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Interstate Child Support Enforcement Case Processing and UIFSA

AT-98-30

Published: December 28, 1998
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Case Management, Intergovernmental/Interstate
Types:
Policy, Action Transmittals (AT), Regulations
Tags:
Administrative Enforcement in Interstate Cases (AEI), Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), UIFSA

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children & Families
Office of Child Support Enforcement

ACTION TRANSMITTAL OCSE-AT-98-30
FINAL REGULATION

ISSUED:  December 28, 1998

TO: STATE AGENCIES ADMINISTERING CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT PLANS UNDER TITLE IV-D OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT AND OTHER INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS

SUBJECT:  Interstate Child Support Enforcement Case Processing and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA)

STATUTORY REFERENCE:  Sections 454(9), 454(20) and 466(f) of the Social Security Act; 42 U.S.C.654(9),42 U.S.C. 654(20) and 42 U.S.C. 666(f)

BACKGROUND:  The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), PL 104-193, includes major program changes to interstate child support enforcement (CSE) case processing. PRWORA’s provisions include the section 314 directives on interstate income withholding, the section 315 interstate locate requirement, the section 321 mandate for the nationwide implementation of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), the section 322 revisions to the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act, the section 323 requirement for administrative enforcement in interstate cases, and the section 324 mandate for new Federal forms for use in interstate cases. As a result of PRWORA, the State IV-D programs requested guidance and clarification of Federal policy in the interstate CSE arena. The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) issues this Action Transmittal in response to these requests. Upon request, any material mentioned in this Action Transmittal as an additional resource is available from the ACF Regional Office.

In certain instances, the procedures under UIFSA enacted by States may not be entirely consistent with Federal requirements under title IV-D of the Social Security Act and implementing Federal regulations. For example, interstate regulations at 45 CFR 303.7 require responding States to send collections to initiating States, which might not be consistent with UIFSA’s assumption that the State that issued the controlling order is responsible for receiving and for accounting all payments under the order. UIFSA applies to all interstate child support activities while Federal IV-D requirements apply only to child support cases receiving services under a State’s IV-D program. States must meet all requirements under title IV-D of the Act in IV-D cases. To the extent that there is a conflict between UIFSA and Federal statutory IV-D requirements, in order to receive Federal funding under the IV-D program, States must meet Federal IV-D requirements in IV-D cases.

INQUIRIES TO: ACF Regional Program Managers

David Gray Ross
Commissioner
Office of Child Support
Enforcement

 

Interstate CSE Action Transmittal
Table of Contents

UIFSA (General) 4

Direct Income Withholding 10

Allocation of Collections in Interstate Income Withholding 13

Enforcing Arrearages in Interstate Cases 14

Administrative Enforcement 16

Representation 17

Performance Incentives 17

Referral Processing 18

Interstate Paternity Establishment  21

Assistance with Discovery 22

Communication 24

Application for Services 25

Training 27

Payment Redirection 27

Interstate Distribution 28

UIFSA (General)

1. Can a responding State refuse to accept a two-state UIFSA transmittal request for order establishment if, in the opinion of the responding State, the initiating State has "long-arm" jurisdiction under UIFSA’s section 201?

Answer: No; a responding State may not refuse to accept a two-state request for order establishment because it believes that the initiating State could exercise long-arm jurisdiction. Federal regulations at 45 CFR 303.7(b)(1) provide that the initiating State is responsible for determining if its use of available long-arm jurisdiction is appropriate. The responding State may not "second-guess" the decision of the initiating State. See also, OCSE-PIQ-92-18, Question and Response 4.

2. Does UIFSA allow a State to modify an order issued by another State where no individual party continues to reside but the issuing State, due to its prior payment of public assistance to the family, has an interest in the arrears owed under the order?

Answer: Yes; UIFSA’s section 611 allows a State with personal jurisdiction over all the parties to modify an order of another State if all individual parties (including the children) to that order have left the issuing State. The fact that the issuing State itself may have an interest in the order does not prohibit another State from modifying, prospectively, an order issued by a tribunal in the issuing State.

3. Many interstate cases have multiple orders. UIFSA’s required Continuing Exclusive Jurisdiction (CEJ)/Controlling Order determinations (including the arrears calculation) are problematic and time consuming. These determinations involve more contact with other State CSE agencies and clerks of court to obtain information pertinent to all orders and all pay records. What resources are available to reduce this burden?

Answer: It is important to remember at the outset that the determination of Controlling Order should only be required to be made once in the life of a case. Section 207 of UIFSA requires that the Controlling Order determination be made the first time a proceeding is brought under UIFSA, or upon the request of a party following a State’s implementation of UIFSA but before a proceeding in the case has been brought under the Act. Section 207 includes a simple decision-tree for use in making the Controlling Order determination. The key to an efficient and effective Controlling Order determination is knowledge of all of the child support orders, which exist in a case.

Section 453(h) of the Social Security Act requires the establishment of a Federal Case Registry of Child Support Orders (FCR) by October 1, 1998. The FCR is a resource for States to help identify all orders in a case. The FCR consists of information on individuals in IV-D cases and non-IV-D orders (entered after October 1, 1998), including, but not limited to names, social security numbers, and State case identification numbers. In addition, the FCR contains an order indicator that identifies whether or not an order has been entered in the case. The FCR was designed as a "pointer" system which will quickly provide information to enable States to identify other States which have an interest in a case or order, thus narrowing the number of States it will be necessary to contact. Upon receiving information from the FCR, a State will utilize the Child Support Enforcement Network (CSENet) and other resources to ascertain if a controlling order determination has been made. This is important because once a controlling order determination has been made, that is the only order that is to be recognized for prospective enforcement. A State will also use CSENet and other resources to ascertain detailed information necessary to make a determination of CEJ/Controlling Order under UIFSA.

A CEJ analysis is not required in most actions taken under UIFSA. Other than the CEJ analysis associated with the Controlling Order determination, UIFSA only requires a CEJ analysis when a modification of an existing order is requested. Unlike the "one-time" determination of Controlling Order, UIFSA’s section 611 requires a determination of CEJ each time a registration for modification action is requested. Fortunately, the CEJ analysis focuses upon the actual location of the individual parties and child to the order. Due to this, CEJ analyses should be less problematic than determinations of Controlling Order.

4. Does UIFSA provide a solution to the problem which arises when the obligor, in response to the notice of registration issued by the responding State, begins making payments to the responding tribunal before this tribunal can accept them?

Answer: Yes; in accordance with section 603(a) of UIFSA, a support order or income withholding order is registered when the order is filed. UIFSA’s section 605 states that the "registered order is enforceable as of the date of registration." The fact that the nonregistering party has the opportunity to contest the registration action does not prohibit the enforcement of the order, or preclude the responding State from accepting and processing child support payments. Therefore, a State should establish a payment account for the order in its State Disbursement Unit concurrent with the registration action.

5. Does UIFSA provide a solution to the logistical problems associated with IV-D staff, parties or witnesses being required to travel long distances to appear before the appropriate tribunal in the responding State?

