Unpaid maintenance: "direct payment" procedure

Verified 09 December 2020 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Where maintenance is unpaid, the creditor may use the direct payment. This procedure makes it possible to obtain payment from of a third party (employer, bank...), who is the holder of sums initially intended for the debtor. It is possible to start this procedure as soon as 1er payment is not made on time. Once launched, this procedure is applicable to the outstanding payments of the 6 months preceding its commitment, and to all future outstanding payments.

The procedure for direct payment makes it possible to obtain the payment of unpaid pensions from a third party (employer, bank, etc.) who holds sums that can be seized.

The direct payment may in particular lead to wage attachment or a bank account seizure. This procedure concerns unpaid payments of the 6 months preceding the notification of the application for direct payment and future unpaid debts.

Please note

this is a simple and quick procedure for the recovery of maintenance payments, avoiding the need for a new judicial procedure.

The creditor who has a document (court decision or immediately enforceable agreement) fixing maintenance may have recourse to the direct payment.

It may initiate this procedure as from 1er unpaid (only 1 day late) or in case of irregular or incomplete payment.


the creditor and his debtor may also agree to use the direct payment.

Speak to a bailiff (now called a commissioner of justice)

The application procedure for direct payment can be started as early as 1re unpaid pension maturity.

The creditor must then contact a Commissioner of Justice (formerly bailiff and judicial auctioneer) of his place of residence and provide him with the following documents or information:

  • Original judgment on maintenance
  • Determination of sums due
  • All information concerning the debtor (identity, domicile, address of the employer, social security registration)

The Commissioner of Justice notify within 8 days the request for direct payment to one third.


the costs of the proceedings shall be borne by the debtor. No advance may be applied to the recipient of maintenance.

Where the creditor does not know the address of the debtor or that of his employer, the Commissioner of Justice shall contact the bodies required to inform him thereof. These include the tax administration, social security, the national bank of irregular checks (FNCI).

Please note

after a divorce or legal separation, the maintenance debtor has an obligation to notify the beneficiary of any change of address.

Third Party Response

The third party may be either the debtor's employer or one of the depositories of its funds (e.g. its bank).

Within 8 days of notification by the Commissioner of Justice of the request for direct payment, the third party shall specify whether or not it is in a position to act on it.


The third party that can repay the creditor shall establish the procedure for direct payment. If he does not pay the amount of maintenance due to the creditor, he shall be liable to a fine of €1,500 maximum (€3,000 in case of recurrence).

The amounts due are paid to the creditor in 12 monthly installments of an equal amount.

In the event of an agreement between the beneficiary and the debtor, it is sufficient to inform the court so that the amount of the pension is fixed accordingly.

The procedure for the direct payment of maintenance may be contested by the debtor of the pension before the judge of the court of his domicile.

However, as long as the judgment is not rendered, the third party who has received the opinion of direct payment must continue to pay.

Who shall I contact

The request for direct payment ends when the Commissioner of Justice of Canada creditor in notify to one third of the release by registered letter.

It may terminate at the request of the debtorby means of a certificate issued by a Commissioner of Justice.

This certificate shall certify that the pension is canceled by a new judgment or agreement, or that it has ceased to be due.


creditor who, in bad faith, makes use of the direct payment may be ordered by the court to pay a civil fine of up to €10,000.