Government of New Brunswick
 

Frequently Asked Questions - If You Receive Support

Does the Office of Support Enforcement (OSE) charge for services?

The services that OSE provides are free to parents who receive support payments. Some fees may be charged to the person who owes support payments to offset the costs of enforcement, if enforcement action is necessary.

Will information that I give OSE be kept private and confidential?

All information received by OSE is confidential, and is used only for the purpose of monitoring payments and enforcing support orders.

Will I be notified when action(s) are taken on my file and when payments are being sent?

The enforcement office will not contact the beneficiary with each action taken on the file or when payments arrive. However, you may access your account through the OSE Website, or contact the Toll-Free Infoline 7 days a week to receive the latest enforcement and payment information.

These systems are updated once daily and will give you the most current information about your file. Have your OSE Case Number and PIN ready.

If you do not know your account number or PIN, call the Central Payment Office at (506) 444- 4131.

What if there has been a history of violence in the past. Will I know in advance what action(s) you are taking?

If you tell us that the payer has the potential to be violent, we will handle your case carefully.

The enforcement officer can follow up with you to see if you prefer that any special precautions be taken with regard to the support enforcement. Such precautions might involve providing advance notification to you before enforcement actions are taken, in order that you may assess what impact such an action might have on your safety. In some instances, enforcement actions may be delayed or modified if there are particular aggravating factors in play at a given time.

Does OSE guarantee that payments will be received, and on time?

We recognize the importance of maintenance to families and children, and each case is different. Predicting when the maintenance payments will be collected is difficult. OSE cannot guarantee that payments will be received on a consistent basis. For instance, if the payments are deducted from a garnishment of wages, the payments are remitted according to the pay dates, and not the dates written in the order or agreement.

You should know that some payers make it very difficult for us to collect – even going to the extent of leaving the country to avoid paying support. Others may have no income or assets, or may be receiving income assistance, which means it may take a long time to collect what is owed to you.

We will continue to pursue your payments as long as your maintenance order or agreement is enrolled with us.

What kind of information do you need about the person required to pay support?

In order to enforce orders in an effective way, it is important to have all of the necessary information regarding the payer, such as their birth date, social insurance number, address and workplace. When payer information like location or employment is unknown, often the first step is to contact the beneficiary to see if they have any new information that could be helpful in locating him or her.

If no new information is provided, the Director of Support Enforcement has the authority to gain access to certain governments records (both federal and provincial), and also has the authority to demand information from other sources in order to find out the whereabouts or employment of someone who owes support payments.

Should the information that is found not lead to the collection of support, OSE will place the case on a rotational review, and will continue to pursue your payments as long as your support order or agreement is enrolled with us.

What steps can be taken to collect support?

OSE has the authority under federal and provincial laws to use various methods, when necessary, to collect overdue support payments. OSE may:

  • Initiate a payment order. This is commonly known as garnishment. Some examples of
    monies that can be garnished include: wages, pensions, income tax refunds, GST
    credits, workers’ compensation benefits, and bank accounts, including jointly held bank
    accounts;

  • Issue a demand for information about a payer’s location, contact information, salary,
    employment, assets, or any other information that is considered necessary to enforce the
    order. The information demands can be made to anyone, and may be done through
    direct searches of designated information banks. Information demanded must be
    provided within 14 days;

  • Report a payer to a credit bureau where the payer owes an amount greater than 3
    months of support payments;

  • Suspend or revoke a payer’s drivers licence if the payer owes an amount greater than 4
    months of support payments;

  • Make corporations liable for support owed by a payer where the Payer or the Payer’s
    family owns the corporation:

  • Ask the federal government to suspend, refuse to issue, or refuse to renew the payer’s
    passport and/or federal aviation or marine license if the payer owes an amount greater
    than 3 months of support payments;

  • Bring the case to Court for a Judge or Court Administrator to decide on additional
    enforcement action. This is called an enforcement hearing.

How do you decide what steps you are going to take?

We look at each case individually. The action or actions we choose will depend on the history of
the case, how much money is owed by the payer (certain enforcement actions require the payer
to owe a certain amount before they are used), and what type of information we know about the
payer in order to proceed. We will choose what enforcement action or actions we think will have
the best chance of success.

How do support payments get sent to OSE?

The person who is responsible for paying support can make payments directly to the Office of Support Enforcement electronically via online or telephone banking, by mail (certified cheque or money order) or in-person at Service New Brunswick locations across New Brunswick.

If enforcement action is necessary, there will be delays and support payments may not be available in accordance with the dates required in your support order.

Usually, payments received by OSE are processed within 48 hours.

How are support payments sent to the beneficiary?

Payments may be sent to the beneficiary by regular mail or by direct deposit.

Direct deposit is the most efficient form of payment and is recommended to avoid possible delays
in postal services (such as a postal strike or higher volume periods like holidays). OSE requires
a valid mailing address to process support payments. If OSE does not have a valid mailing
address, all outgoing support payments will stop, including those made by direct deposit.
Payments will restart once an address is received. It is imperative to keep OSE informed of any
changes in your contact information.