Answer: Yes. Section 316(a) of UIFSA states that the physical presence of the petitioner in the responding tribunal is not required for the establishment, enforcement, or modification of a support order or a determination of parentage. In accordance with section 316(f) of UIFSA, a State may permit witnesses to appear via telephone, or other electronic means, at any proceeding held under the Act. We encourage States to take advantage of this authority.

6. Many courts do not have the equipment (e.g., conference phones or video equipment) to accommodate testimony from other States. Suggestions on how to handle these provisions of UIFSA in courts that do not have the technology would be helpful.

Answer: According to UIFSA’s section 316, testimony contained within the Federal interstate forms is admissible in evidence if given under oath and not excluded under the hearsay rule if given in person. In instances where additional testimony is required and the State’s UIFSA tribunal does not have the equipment to accommodate testimony from other States, OCSE offers the following suggestions. The IV-D office could make arrangements with the tribunal to bring a speaker telephone or facsimile machine to the proceeding. The IV-D office, with the assistance of their Federal Regional office, may want to investigate technology transfers between tribunals. As a final thought, a traditional telephone with extensions may prove useful.

7. Processing of interstate cases is impeded because some responding States still require "Statements of Fact" for registration. The responding State’s judges will not proceed without this information. What can initiating States do to address this problem?

Answer: The revised Federal UIFSA interstate forms contain a "Registration Statement" that should be completed by the initiating State when requesting a registration action in a responding State. The Federal Registration Statement contains the amount of any arrearage so a separate verification form should not be needed. This Federal form is intended to suffice in any State where the tribunal requests a "Statement of Fact" or other similar form. States should review the UIFSA forms matrix to determine when the Registration Statement is needed and should educate their judges accordingly.

8. When does the Controlling Order determination actually take place - when the initiating State’s tribunal makes its preliminary determination or when a tribunal in the responding State does the final determination and has sent out the proper notices and all appeals have been addressed?

Answer: In most cases a tribunal in the responding State makes the final decision regarding the determination of Controlling Order. The last sentence to UIFSA’s Official Comment to section 207 implies that a determination of Controlling Order is only binding and entitled to full faith and credit if the tribunal making the decision has personal jurisdiction over all individual parties. The initiating State’s tribunal generally does not have personal jurisdiction over the out-of-state party. Without such personal jurisdiction, the initiating State’s tribunal cannot make a determination of controlling order unless the out-of-state party voluntarily submits to the jurisdiction of the initiating tribunal.

9. If, in its preparation of the interstate transmittal packet, the initiating State makes an initial analysis of the Controlling Order and discovers that they have been charging prospective support per another order, should the initiating State include in its transmittal packet a request to enforce the current support obligation contained within the order they have preliminarily identified to be the Controlling Order?

Answer: Yes; in cases where a final determination of the Controlling Order has not been made, the initiating State should make a preliminary analysis of the Controlling Order prior to sending the interstate referral to the responding State. The transmittal should identify all orders, and include an arrears determination based upon all existing orders. The current support obligation the responding State is asked to enforce should be that contained within the order which the initiating State has preliminarily identified to be the Controlling Order.

10. What is a State to do if a pre-existing order is identified after the determination of Controlling Order has already been made in a case?

Answer: The State should review the prior determination of Controlling Order, including the arrears determination, to see if the newly-discovered order has an impact upon the tribunal’s earlier determination. If the newly-discovered order does not affect either the tribunal’s determination of Controlling Order or the associated arrears determination, the previously issued Notice of Determination of Controlling Order must be sent to the parties, and the tribunal that issued the newly-discovered order.

However, if the newly-discovered order does affect the tribunal’s determination of Controlling Order or the associated arrears determination, then a tribunal with personal jurisdiction over both parties should be petitioned to make an amended determination of Controlling Order based upon the newly-discovered order.

11. How does the initiating State appeal a responding State’s Controlling Order determination?

Answer: UIFSA does not address an appeal by one State of a decision of a tribunal in another State.

12. What is the status of de novo orders entered after the effective date of the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA), in cases where there is already an order in the home State of the child?

Answer: FFCCSOA (P.L. 103-383) became effective on October 20, 1994 and appears at 28 U.S.C. 1738B. Section 322 of PRWORA amended FFCCSOA and these amendments became effective on August 22, 1996. PRWORA’s most significant amendment to FFCCSOA was the addition of language from UIFSA’s section 207, which appears as FFCCSOA’s new subsection (f). This amendment resulted in making CEJ rules identical for both FFCCSOA and UIFSA.

The legal status of de novo orders entered subsequent to the effective date of FFCCSOA is unsettled. To date, no appellate court has ruled, in cases where an earlier child support order exists, upon the status of de novo orders entered after FFCCSOA’s initial enactment or after the enactment of PRWORA’s revisions to FFCCSOA

13. In a multiple order case where the initiating State is requesting registration of a child support order for enforcement and/or modification, which orders does the initiating State need to include certified copies of in the transmittal packet it sends to the responding State?

Answer: According to UIFSA’s section 602, when requesting registration for enforcement and/or modification, the initiating State should include certified copies of all orders to be registered. "All orders to be registered" could include orders in addition to the Controlling Order. For example, an order from a State that cannot claim CEJ may not be entitled to prospective enforcement, but may be used in determining any arrearages that may be owed in the case. If so, it must be registered as part of the registration proceeding. Because of this, the initiating State must provide a certified copy of this order. Although the initiating State generally does not need to send certified copies of any order(s) entered in the responding State, the information from such order(s) must be included in the transmittal.

14. What effect does FFCCSOA have upon UIFSA? Does one do away with the other?

Answer: The Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act is a Federal law. UIFSA is a State law. Both are designed to achieve a "one-order" system in interstate child support enforcement. These two laws are consistent and reconcilable.

15. Under UIFSA, may a State reserve the right to modify orders registered for enforcement in that State?

Answer: No; a State may not reserve the right to modify orders registered for enforcement in that State. Under UIFSA, a State may only modify an order issued by another State if the restrictive requirements of section 611 are met. As a general rule, if either individual party, or the child, continues to reside in the original issuing State, the registering State may not modify the order.

16. Complicated problems develop when the initiating State’s laws and/or policy are different from those in the responding State. This difference occurs on issues such as the age of emancipation, statute of limitations, etc. Does UIFSA clarify which State’s law controls in interstate cases?

Answer: Per UIFSA, section 604(a), the law of the issuing State governs the nature, extent, amount and duration of current payments and other obligations of support and the payment of arrearages under the order. This section requires the issuing State’s age of majority to govern the duration of the obligation. UIFSA’s Official Comment to this section states that the basic principle of UIFSA is that the Controlling Order remains the order of the issuing State, and that responding States only assist in the enforcement of that order. Remember that the initiating State is not always the issuing State.

