstances and decides if the payor should go to jail or if the enforcement order should be changed.
If the payor doesn’t attend court, a warrant will be issued for the payor’s arrest.
Enforcement against a Corporation
If the payor owns all or a major part of a corporation we can take the corporation to court making both it and the payor responsible for paying the maintenance and arrears.
We enforce against two kinds of corporations:
- where the payor is the sole shareholder, or
- where the payor has a controlling interest.
Once we have a court order, and if payments are still not made, we can take enforcement action against the corporation, such as issuing a Notice of Attachment against the corporation’s bank account, or putting a lien on assets or property.
We continue this action until:
- the payor (or the corporation) pays the arrears and has been making ongoing maintenance payments for some time,
- the payor sells the corporation (or the controlling interest), and all payments owing are up to date, or
- the maintenance order or agreement is withdrawn from FMEP.