Child Support Services
You want the best for your kids!
That’s why there is a free service through Alberta Works to help parents with limited incomes get child support agreements or court orders.
Child support income can make a big difference. Next to earned income, child support has the greatest financial impact on a family with limited income. When child support is obtained, it continues until a child is at least 18 years of age.
Who is eligible for Child Support Services?
Single parents and parents of blended families in the following programs are automatically eligible for help through Child Support Services:
- Income Support,
- Alberta Adult Health Benefit and
- Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH).
Child Support Services recognizes that every situation is unique. Caring and experienced staff consider the needs in each family and take care of the rest. The process and what is expected of parents is different depending upon the type of program they are in. However, all it normally takes is a couple of appointments.
If an agreement or order has not been obtained by the time a family leaves one of these programs, Child Support Services can continue to help with the process of obtaining child support.
Help with child support is also available to other Albertans when they meet the following criteria:
- their family income is less than the amounts shown below,
- there is no existing support order and
- a child support worker determines there is potential for the other parent to pay support payments.
Look at the table below:
Families qualify by income – based on the number of persons in the family and the gross income from all sources within the household unit. The Universal Child Care Benefit and the National Child Benefit Supplement are not counted when income is calculated. Child support workers also take into account individual circumstances.
How does Child Support Services help parents?
Once Child Support Services receives a referral or request, a worker gathers information from the parent seeking child support and, if possible, the other parent who can make payments.
If needed, Child Support Services can help to locate the other parent and establish parentage. A worker then attempts to negotiate an agreement with the other parent or proceeds to court to obtain an order. Workers always seek to find the least intrusive or disruptive way to obtain child support for a family.
Child support agreements and applications for orders are prepared according to established government child support guidelines. Workers also register applicable agreements and orders with the Alberta Justice Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP), which enforces, collects and distributes child support payments. Registering orders and agreements with MEP increases the potential for families to get the payments they are entitled to.
If Child Support Services is unable to help a family get child support, or if there are additional needs, a worker will make referrals to other government or community agencies to help families and individuals get the services they require.
Child support makes a difference
Obtaining child support helps families improve their financial situation and become more independent. Through formal agreements or orders, children get the maximum benefit available so that parents do not have to turn to other forms of support in order to provide for their children. The additional income that child support provides makes it easier for single parents or parents of blended families to stay in the workforce.