In Controlling Order determinations in multiple order cases, when a responding State enters a new child support order (for current support) after determining that none of the issuing States can claim CEJ, then the responding State’s age of majority would control the duration of the obligation. In these instances, the new order entered by the responding State becomes the Controlling Order in the case and, therefore, the law of the responding State governs the nature, extent, amount and duration of current payments and other obligations of support and the payment of arrearages under the order.

The only exception to the general rule outlined in UIFSA’s section 604(a) appears in section 604(b). Section 604(b) states that, in a proceeding for arrearages, States are to apply the longer of the statutes of limitations (under the laws of the issuing or responding State).

17. The initiating State has a law, which does not recognize a termination of parental rights (TPR), as also terminating the noncustodial parent’s obligation to support the child. The initiating State asks the responding State to establish a support order on a TPR case. The responding State refuses to establish a support order because under the responding State’s law it is not appropriate to enter a child support order against a parent whose parental rights have been previously terminated by a court. Is the responding State’s refusal to establish a support order in this situation supported by UIFSA?

Answer: Yes; under UIFSA’s section 303(1) and (2), the responding State is directed to follow local law in the establishment of a child support order. This section of UIFSA requires the responding State’s tribunal to determine the duty of support and the amount of the child support payment in accordance with the laws and guidelines of the responding State. Because the law of the responding State recognizes the termination of parental rights as also terminating a duty to provide support, its refusal to establish a support order is appropriate.

18. A responding State receives a transmittal in a multiple order case requesting registration for enforcement. UIFSA authorizes a responding State to initiate available administrative enforcement procedures without first registering the order. If a responding State elects to pursue such administrative enforcement, is it first required to make a Controlling Order determination or may it choose to enforce the highest order, even when it knows that this order would not be determined to be the Controlling Order?

Answer: UIFSA’s section 507 allows a responding State to initiate administrative enforcement procedures without first registering the order. If a formal determination of Controlling Order was never made in the case, arguably, a responding State could elect to enforce any valid order existing in the case. However, for consistence with the spirit of UIFSA any State electing to pursue administrative enforcement remedies under UIFSA’s section 507 (in cases where no final determination of Controlling Order has been made) should first make an appropriate determination of Controlling Order to ensure that the order it prospectively enforces is the true Controlling Order.

Direct Income Withholding

19. What recourse does UIFSA provide when an out-of-state employer fails to honor a direct income withholding order, which is regular on its face?

Answer: UIFSA’s section 501 provides that States may avoid a two-state enforcement process and send income withholding orders directly to a person or entity defined, under the law of the employer’s State, as the obligor’s employer. When a State enacts UIFSA into law, all employers in that State are required to accept such withholdings.

However, many States have encountered some difficulties in enforcing direct income withholding orders. These difficulties center around the legal and logistical problems facing the State which issued the direct income withholding order when it attempts to coordinate an employer noncompliance action. When a State issuing a direct income withholding order is faced with an employer who fails to honor it, the State issuing the withholding order should first contact the employer to try to resolve the issue. An employer’s failure to honor direct income withholding orders may be due to a lack of understanding of State law in this area. Therefore, OCSE also recommends that the State issuing the direct income withholding order may wish to contact the IV-D agency in the employer’s State to try and determine why the direct income withholding order was not honored and work to resolve the problem so that it does not recur. If that fails, the State could terminate its direct withholding action and initiate a formal two-State enforcement case. Should the employer fail to honor an enforcement action initiated by the IV-D agency in the employer’s State, then that State (i.e. the responding State) would be responsible for resolving the issue of the employer’s noncompliance.

20. Does UIFSA allow two or more States to issue direct income withholding orders directly to the employer on the same case?

Answer: Yes; the issuance of multiple interstate withholding actions is certainly allowable under UIFSA. That is, State A may be enforcing prospective support for the family residing in State A, while State B may be enforcing a debt for delinquent child support which is owed to State B as a result of a prior period of public assistance. However, when a State discovers that one or more additional States are taking independent enforcement action in the same case, OCSE encourages all States to request the enforcement services of the IV-D agency in the noncustodial parent’s State of residence. This results in a consolidated and coordinated enforcement action, with only one State responsible for enforcement. In addition, this provides the employer with just one State for contact.

21. Is it appropriate for a State to send a direct income withholding order to an employer in another State after requesting the IV-D agency in that State to register and enforce the child support order in the same case?

Answer: While allowable, pursuing dual enforcement remedies could lead to confusion on the part of the employer, the obligor and obligee, and the IV-D agencies. If a State pursues direct withholding after referring a case to another State for enforcement, it must coordinate with the responding State and notify that State of any direct withholding and collections from the direct withholding, in accordance with 45 CFR 303.7(b)(5). Communication between the two States is critical to ensure accurate payment records and to avoid duplicative enforcement actions.

22. What is the best solution for the IV-D agency in the employer’s State when contacted by a non-English speaking/reading employer who has received a direct income withholding order, which he/she does not understand?

Answer: At the Providence, Rhode Island One-State Interstate Retreat, the consensus "best practice" in these situations was for the employer’s State to provide an interpreter for their employers. There are already some States that have established an employer outreach program to assist non-English speaking employers. With such interpretative services, a summary of the withholding (or other action requested) could be provided to the employer. (See OCSE-IM-97-05, Summaries from the One-State Interstate Retreat, dated July 31, 1997.)

23. Consider this scenario: State A issues a direct income withholding order to an employer located in State B and the obligor lives in State C. The tribunal in State B stays enforcement of the withholding action based upon the obligor’s request. What should be the next action taken by the IV-D agency in State A?

Answer: An obligor is authorized by section 506 of UIFSA to contest a direct income withholding action. If such a contest is requested, the State issuing the direct withholding order will receive notice of the contest and should work with the employer’s State to attempt to revolve the contest. If that fails, the State, which issued the direct enforcement action, should open a formal two-state process with the State agency in the employer’s State. (See the UIFSA Handbook, at P.3-EEO-5 and 6, DIW16 and 17.) Opening a two-state process will permit the responding State to appear and represent the interests of the initiating State in any contested matter(s) regarding the income withholding action in the employer’s State. Once any challenge or contest to the withholding action is resolved, the case may be transferred to the IV-D agency in the obligor’s State of residence for registration of the order for enforcement, because this State will have jurisdiction to initiate other appropriate enforcement actions.

24. Does the out-of-state employer follow the laws of the State that issued the direct income withholding order in determining the timeframes for remitting withheld payments or does the law of the employee’s work-state control?

Answer: According to section 466(b)(6)(A)(i) of the Social Security Act, when an employer receives an income withholding order issued by another State, the employer must comply with the law of the employee’s work-state regarding: the timeframes to implement the withholding instrument and remit withheld income; the employer’s fee for processing the income withholding order; the maximum amount to be withheld; and the priorities for withholding and allocating withheld income for multiple child support obligees. UIFSA contains similar requirements. (See UIFSA Section 502(d)(3) and the UIFSA Handbook, at P.3-EEO-6, DIW19.)