To receive support payments by direct deposit, please complete the Direct Deposit Banking
Form. If the beneficiary is on income assistance, support payments will be forwarded directly to
Social Development (SD).

What should I do if I receive a payment directly from the person required to pay support?

Once you are registered with OSE, unless you withdraw from the program, all support payments must be paid through OSE even if your court order provides for another method of payment. You should not accept payments directly from the payer as this will make our records inaccurate and may lead to unnecessary and inappropriate enforcement action.

If you do receive a direct payment, you must report it to OSE immediately in writing so we can update our records. Continued acceptance of direct payments may result in your order being withdrawn from the program.

What if the person required to pay support lives in another province or country?

New Brunswick has reciprocal agreements with most Canadian provinces and territories, and with
several foreign countries to recognize each other's family support (maintenance) laws. The New
Brunswick law concerning reciprocity is called the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act, which is
called 'ISO' for short.

First, OSE will register the support order or agreement with the jurisdiction in which the support
payer lives. Once registered, the reciprocating jurisdiction takes over enforcement of the file and
sends payments to OSE. In ISO cases, enforcement may not follow the same course as it would
in New Brunswick as each jurisdiction is subject to its own laws and regulations; however, the
goal of all maintenance enforcement programs is to ensure a steady flow of support payments to
families.

Can OSE help with issues relating to custody and/or access to the children?

Although child support, custody and access provisions may be included in the same court order, they are separate issues. OSE only enforces the terms of the child support provision and has no authority to deal with other issues. Any concerns in relation to child access, visitation rights or custody should be directed to your lawyer or to the court.

What if I want to change or vary my support order?

FSOS will not act on behalf of either party at a variation hearing, and does not have the authority to vary or change the terms of the child or spousal support. We suggest that you contact your lawyer or the court if you wish to change the terms of your order or agreement.

Refer to the Family Law Publication called “Child Support - Rights and Responsibilities”, if you would like to know more information about child support.

See Also: Frequently Asked Questions if you pay support.

 

Frequently Asked Questions - If You Pay Support

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I am the person paying support, am I able to enroll in the Office of Support Enforcement (OSE)?

Office of Support Enforcementv provides a service for both people who receive support (beneficiary), and for people who pay support (payers). Anyone who has an order or agreement for child support can enroll.

We keep accurate and detailed records of payments that both you (the payer) and the beneficiary can ask to see at any time, and many payers see us as a neutral third party and objective agency, that can help reduce conflict over child support payments. It is however, very important for you to understand that it is also our job to enforce maintenance payments when necessary.

We know that many payers will never fall behind in their payments and enforcement action against them will never be necessary. However, if you do fall behind in your payments, we will have to take action to enforce what you owe and you will not be able to withdraw from OSE without the consent of the beneficiary.

Does the Office of Support Enforcement (OSE) charge for services?

The services that OSE provides are free, however certain fees may be charged to the person who owes support payments to offset the costs of enforcement, if enforcement action is necessary.

How can payments be made to the Office of Support Enforcement (OSE)?

Once your case is enrolled with OSE, you are required to send payments to us. Payments can be made:

Electronically

The Office of Support Enforcement (OSE) can receive support payments made electronically through your bank using services such as telephone banking and internet or online banking.

Contact your online or telephone banking service provider and set up your electronic payment as you would with other bills. You can also set up your OSE payment as a recurring payment. Your account number for this purpose is your OSE account number, which begins with the letters SE. If you do not know your account number, call the Central Payment Office at (506) 444-4131.

By Mail

Money orders, business cheques and certified personal cheques must be made payable to the Minister of Finance and may be sent by mail directly to the Central Payment Unit (CPU) in Fredericton. Uncertified personal cheques are not accepted. Please indicate your OSE account number on all payments.

      OSE Central Payment Unit
      Suite 1089 Chancery Place, PO Box 6000
      Fredericton, N.B. E3B 5H1

Over the Counter at Service New Brunswick

In-person payments will only be accepted at Service New Brunswick (SNB) locations across the province. To find SNB locations and operating hours, please call 1-888-762-8600 or visit www.SNB.ca. Payments can be made in person with cash, money order, debit, Visa, MasterCard, certified personal cheque or business cheque. Money orders, business cheques and certified personal cheques must be made payable to the Minister of Finance.

Arrangement with Income Source

You can arrange with your employer to have the amount of your regular support payments deducted from your income and forwarded to the OSE on an on-going basis. If you choose this method, you and your employer must complete the Notice of Arrangement with Income Source (Form 4) and return the signed original to OSE.

You may also request that OSE arrange for deductions with your employer and/or income source through a voluntary payment order. This service is free. If you choose this option, you must provide the following information to OSE:

Your employer’s name ______________________________________
Payroll contact name _______________________________________
Payroll contact phone number ________________________________
Employer’s address _________________________________________
Employer’s e-mail (if applicable) ______________________________

Usually, payments received by OSE are processed within 48 hours and are sent to the person receiving support by mail or direct deposit. Note that if the beneficiary is on income assistance, payments will be sent to Social Development.

