DATE: October 5, 2011
TO: State and Tribal IV-D Directors
FROM: Vicki Turetsky, Commissioner, Office of Child Support Enforcement
SUBJECT: Spousal Support Only Cases
The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has received several inquiries requesting guidance on the handling and enforcement of spousal support-only cases.
QUESTION 1: If the child support portion of an order that includes spousal support ends, does the case continue to qualify for IV-D services?
RESPONSE 1: Yes, at the state’s option.
If a state chooses to continue IV-D services for the spousal support portion, it may use existing mechanisms and remedies to collect and enforce the case. However, past-due spousal support is only eligible for tax refund offset in cases where the parent is living with the child and the spousal support and child support obligations are included in the same order. See 45 CFR 303.72 (a)(3)(i). Additionally, OCSE Action Transmittal 10-04 further states that past-due spousal support-only cases certified for any of the federal collection and enforcement programs (i.e., federal tax refund and administrative offset, passport denial, multistate financial institution data match, and insurance match) are only eligible when the parent is living with the child.
For reporting purposes on the OCSE-157 (Child Support Enforcement Annual Data Report), once the child is emancipated or otherwise no longer involved, it becomes the state's option whether or not to continue servicing or reporting spousal cases. States that opt to continue servicing and reporting on spousal support-only cases must be consistent and report the cases on all lines that apply.
QUESTION 2: If a case certified to the OCSE Debtor File includes spousal support but the child support portion has been satisfied, is the remaining spousal portion still eligible for federal collection and enforcement remedies including federal tax and administrative offset, passport denial, multistate financial institution data match and insurance match?
RESPONSE 2: See response to Question #1.
QUESTION 3: Can Tribal IV-D programs report spousal support collections?
RESPONSE 3: For reporting purposes on the OCSE-75 (Tribal Child Support Enforcement Annual Data Report) under Section C: Collections Due and Distributed, collections for spousal support may be included, at the Tribe’s option, if spousal support is included in the child support order.
cc: ACF/OCSE Regional Program Managers