25. Does UIFSA contemplate the following situation: State A receives a request from the custodial parent to enforce a child support order from State B. The State B support order contains a provision ordering immediate income withholding. The noncustodial parent is residing and employed in State C. Can State A issue an income withholding order, based upon the State B underlying support order, directly to the employer in State C?

Answer: Yes. Pursuant to Sections 501 and 502(b) of UIFSA, an income withholding order issued in another State may be sent to an employer in the obligor’s work State. If the income withholding order is regular on its face, the employer is required to honor it and treat it as if a tribunal of the employer’s State had issued it.

26. Can the State where the obligor resides require another State to initiate an interstate referral instead of a direct income withholding order?

Answer: No; the decision whether to pursue enforcement of a support order via a direct income withholding action or via a traditional two-state process rests with the initiating State. If a State believes that a direct withholding is the most appropriate service for a particular case, then that State should pursue the direct income withholding remedy. If, however, enforcement actions other than income withholding are desired, then it would be necessary for the initiating State to formally request the assistance of the IV-D program in the obligor’s State of residence. In short, the responding State cannot dictate what enforcement actions the initiating State must pursue.

27. If State X receives information from the National Directory of New Hires indicating that the noncustodial parent’s employer is located in State B, is State X required to issue a direct income withholding order to the State B employer within 2 business days?

Answer: Not necessarily. If State X had prior knowledge that the noncustodial parent was residing or employed in another State and had previously determined that the next appropriate action in the case was the issuance of a direct income withholding order, then such an order should be issued within 2 business days. However, if the "hit" from the National Directory of New Hires is State X’s first notice that the noncustodial parent may be residing or employed in another State, then State X need not issue a direct income withholding order within 2 business days. State X would need to review the case to determine the next appropriate action to be taken and, if State X determines that an interstate transmittal is the next appropriate action, then the interstate time frames in 45 CFR 303.7 would apply.

Allocation of Collections in Interstate Income Withholding

28. Under Federal regulations at 45 CFR 303.100, is a responding State required to allocate collections on arrears among all cases?

Answer: 45 CFR 303.100(a)(5) requires, in instances where there is more than one income withholding order in place against a single noncustodial parent, a State to allocate amounts available for withholding, among support due in cases for which withholding orders are in effect, giving priority to current support, up to the limits of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. (See OCSE-AT-97-13, Collection and Disbursement of Support Payments.)

Enforcing Arrearages in Interstate Cases

29. When a responding State is enforcing a case that has assigned arrears owed to itself and another State, does the responding State have the ability to choose which State’s debt they pay first, or are there Federal guidelines?

Answer: Section 457 of the Act sets forth distribution requirements in IV-D cases. However, it does not address distribution in more than one case at a time. Therefore, there are no Federal requirements regarding the order in which arrearages owed to two or more States are to be satisfied. However, if there is more than one withholding order in place against the same income and noncustodial parent, the allocation requirements under 45 CFR 303.100(a)(5) apply, as discussed immediately above.

30. Can a responding State refuse to honor a request to enforce a valid order or judgment for past-due support if the request is received after the family terminates public assistance? Can a State refuse to honor a request to establish an obligation for a prior period (i.e., when the family received public assistance) if the request is received after the family terminates public assistance and the request does not ask for enforcement of an ongoing current support obligation?

Answer: A State may not refuse to enforce a valid order, even if the family is no longer receiving public assistance. However, if a State, in its intrastate caseload, does not have procedures to establish an order setting an obligation for a prior time period in situations where there is no authority to establish a current support obligation (e.g., child emancipated), then this State is not required to do so in response to a request from another State.

31. In an action to confirm the arrears amount, can a responding State adjust or revise the amount of the arrears from the computation of arrears provided by the initiating State in the transmittal packet?

Answer: Yes, but only under the following circumstances. When a responding State receives a request to register an order for either enforcement or modification, the initiating State’s determination of the arrears amount may be adjusted as a result of a contest to the registration action in the responding State. Section 607(a) of UIFSA lists the possible defenses available to the party contesting the validity or enforcement of a registered order. UIFSA’s list includes the traditional defenses of full or partial payment of the claimed arrears. Responding States should work with the initiating State to resolve these issues.

32. Is it appropriate for a responding State to insist that an initiating State obtain a formal "judgment" (i.e., issued by a tribunal) for arrears before the responding State will enforce the arrears?

Answer: No; Federal regulations at 45 CFR 303.106(a)(1) and (2) require that all States have in effect, and use, procedures which require judgments by operation of law for missed payments or installments of support owed under a child support order. Judgments arising by operation of law must have the full force and effect and attributes of other judgments entered in the State. Additionally, these judgments are entitled to full faith and credit in any other State. The accounting records of the State responsible for maintaining the payment record are sufficient to provide the basis for the responding State to pursue enforcement of the arrears.

Federal clarification, in the form of PIQs, has already been provided regarding these issues. Please refer to the following PIQs for additional guidance and clarification: PIQ-88-14/dated November 9, 1988; PIQ-89-4/dated April 11, 1989; PIQ-90-5/dated March 28, 1990 and PIQ-92-18/dated November 23, 1992.

33. In an interstate case, which State, the initiating or responding, is responsible for reporting the obligor’s debt to the consumer reporting agencies?

Answer: Section 466(a)(7) of the Social Security Act requires that all States have procedures for periodically reporting obligors and the amount of their delinquent child support to consumer reporting agencies. However, this section does not specify which State is responsible for this reporting in interstate cases.

OCSE recommends that the reporting of obligors and their delinquency be conducted by the responding State. From an interstate perspective, the responding State is responsible for pursuing all appropriate enforcement activities (except for Federal Income Tax Refund Offset). Placing responsibility for reporting delinquencies to consumer reporting agencies upon the responding State follows the general rule in interstate enforcement, as opposed to the limited exception. In addition, having only One State responsible for such reporting eliminates the potential confusion in interstate cases associated with double reporting. This proposal first appeared in OCSE-AT-96-02, issued January 31, 1996.

OCSE believes that this decision maximizes the effectiveness of this remedy because the obligor most frequently resides in the responding State and, due to this fact, the responding State is more likely to report to credit reporting agencies which focus on the area where the obligor lives. In addition, since the responding State will generally be the State of residence for the obligor, it is in the best position to efficiently handle any contest that may occur as a result of credit bureau reporting.

Administrative Enforcement

34. How is the implementation of PRWORA’s new interstate administrative enforcement remedy and interstate subpoena and lien forms to be coordinated with UIFSA?

Answer: The new PRWORA interstate tools mentioned in this question (high-volume automated administrative enforcement in interstate cases and the new Federal interstate lien and subpoena forms) appear, respectively, at sections 466(a)(14) and 454(9)(E) of the Act. These interstate tools are separate from, and in addition to, the remedies available under UIFSA. In most interstate cases, these PRWORA interstate tools will be used outside of any UIFSA proceeding.

