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Office of Support Enforcement - How Unpaid Support Obligations May Affect Your Credit Report

What is the Family Support Orders Service?

The Office of Support Enforcement (OSE) is a part of the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Consumer Affairs. Its goal is to promote a dependable flow of support payments.
OSE focuses on helping parents support their children. OSE monitors and enforces support orders and agreements filed with the service by:

  • receiving payments from the Payer (the person paying the support);
  • keeping records of payments that are made;
  • forwarding the payment to the Beneficiary (the person receiving the support);
  • taking steps (when necessary) to ensure the Payer makes the required payments.

What is a Credit Report?

A credit report is a “snapshot”of an individual’s credit history. It contains information about your past and present financial situation. These reports are one of the main tools lenders use to determine whether or not to lend you money or give you credit. A credit report is created by credit reporting agencies, also known as credit bureaus. These agencies gather financial information about your current accounts and past history with banks, credit unions, finance companies and retailers and compile this information into a credit report.

Credit reports include a numerical score which is based on such things as total debt, type of debt, late payments and the age of the accounts. If you have a poor credit score you could find it more difficult to:

  • borrow money – you may have to pay a higher interest rate
  • get insurance – your ratesmay be higher
  • rent an apartment
  • find certain types of employment

Under what circumstances will OSE report a payer to a credit reporting agency?

The Support Enforcement Act (SEA) allows OSE to report your debt to credit reporting agencies if the order has been filed with OSE for more than 90 days and you owe an amount of support that is greater than three months of payments. In these circumstances, you will receive a notice giving you 30 days to pay the full amount or make payment arrangements with OSE to avoid having your information sent to credit bureaus. OSE will add a fee of $50 to your account when the notice is sent.

OSE will not extend the 30 day grace period. If your debt is not paid by then, or you have not come to an agreement with OSE, they will automatically report your information to two of Canada’s credit reporting agencies; Equifax and TransUnion.When these agencies receive information about your debt they will add the details to your credit report and adjust your credit score to reflect your failure to pay.

How long will the information stay on my credit report?

OSE will send monthly updates to the credit reporting agency about the amount of unpaid support. As you make payments on the amount owed, your credit report will reflect your decreasing debt. When your account is paid in full your credit report will show a $0 balance and OSE will stop sending monthly updates.

The information about your failure to make payments will remain on your credit report for 6 years after it has been paid in full.

What can I do if I feel there are errors on my credit report?

If you believe the information on your credit report is inaccurate, or you wish to add an explanation of your credit history for potential lenders andemployers, you can contact the credit reporting agencies to ask about correcting information or adding a brief statement to your report.

What can I do if I believe OSE sent inaccurate information to a credit reporting agency?

If you have a dispute about your account balance, contact your Enforcement Officer at OSE to discuss the details of your account. If you are still not satisfied, you should seek legal advice.

For information about your support payments 7 days a week contact:
OSE 24 hour Toll-Free Infoline 1-888-488-3767
Fredericton clients can call 444-3767
Clients who live outside New Brunswick can call long distance 1-506-444-3767*
*Long distance charges will apply.

 

This pamphlet was produced by Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick (PLEIS-NB) in collaboration with ProgramSupport Services, New Brunswick Department of Justice and Consumer Affairs. It does not contain a complete statement of the law in this area and laws change from time to time. This booklet is part of a series of publications that provide general information on the support enforcement system in New Brunswick, the rights and responsibilities of payers and beneficiaries, and the tools available to the Family Support Orders Service to enforce support.

PLEIS-NB is a non-profit organization that educates the public about the law. PLEIS-NB receives funding and in-kind support from the Department of Justice Canada, the New Brunswick Law Foundation and the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Consumer Affairs. You can find more general information support and other related legal topics on the PLEIS-NB website at www.legal-info-legale.nb.ca.

Published by:

Public Legal Education
and Information Service
of New Brunswick
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1
Telephone: (506) 453-5369
Fax: (506) 462-5193
Email: pleisnb@web.ca
www.legal-info-legale.nb.ca

In collaboration with:

Program Support Services
NB Department of Justice and Consumer Affairs
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1

ISBN 978-1-55396-965-5

Reprinted November 2010



 

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Disclaimer: Please note that our website contains general information about the law. This is not a complete statement of the law on particular topics. We try to update our publications often, but laws change frequently so it is important for you to check to make sure the information is up to date.  The information in our publications is not a substitute for legal advice. To receive legal advice about your specific situation, you need to speak to a lawyer.