Feb. 19, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Tougher enforcement measures introduced a year ago have resulted in more New Brunswick children receiving court-ordered support payments.
"I am pleased that we are continuing to see progress on outstanding cases since the new measures under the Support Enforcement Act came into effect a year ago this month," said Justice and Consumer Affairs Minister T.J. Burke. "What is most encouraging to see is that children in New Brunswick are benefitting by receiving the financial support to which they are entitled."
Driver's licence suspension is one of the tools that the Family Support Order Service (FSOS) began using last February to deal with those who fall behind in their support payments. Since the new measures took effect, more than 230 licence-suspension notices have been issued, and more than $235,000 has been collected in back payments in these cases. The amount represents a reduction of nearly 25 per cent in the amount owing in these cases.
Under the current rules, a payer who is more than four months behind making child support payments may receive a warning letter advising him or her that driving privileges may be suspended if repayment arrangements are not made within 30 days.
"We continue to observe a pattern in which the majority of payers who receive their 30-day notice take action and make payment arrangements to avoid the suspension of their driver's licence," said Burke.
The Support Enforcement Act permits that:
"The majority of parents registered with the FSOS recognize the importance of putting their children first and ensuring that timely payments are made," said Burke. "These enforcement measures were put into place to deal with the segment of payers who choose not to take responsibility for their financial obligations toward their children. However, there are situations in which payers may be experiencing difficulties paying child support on time due to the loss of employment or financial hardship. I strongly encourage those individuals to contact FSOS to advise of the situation, and to discuss alternatives."
The FSOS is responsible for monitoring and enforcing child support orders that are filed with the service. It is available free of charge to all New Brunswick families with a family support order or agreement. More than 14,000 families in New Brunswick are registered with the FSOS.
More information may be found on the FSOS website, or by calling 1-888-488-FSOS.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elaine Bell, communications, Justice and Consumer Affairs, 506-453-6543.