PRWORA’s administrative enforcement in interstate cases remedy allows a State to include requests from other States in its periodic interfacing with various State databases. In addition, this remedy allows a State to include debts received from other States in its periodic financial institution data match, conducted in accordance with section 466(a)(17) of the Act. The unique factor about PRWORA’s administrative enforcement in interstate cases is that when a State requests that another State administratively enforce arrearages, the underlying IV-D case is not transferred, and the assisting State is not required to provide all appropriate IV-D services.

PRWORA’s new interstate lien and subpoena forms are primarily designed to be used by the State working the case. Because these interstate forms are not restricted to UIFSA cases, States will need to clearly specify the information requested and the appropriate manner for transmitting the requested information.

Additional information concerning administrative enforcement in interstate cases is provided in OCSE-PIQ-9807, OCSE-AT-98-05, OCSE-IM-97-05, OCSE-AT-97-10 and the technical amendments to PRWORA in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and in the Child Support Performance and Incentive Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-200, signed by the President on July 16, 1998).

Additional information/instructions concerning the interstate lien and subpoena forms can be found in OCSE-AT-97-19 and OCSE-AT-97-10.

Representation

35. Is the responding State responsible for providing "personal" legal representation services to an out-of-state petitioner in a UIFSA proceeding?

Answer: In the management of its interstate caseload, the IV-D agency in the responding State is required by Federal regulations (45 CFR 303.7(c)(1) and (7) to provide any "necessary" services. However, Federal IV-D policy does not view personal legal representation services as "necessary." 45 CFR 303.20(f)(1) requires that the States ensure that their IV-D program includes attorneys or prosecutors to "represent the agency" in IV-D cases. The IV-D agency does not provide legal representation to an individual receiving IV-D services. (See OCSE PIQ-88-02 and OCSE IM-93-03 (Revised 12/93) for additional guidance on the "attorney-client" issue.)

In addition, section 307(c) of UIFSA states that it [UIFSA] does not "create or negate a relationship of attorney and client or other fiduciary relationship between a support enforcement agency or the attorney for the agency and the individual being assisted by the agency."

36. What is the role of the IV-D agency in assisting noncustodial parents in modification proceedings under UIFSA?

Answer: The IV-D agency must provide all appropriate services to individuals who apply (including noncustodial parents). All applicants must file a written application for services and pay any application fee charged by the State. All applicants for IV-D services should be advised that the IV-D agency will provide services deemed by the agency to be appropriate. If a noncustodial parent makes an application for services, all appropriate services must be provided. The applicant cannot pick and choose which services will be provided. If there is an existing IV-D case, there is no need for the noncustodial parent to apply for services to request review and modification of an order. (See PIQ-92-07 for additional guidance.)

Performance Incentives

37. Will States still share incentives under the new Federal incentive reimbursement plan in traditional two-state interstate situations?

Answer: Yes; amendments to the incentive system made by Title II of the Child Support Performance and Incentives Act of 1998 (P. L. 105-200), maintain the current double-counting of incentives of interstate collections. Therefore, pursuant to the authority at section 458A(c) of the Act, both the initiating and responding States will continue to share incentives because the law treats interstate collections as having been collected in full by each State.

In addition, the technical amendments to PRWORA (section 5550 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997) revised section 458(d) of the Act to clarify that in computing the incentive payment, collections by one State at the request of another State, "including amounts collected under section 466(a)(14)," shall be treated as having been collected in full by both States. (See OCSE-AT-98-05, question/answer 22.)

Referral Processing

38. Are initiating States responsible for sending complete referral packets to the responding States? What may a responding State do if it fails to receive a complete referral packet?

Answer: Yes, initiating States are responsible. The Federal regulations at 45 CFR 303.7(b) state that "[B]efore referring a case, a State must make every effort to gather adequate case information as it would in an intrastate case." This includes pursuing all locate leads, including the FPLS, in accordance with 45 CFR 303.3(b)(3), when the whereabouts of the noncustodial parent have not been verified. If a responding State receives an incomplete referral packet, 45 CFR 303.7(c)(4)(ii) requires the responding State to promptly notify the initiating State of the "necessary additions or corrections to the form or documentation." In addition, 45 CFR 303.7(c)(4)(iii) requires the responding State to "process the interstate IV-D case to the extent possible pending necessary action by the initiating State."

39. What are the responsibilities of an initiating State when it receives a request for additional information/documents from the responding State?

Answer: Federal regulations at 45 CFR 303.7(b)(4) require the initiating State to respond to the responding State within thirty days of receiving a request for additional information. If the additional information is not immediately available to the initiating State, the responding State must promptly be notified of this fact. In addition, the responding State should be notified when it can expect to receive the additional information.

40. How long does the responding State have to respond to a request for updated information from the initiating State?

Answer: As stated above, Federal regulations at 45 CFR 303.7(b)(4) require the initiating State to respond to requests for additional or updated information within thirty calendar days of receipt of this request. However, the responding State’s time frame for responding to similar requests from the initiating State is not specifically addressed in the Federal regulations. Nevertheless, in the interest of efficient interstate case processing, OCSE strongly encourages responding States to also respond within thirty calendar days of the receipt of such a request from an initiating State.

41. Is it appropriate to direct requests for subsequent action on cases previously referred to the responding State’s Central Registry?

Answer: OCSE’s response to comments on 45 CFR 303.7(a) states: "Once a case is sent to the local individual or agency responsible for processing the case, contact should be between the initiating State and that local individual or agency. The initiating State should only have to contact the Central Registry if it has lost track of the case or cannot determine if any action is being taken on the case. The Central Registry’s role in such cases is to locate the case and ensure that the case is receiving attention". (See 53 FR 5246, dated February 22, 1988, response to comment 4, page 5250.)

Inquiries to the Central Registry should, therefore, be limited to instances where direct contact between the initiating State and the agency or court working the case is ineffective or impossible. (See 53 FR 5246, dated February 22, 1988, response to comment 11, page 5251.)

42. When does UIFSA require the initiating State to include certified copies of documents in the initial two-state referral?

Answer: Section 311 of UIFSA requires that a certified copy of any support order in effect be included in the initial transmittal. Although an initiating State should not be expected to include a certified copy of an order issued by the responding State, some responding States may require that the initiating State include certified copies of the responding State’s own orders in the initial two-state transmittal packet sent to the responding State’s Central Registry. In addition, UIFSA’s section 602 requires that a request for registration of another State’s order be accompanied by either a sworn statement of the amount of any arrearage or a certified statement by the custodian of the records showing the amount of any arrearage.

43. Does UIFSA require a standard procedure for the initiating State to follow to verify the record of arrearages?

Answer: UIFSA, at section 602, requires an initiating State (requesting order registration) to forward to the responding State either a sworn statement of the amount of any arrearage or a certified statement by the custodian of the records showing the amount of any arrearage. UIFSA does not require a standard procedure or format for verifying the record of arrearages. However, see Question and Answer 7, addressing Federal UIFSA interstate forms, which include a verification of arrearages in the Federal Registration Statement.

44. Can UIFSA improve the response time between States?

Answer: Yes; UIFSA contains a number of communication efficiencies intended to improve the response time between States. UIFSA’s sections 316, 317 and 318 are all designed to reduce the amount of time involved in interstate communication.