I didn’t apply for this, or give my permission. Why am I enrolled in OSE?

You are enrolled with the OSE because the person who receives support (beneficiary) either
chose to enroll your maintenance order or agreement with us, or because they have applied for
income assistance, which means enrolment is mandatory through Social Development. The
beneficiary has no choice.

I have never missed making child support payments. Why does OSE have to get involved?

OSE is not just for payers who have missed payments. Many people enroll with us simply because it’s easier to have us collect and track their payments. Others are automatically enrolled when they apply for income assistance.

Should I stop paying the beneficiary directly?

Once your case is enrolled with OSE, you should not pay the beneficiary directly as this will make our records inaccurate and may lead to unnecessary enforcement action against you. If a direct payment is not properly documented you may end up having to pay twice.

What happens if I can’t pay support?

We understand that there are circumstances that may make it difficult for you to make all your payments on time and in full. However, OSE does not have the authority to change the amount of maintenance and support that you are required to pay under your support order or agreement.

If you are having trouble making your scheduled support payments, you may need to obtain a new court order or agreement. We cannot do this for you, nor do we have the authority to change the terms of the order or agreement, however, keep in contact with OSE when your circumstances do change. It is your responsibility to pursue a new court order, and in the meantime, you will be required to try to make sure you pay the maintenance you owe.

If you fall behind on your payments, please contact us as soon as possible. We will work with you to come up with a plan for paying the arrears in addition to your ongoing maintenance payments. If we cannot come to a voluntary payment arrangement with you, we will then consider enforcement action to make sure the beneficiary receives what they are legally owed under the maintenance order or agreement.

What steps can be taken to collect support?

OSE has the authority under federal and provincial laws to use various methods, when necessary, to collect overdue support payments. OSE may:

  • Initiate a payment order. This is commonly known as garnishment. Some examples of monies that can be garnished include: wages, pensions, income tax refunds, GST credits, workers’ compensation benefits, and bank accounts, including jointly held bank accounts;
  • Issue a demand for information about a payer’s location, contact information, salary, employment, assets, or any other information that is considered necessary to enforce the order. The information demands can be made to anyone, and may be done through direct searches of designated information banks. Information demanded must be provided within 14 days;
  • Report a payer to a credit bureau where the payer owes an amount greater than 3 months of support payments;
  • Suspend or revoke a payer’s drivers licence if the payer owes an amount greater than 4 months of support payments;
  • Make corporations liable for support owed by a payer where the Payer or the Payer’s family owns the corporation;
  • Ask the federal government to suspend, refuse to issue, or refuse to renew the payer’s passport and/or federal aviation or marine license if the payer owes an amount greater than 3 months of support payments;
  • Bring the case to Court for a Judge or Court Administrator to decide on additional enforcement action. This is called an enforcement hearing.

I am not able to see my kids. Why should I pay support?

If there is a court order or agreement that requires you to pay child support, then you must pay it. It is a legal obligation.

Although child support, custody and access provisions may be included in the same court order, they are separate issues. OSE only enforces the terms of the child support provision and has no authority to deal with other issues. Any concerns in relation to child access, visitation rights or custody should be directed to your lawyer or to the court.

Why should I pay support when my former spouse is remarried and has more money than I do?

If there is a court order or agreement that requires you to pay child support, then you must pay it. It is a legal obligation.

Once your order or agreement is enrolled with us, we are required to make sure you pay the maintenance and support you owe. If you think your order or agreement should be changed, then it is up to you to apply to the court to have it changed.

What if I disagree with the child support that is set out in the court order or agreement?

OSE enforces the maintenance payments as stated in the court order. Only the court can
change the terms of the order or agreement. If there is a disagreement about any of the following,
either the payer or the beneficiary should seek legal advice to change the order:

- The child or spousal support amount,
- The amount of arrears (the amount you are behind in your payments), OSE
- When payments are due, or
- Any change in circumstances for either the payer, beneficiary or the children.

My child is over 18. Should I have to pay child support?

This depends on the circumstances surrounding the support order or agreement. The duty to pay
child support generally lasts until the child reaches the age of majority, which is 19 years of age in
New Brunswick. The order may last longer if the child is in a full-time educational program or is
disabled. The court may end an order before a child reaches the age of majority if the child gets
married or withdraws from parental control.

You should seek legal advice, and in the meantime, keep OSE informed of any change in your
dependents’ information or circumstances.

What if I want to change or vary my support order?

OSE will not act on behalf of either party at a variation hearing, and does not have the authority
to vary or change the terms of the child or spousal support. We suggest that you contact your
lawyer or the court if you wish to change the terms of your order or agreement.
Refer to the Family Law Publication called “Child Support - Rights and Responsibilities”, if you
would like to know more information about child support.

See Also: Frequently Asked Questions if you receive support.