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What changes should be made to family law?

These proposals let family law lawyers discuss and vote on what changes they think should be made to the law or court procedures. The results can be viewed and shared with legislators and the Courts. The proposals put forth are written by member lawyers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of this website or its administrators. You can view more proposals or make a proposal yourself.

Proposal: MEP should be less MEPPY
Child Support - Feb 10th

82% in favour out of 11 votes

Stephen Harfield
  Queck & Associates
   Sherwood Park, Alberta

From the Payee's side, the administrative structure makes things difficult in a few ways - if the payments are for the first of the month, they may not get them until a few days after rent is due. Also, s. 7 expenses continues to be hard to manage. MEP in my experience also screws up - reads agreements and orders wrong, and clearing up the situation takes forever.

Starting the conversation that we should be looking at ways to refine, or reform, MEP.

1 45 days ago

Anonymous 2019
   Edmonton Region, Alberta

You have a point, but permit me to argue the other side.

I think it's unfair to blame MEP.

Each one of MEP's caseworkers have hundreds of files to manage. They do a very good job with the volume of work given to them.

We should appreciate them more.

I also know for a fact that they go out of their way to work with payors, payees and their lawyers when they can.

The key is to approach them with respect and to start by taking the time to understand why MEP is approaching a problem the way it is.

Some payors who have problems with MEP are the architects of their own misery -- their behaviour towards MEP explains their lack of success.

MEP's interpretation of orders is also guided by government legal counsel.

We probably rely too much on MEP (and MEP's lawyers) to work out the implementation of vague and uncertain court orders.

I say that reform begins with lawyers better understanding how to work with MEP.

By the way, the timing issues you mentioned (e.g., will the payor have the money to pay by the deadline, will the recipient get the payment in time for major bill payments) can all be avoided if lawyers and the court take the time to understand cash flow timing for payor and payee. In my experience, almost nobody does. Many clients need to be told exactly how to budget for their child support. They also need to be told that it takes several days for a payment to clear the banking system. If you do this, you can avoid timing problems and penalties.

1 44 days ago - edited 44 days ago

Anonymous 2017
   Edmonton Region, Alberta

All good points, but saying a heavy burden falls on lawyers in dealing with MEP neglects the true point of MEP to make the enforcement of Orders easy, and not reliant on lawyers who, we all know, come from varying levels of workload, experience, and aptitude.

The responsible lawyer will before filing an order consult with MEP’s procedures and recommendations. If any questions, contact MEP.

However, contacting MEP can take days, or weeks. And the perspective given by a case worker is not always right either.

A couple really easy ideas for reform.

-having a mep spokesperson available in chambers to assist with terms on an order and to assist a judge for anything that should be probed or caught before drafting an order
-having better clauses to draw on. Like rather than having clauses bungled by lawyers, have a standard menu on applications that you can tick off for what you want them to do
-making contact with mep easier and not a process where you request a call back, get one 5 days later, but you were in the washroom when they called and you have to play endless phone tag
-a better process for correcting errors. I dont want to have to go to court because one stubborn mep worker having a bad day is deciding to be difficult or unreasonable. A good example is recently MEP decided on a file of mine to pay my client $3000 instead of the $4000 ordered. It took about 3 months for them to fix it. Unacceptable.

0 42 days ago

Anonymous 2021
   Other Region, Alberta

Caseworkers at MEP need better training, especially as it relates to s.7 expenses. I once had a client angry at me because the MEP caseworker refused to allow a claim for a dental exam, saying it "wasn't in the order". The order had the entirety of s. 7 copied word for word. I'm not sure in what world a dental exam doesn't qualify as a "medical expense" (which is specifically stated in s. 7). The caseworker told the client if the form submitted said dental expense instead of dental exam, it would qualify.
So, a lot of anger and frustration (and wasting of time) for no good reason. Maybe MEP could just tell us the wording they want in every order and take the guesswork out of it for us, then train their caseworkers to the same standard?

0 42 days ago

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