45. Is a complete set of the new UIFSA forms required in every action requested under UIFSA?

Answer: It would be a very rare case in which the complete set of Federal UIFSA forms would be required to be sent to the responding State. The UIFSA forms’ matrix, included in the standard Federal interstate forms packet, directs which forms are to be used when requesting a specific action under UIFSA. For example, if an action to register a foreign order for enforcement is requested, the responding State need only be sent copies of transmittal #1, certified copy(ies) of the existing order(s) that is/are to be registered, along with a Registration Statement for each order to be registered. In addition, the transmittal packet must include the amount of any arrearages in the case.

46. Is the responding State required to generate the "acknowledgment of receipt" to be returned to the initiating State?

Answer: Contrary to the direction in the instructions to Transmittal #1, the initiating State should always include the "acknowledgment of receipt" form along with this transmittal. The "acknowledgment of receipt" form should be completed by the responding State and returned to the initiating State in response to either Transmittal #1 or Transmittal #3. If the initiating State uses Transmittal #2 to request information or action, the responding State should return the "acknowledgment of receipt." However, if the initiating State uses Transmittal #2 to provide notice or information, the "acknowledgment of receipt" does not need to be sent back to the initiating State.

47. Are responding States required to forward a case to another State (where the obligor now resides) upon the request of the initiating State?

Answer: Yes; if the obligor is located in another State and the initiating State requests the case be forwarded to the new State, the responding State is required by 45 CFR 303.7(c)(6) to forward the case to the new State.

In fact, UIFSA’s section 306 requires a local tribunal to forward the pleadings and accompanying documents to the appropriate tribunal whether or not it is requested to do so by the initiating State. UIFSA’s Official Comment to this section states that this requirement applies to both initiating and responding tribunals and "is much to be preferred to returning the documents to the initiating tribunal to begin the process anew. Cooperation of this sort will facilitate the ultimate goals of the Act."

48. What procedures should be followed to transfer a case to another State?

Answer: When the initiating State requests the responding State to forward the case to the State where the obligor is now located, the responding State must send the original transmittal packet and all relevant subsequent case documentation to the Central Registry in this new State. There may be instances, however, in which the initiating State may request the referral be returned rather than forwarded to the new State, e.g., if the information is out-of-date. See 45 CFR 303.7(c )(6).

49. How does an interstate "Locate Only" request differ from a "Quick Locate" request? What are the duties of the responding State under each request?

Answer: For the distinction between these two types of interstate requests, and the responding State’s responsibilities in response to each type of request, see Part II, Question and Response 5, in OCSE-AT-93-03.

Interstate Paternity Establishment

50. Which State is responsible for paying the costs/fees associated with an interstate paternity establishment case?

Answer: In interstate paternity cases, 45 CFR 303.7(d)(2) requires the initiating State to pay the costs of genetic testing. All other activities and costs associated with an interstate paternity action must be borne by the responding State.

51. Which State is responsible for scheduling any required genetic testing associated with an interstate paternity action?

Answer: Federal regulations, 45 CFR 303.7(c)(7)(i), require the responding State to provide any necessary services (as it would in an intrastate case), including paternity establishment services. Therefore, the responding State is responsible for obtaining the services of an appropriate laboratory and scheduling the genetic testing. However, it is expected that the initiating State will cooperate with the responding State by ensuring that any individual residing in the initiating State appears and participates in the test. In addition, the initiating State should assist the responding State by ensuring that the blood or other genetic material taken from the individual in the initiating State is forwarded to the appropriate laboratory, as selected by the responding State.

52. Is it appropriate for a responding State to fail to recognize a filed acknowledgment of paternity, which, under the law of the State where the acknowledgment was filed, has the effect of allowing the establishment of a child support order?

Answer: No. Under 45 CFR 302.70(a)(5)(vii), a voluntary acknowledgment must be recognized as a basis for seeking a support order without requiring any further proceedings to establish paternity. Under section 466(a)(11) of the Act and Federal regulations at 45 CFR 302.70(a)(11) all States must have laws requiring the use of procedures under which full faith and credit is given to a determination of paternity made by any other State, regardless of whether it was established through voluntary acknowledgment or through administrative or judicial processes. Finally, section 466(a)(5)(D)(ii) requires State laws under which a signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity is considered a legal finding of paternity if not rescinded within 60 days.

Assistance with Discovery

53. Responding to UIFSA’s section 318 requests for assistance with discovery will entail a lot of work for little payback. What is the required time frame for responding to UIFSA’s requests for assistance?

Answer: UIFSA does not provide a specific time frame for responding to requests for assistance made pursuant to section 318. However, 45 CFR 303.7(b)(4) provides for a 30-day time frame within which an initiating State must respond to requests for additional information received from the responding State. Although UIFSA’s requests for assistance may be made outside of the traditional two-state (initiating/responding) process contemplated by this regulation, in the interest of efficient interstate case processing, OCSE strongly encourages the States to apply this 30-day time frame to requests for assistance made pursuant to section 318 of UIFSA.

Regarding the questioner’s statement that responding to these requests will entail "a lot of work for little payback," these remedies work both ways. The State providing this assistance for other States today will be requesting such assistance from other States tomorrow.

54. What "assistance" is the tribunal in the assisting State required to provide in order to comply with the terms of UIFSA’s sections 317 and 318?

Answer: In a request pursuant to UIFSA’s section 317, the tribunal in the assisting State may provide a statement of the requested local law or the effect of any order entered in that State. In a request pursuant to UIFSA’s section 318, the tribunal in the assisting State may "compel a person over whom it has jurisdiction to respond to a discovery order issued by a tribunal of another State." UIFSA’s Official Comment to section 318 states that this "grant of authority is quite broad, enabling the tribunal of the enacting State to fashion its remedies to facilitate discovery consistent with local practice." If additional information is needed by the assisting State, or if the assisting State has any questions concerning the request, OCSE encourages the States to communicate by phone or fax to expedite the process.

55. In implementing PRWORA’s new interstate lien provisions, will the State issuing the lien actually file it in another State or will the issuing State request the assistance of the State where the property is located in filing the lien?

Answer: According to the lien instructions published as part of OCSE-AT-97-19, the State issuing the lien is responsible for filing it with the appropriate lien recording entity in the State where the property is located. The closest analogy to the new interstate lien is UIFSA’s direct income withholding remedy. A State issuing the direct income withholding order does not forward the order to the IV-D agency in the employer’s State and ask that agency to serve the order upon the employer. Similarly, the State issuing the interstate lien is responsible for filing the lien in accordance with the lien filing procedures, which exist, in the State where the property is located. OCSE is compiling a lien matrix of information, including the contact person in each State and the location where the liens are filed, which will be distributed to all States. (See OCSE-IM-97-05 for additional guidance and explanation of recommended "best practices.")

