Our courts generally award some additional money to whoever is more successful in their litigation as costs. This is designed to discourage litigating losing cases but enforcing a cost award can be more trouble than it is worth, and many cost awards don’t ever get paid.
When awarded costs people tend to do one of the following:
1) Sit on it and hope it gets paid. If it doesn’t get paid be sure to mention that to the judge next time you are in court. Judges hate it when people ignore their Orders.
2) Take enforcement steps in court. For a big cost award, this could be worth it, but for a small cost award, this often isn’t economically sensible.
3) Ask the court to make the cost award enforceable through the Maintenance Enforcement Program (“MEP”).
A case just came out where the Alberta Court of Appeals unanimously ordered that the costs be enforceable through MEP. Amazingly, the court did so despite not having an issue of child or spousal support before it. Brosseau v. Brousseau – 2017 ABCA 75 (CanLII). They didn’t give their reasons for doing so, but if the Court of Appeals does something you can use that as the basis for asking a lower court to do the same thing.