56. What are the roles of the respective IV-D agencies in situations where a State elects to proceed against a nonresident by exercising available long-arm jurisdiction, but this State requests a tribunal in the respondent’s State to provide assistance with discovery pursuant to sections 316 and 318 of UIFSA?

Answer: First, as the questioner points out, UIFSA’s evidentiary and discovery provisions permit a State pursuing long-arm jurisdiction to request assistance with discovery from a another State. Recommended "best practice" procedures for requesting such assistance are discussed on page 18 of OCSE-IM-97-05. The State exercising long-arm jurisdiction would send the assisting State the abbreviated interstate Transmittal #3, checking the appropriate box. The transmittal should include necessary documentation (i.e. laws, forms, discovery documents, etc.,) that the assisting State would need to provide the requested assistance. If the request is for a IV-D case, both States claim FFP for their respective administrative expenses associated with the necessary actions taken pursuant to the request for assistance. When the requested action was completed, no further action is required of the assisting State and the case closure criteria would not apply since there is no interstate case in the assisting State.

Communication

57. State Central Registries and local IV-D agencies routinely receive telephone inquiries from out-of-state custodial parents who are referred to the Central Registry and local offices by the initiating State. Is this practice appropriate?

Answer: No, the practice is not appropriate. The intent of the Federal regulations at 45 CFR 303.7(c) is to foster an ongoing relationship between the initiating and responding IV-D agencies. It was never intended that the responding agency would be in direct contact with the custodial party in the initiating State. The initiating State IV-D agency must keep the custodial parent apprised of significant actions taken in his or her case. We urge frequent contact between IV-D agencies to ensure that the custodial parent’s and children’s’ best interests are being considered by the responding State IV-D agency.

58. It is very difficult to contact a case worker/technician in another State to resolve problems and/or ask questions. Usually the number available is that of the other State’s Central Registry. It would expedite interstate case processing if the phone numbers of the appropriate staff in the initiating State were available to the IV-D staff working the same case in the responding State, and vice-versa. Does OCSE have any plans to require that the names/phone/fax numbers of interstate caseworkers be included in the Federal interstate forms?

Answer: Yes; the new Federally approved standard interstate child support enforcement forms, dated May 2, 1997 and issued under OCSE Action Transmittal OCSE-AT-97-06, specifically provide for the inclusion of the contact names and telephone/fax numbers for staff in both the initiating and responding States. On page 2 of Transmittal #1, Section VIII/Attachments requires that the name, telephone number and fax number of the contact in the initiating State be provided. On page 3 of this same Transmittal under the Acknowledgment section, the name, telephone number and fax number of the contact/case worker in the responding State must be provided. This same information is required to be provided on pages 2 and 3 of Transmittal #2 as well.

Given the information required to be included on the new forms, it is anticipated that the problems associated in reaching the appropriate staff in either the initiating or responding State will be eliminated. Once a case is sent to the local office in the responding State, all ongoing communication between the two States in question should occur at the local level.

NOTE: This is not intended to preclude a State from creating a specialized customer service unit (not the State’s Central Registry) to handle phone calls from out-of-state IV-D agencies on ongoing cases.

59. States should provide adequate access to the Central Registries of other States. If their public telephone line is always busy, is there another number that can be accessed in a timely manner?

Answer: To address this concern OCSE is working to ensure that all Central Registry contacts are included in both the updated UIFSA matrix and Interstate Roster and Referral Guide. Each Regional Office has been asked to obtain this information and provide it to OCSE Central Office for inclusion in both of these issuances. OCSE-IM-98-01, the directory of Interstate Central Registries, will be updated shortly.

60. Can a responding State close an interstate case when the initiating State will not provide information that is needed in order to take the next step?

Answer: OCSE is currently reviewing the case closure authority under 45 CFR 303.11 to permit a responding State to close a case when an initiating State does not provide the requested information needed by the responding State to proceed with the next appropriate action. OCSE-AT-98-04, dated February 25, 1998, distributed the NPRM that proposes this change.

Application for Services

61. How do the residency requirements (used in determining CEJ and the Controlling Order) in both the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act and UIFSA affect OCSE’s prior policy that nonresidents may apply for IV-D services? Will any additional instructions be issued concerning how States should handle nonresident application for services?

Answer: The residency requirements for determining CEJ and the Controlling Order have no effect upon OCSE’s previously issued "application for services" policy. Section 454(4)(A) of the Social Security Act requires the States to provide IV-D services to nonresidents on the same terms as are provided to residents. Therefore, a State must provide child support or paternity determination services to any individual not otherwise eligible for such services, based on an application and payment of an application fee, if required by State law. (See PIQ 92-07 and Dear Colleague Letter 94-45 for additional guidance.)

62. Concerning IV-D service applications by nonassistance nonresidents: What rules apply to providing services which may require a service recipient’s presence (assuming UIFSA provisions for the interstate transmission of evidence/discovery do not apply), and can a IV-D agency close the case if the out-of-state service recipient cannot or does not appear when his/her presence is required? Also, does a State have discretion to assign the case either to a local office or process the case centrally on an interstate case where none of the individual parties reside in the State but one individual party applies for services?

Answer: OCSE reminds the States that UIFSA is a State law and section 316 would apply in the traditional two-state proceedings as well as when a State is proceeding under long-arm. However, in the unlikely event that UIFSA did not apply, then the State’s non-UIFSA procedures would govern the service recipient’s presence at hearings, etc.

If a nonassistance service recipient cannot or does not appear when his or her presence is required, the State can close the case using the criteria in 45 CFR 303.11(b)(12). However, as stated above, UIFSA should apply in any action involving a nonresident party. Finally, if no individual party resides in the State, the State has the discretion on case assignment.

63. A noncustodial parent applies for services in his/her State (State A). State B, where the custodial parent resides, is enforcing the order via direct income withholding against the noncustodial parent in State A. State A asks State B to cease direct withholding. State B refuses. Is this appropriate?

Answer: Yes; State B determines how to work its own cases and can not be compelled to open an interstate case. However, State B might want to open an interstate case to take advantage of other services in the noncustodial parent’s State.

64. When all of the individual parties to an order no longer reside in a State, must that State continue providing IV-D services to the custodial parent? Can the State automatically transfer the case to the custodial parent’s new State of residence?

Answer: The State must continue to provide services to the custodial parent unless the case meets one of the conditions for case closure enumerated under 45 CFR 303.11.

Training

65. If UIFSA is to be implemented in a uniform fashion, all States need to receive standardized information as soon as possible. What UIFSA training resources are available from OCSE?

Answer: OCSE’s National Training Center (NTC), with the help of a team of UIFSA experts and State trainers, has designed and developed a stand-alone curriculum to train interstate case processing. OCSE has provided a substantial amount of UIFSA training in the past few years and remains committed to continuing that role.

66. Would OCSE consider a "Train the UIFSA Trainer" conference for all interested States? Such a conference would enable the States to provide comprehensive, standardized UIFSA training to all interstate CSE staff.

Answer: OCSE’s National Training center curriculum was pilot-tested in the summer of 1998, both for its target audience (caseworkers) in Washington, D.C. and from a Training of Trainers’ perspective in Chicago. Both pilots were very successful. Further plans for dissemination of the curriculum are being developed. The NTC will coordinate additional "Training of Trainers" courses as needed.

Payment Redirection

67. If all of the individual parties to a child support order leave the issuing State, and the custodial parent requests IV-D services from his/her new State of residence, can the issuing State close its IV-D case if the child support order directs the obligor to send payments to a payment registry or State Disbursement Unit in the issuing State?

Answer: A IV-D agency may only close a IV-D case if it meets ones of the criteria set forth in 45 CFR 303.11, for example, if the custodial parent in a non-assistance case requests closure of the case.

If the support order in the issuing State requires that payments be sent to the payment registry or State Disbursement Unit in the issuing State, the IV-D agency in the custodial parent’s new State of residence could request redirection of payments to the State Disbursement Unit in the custodial parent’s State of residence. States are required under section 466(c)(1))(E) of the Social Security Act to have laws requiring the use of procedures under which, upon notice to the obligor and obligee, payments under a support order are redirected to the appropriate State disbursement unit.

68. Assume that no individual party continues to reside in the State that issued the only child support order in a case. Further assume that the custodial parent and child come to the IV-D agency in their new State of residence (State A) to request enforcement of the child support order. If State A wants collections directed to its payment registry or State Disbursement Unit, as opposed to the payment registry of the issuing State, what does State A need to do to appropriately assume the responsibility for maintaining the payment registry?

Answer: As indicated in the answer to the previous question, State A, which is now required to provide IV-D services to the custodial parent and child, could request redirection of payments to the State Disbursement Unit in State A. State A must distribute collections in accordance with the distribution requirements under section 457 of the Act, OCSE-AT-97-17, dated October 21, 1997, and OCSE-AT-98-24, dated August 19, 1998. See also Interstate Distribution Questions and Answers that follow. State A should also notify the issuing State of any collections made on the issuing State’s order is the controlling order under section 207 of UIFSA, and the issuing State remains responsible for keeping the payment record on the order.

Alternatively, if State A can meet the requirements for modification of the underlying child support order in accordance with the requirements of UIFSA’s section 611, State A becomes the issuing State with the controlling order, with responsibility for receiving payments and keeping the payment records.

Interstate Distribution (from OCSE-AT-98-24, dated August 19, 1998)

69. What are the responding State’s responsibilities with respect to collections sent to the initiating State and for tracking arrearage balances, including showing distribution in current assistance, former assistance and never assistance cases?

Answer: Responding States are not responsible for distribution under section 457 of the Act in interstate IV-D cases. The initiating State must distribute amounts received from responding States in accordance with section 457 of the Act, OCSE-AT-97-17 and OCSE-AT-98-24.

Under 45 CFR 303.7(c)(7)(iv), the responding State is responsible for collecting and monitoring any support payments from the noncustodial parent and forwarding payments to the location specified by the IV-D agency in the initiating State. Effective October 1, 1998, (or October 1, 1999, in States in which courts were processing child support collections on August 21, 1996), the responding State’s State Disbursement Unit (SDU) must, within 2 days of receipt in the SDU, send the amount collected in an interstate IV-D case to the SDU in the initiating State.

The responding State IV-D agency must include sufficient information to identify the case, indicate the date of collection (see Q&A 23 in OCSE-AT-98-24, dated August 19, 1998) and include the responding State’s FIPS code. Under 45 CFR 303.7(d)(5), the responding State IV-D agency must identify any fees or costs deducted from support payments when forwarding payments o the IV-D agency in the initiating State.

       70. If multiple States have arrearages owed to them or to families, which arrearages are satisfied first?

Answer: Any State which is seeking to collect support to satisfy arrearages, whether they are assigned to the State or owed to a family, may use any appropriate IV-D enforcement technique to collect past-due support, e.g., Federal income tax refund offset, direct or regular income withholding. With the exception of 45 CFR 302.51(a), (requirement for payment to current support first) and 303.100(a)(5), (allocation across orders in withholding cases), Federal law and regulations do not address distribution of collections when there are multiple support orders with arrearages.

71.When a State collects support in an interstate IV-D case, to which State should the collection be sent and which State is responsible for distribution under section 457 of the Act 150 the initiating State or the State which issued the order?

Answer: 45 CFR 303.7(c)(7)(iv) requires the responding State in an interstate IV-D case to forward collections to the initiating State. As indicated in Q&A 69 above, the initiating State is responsible for distribution of collections in IV-D cases in accordance with section 457 of the Act, OCSE-AT-97-17, and OCSE-AT-98-24.

72. If State A sends State B a request for High-Volume Administrative Enforcement in Interstate (AE I) action (see OCSE-AT-98-05), and State B already has a case for the same NCP, how must State B distribute collections after State B takes the AEI action (e.g., bank account levy or other asset seizure)? Must State B apply the entire collection to State A’s AEI case?

Section 404 of the Child Support Performance and Incentive Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-200) redefined "high-volume automated administrative enforcement in interstate cases" by amending section 466(a)(14)(B) to read as follows: "the term 145high-volume automated administrative enforcement’, in interstate cases means, on request of another State, the identification by a State, through automated data matches with financial institutions and other entities where assets may be found, of assets owned by persons who owe child support in other States, and the seizure of such assets by the State, through levy or other appropriate processes." Upon receipt of an AEI request, the assisting State does not develop its request into an interstate case and does not provide the full scope of IV-D services provided to interstate cases. Federal law and regulations do not address distribution of collections when there are multiple support orders with arrearages (with the exception of payments on current support obligations, pursuant to 45 CFR 302.51(a) and the allocation across orders in withholding cases pursuant to 45 CFR 303.100(g)). States should follow State law for guidance on distribution between cases.

73. Which State is responsible for keeping payment records for an interstate case 150 the initiating State, the responding State or the State which issued the Controlling Order?

Answer: IV-D agencies are responsible for keeping payment records in IV-D cases. Since initiating States are responsible for distribution of collections as noted in Q&A 71, above, those States must keep payment records in interstate cases.

Section 209 of UIFSA requires that amounts collected and credited for any support order must be credited against the amounts accruing or accrued for the same period under all other support orders. This section derives from URESA under which multiple orders can exist and there is a need to ensure that payments are credited to amounts due on all orders. There is a Comment to section 209 of UIFSA which indicates that "The issuing tribunal is ultimately responsible for 133 accounting for the payments made on its order from multiple sources." The Comment indicates that the State that issued the order is responsible for the payment record. This assumption creates confusion when, in a IV-D case, the issuing State is neither the initiating nor responding State.

In IV-D cases, requirements under title IV-D and implementing regulations and policy issuances apply. For consistency with UIFSA’s premise that the issuing State is responsible for the accounting of payments under its order, when the issuing State is neither the responding nor initiating State in a IV-D case, the initiating State, upon receipt and distribution of collections in an interstate case, should notify the issuing State of payments under its order to ensure accurate accounting by the issuing State.