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CHILD SUPPORT 101 November 7 th , 2011 Presented by Department of Social and Health Services

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CHILD SUPPORT 101 November 7 th , 2011 Presented by Department of Social and Health Services DCS Olympia Field Office.

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CHILD SUPPORT 101

November 7th, 2011

Presented by

Department of Social and Health Services

DCS Olympia Field Office

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A hundred years from now, it will not matter how much money was in my bank account, the sort of house I lived in, or what kind of car I drove. . . But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.
why is dcs involved
Why is DCS Involved?
  • Federal Mandate
  • State Law
  • Welfare Reform
  • Reduce Tax Burden
  • Self Sufficiency
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Policy: The Division of Child Support (DCS)

Opens a IV-D case upon receipt of:

  • An application from either Parent or Custodian of Child.
  • An Electronic Referral from the State 4A Program.

Generated upon completing a new application or eligibility review for TANF or Medical Assistance.

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A Referral from a Tribal TANF Program.
  • A Foster Care Referral.
  • A Washington State Support Registry (WSSR) Court Order where either party signed to request DCS services.
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A Transmittal from another Child Support Agency.
  • A Request and Application from the Non-Custodial parent for Enforcement of a Custodial Parents Medical Support Obligation.
  • A Request and Application for Paternity Establishment.
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DCS opens a full enforcement case by operation of law if DCS discovers a child is receiving TANF or certain categories of Medicaid in Washington, if the non-custodial parent is not in the household and DCS has no case.
  • When required by federal and state law, DCS charges a custodial parent who has never received TANF, Tribal TANF, or AFDC (Aid to Families with dependent children) as a custodian of a child a $25 annual fee.

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PATERNITY

Every child deserves to have a legal father,

To know who that father is, and

To claim the rights and benefits

That come with that knowledge.

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what is paternity
What is paternity?

Legally, paternity is the fact of being the male parent (father) to a child.

how do i establish paternity
How do I establish paternity?

There are three ways to establish legal paternity:

Marriage (Presumed)

Court Order

Paternity Affidavit

marriage
Marriage

If the mother and father marry before the child’s birth, the marriage creates a “presumption of paternity” in the husband.

The husband is the child’s legal father.

This presumption may be challenged in court.

court order
Court Order

The court decides if a man is the father of a child.

To do this, the court usually requires a genetic test of the mother, father, and child. This is especially true if there is more than one possible father.

Use the court process if any party is unsure about signing the affidavit OR if the woman’s husband is unwilling to sign a denial of paternity.

paternity affidavit
Paternity Affidavit

The paternity affidavit is a legal form. State law considers the man who signs this form to be the legal (biological) father of the child.

Both parents must sign the form, being sure to have their signatures notarized.

The form must be filed with the Washington State Department of Health.

who signs the affidavit
Who Signs the Affidavit

Sign the form only when both the man and the mother are sure the man is the only possible biological father of the child.

A paternity affidavit signed by a minor is legal. State law holds minors who sign the form to the same degree of responsibility as adults.

what happens if the mother is married to someone else
What happens if the mother is married to someone else?

If a child is born during a marriage or within 300 days of the end of the marriage, the husband is PRESUMED to be the father.

If the husband agrees to sign the denial of paternity section of the affidavit, another man can be listed as the natural (biological) father. Without the husband’s denial, the natural father will not be listed as the child’s father on the birth certificate.

what if i change my mind
What if I change my mind?

You may ask the court to remove the father’s name from the birth record. This action must be filed with the courts within 60 days of the filing date of the affidavit with Dept of Health (DOH).

If the court allows the rescission, DOH will remove the man’s name from the birth certificate.

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If it has been more than 60 days from the filing date of the affidavit with DOH, a legal challenge may still be made. The father must be able to show the court that he signed the form under fraud or duress. This is material mistake of fact.

YOU CANNOT CHALLENGE THE PATERNITY AFFIDAVIT IF IT HAS BEEN MORE THAN 2 YEARS FROM THE FILING DATE.

how can dcs help with paternity
How can DCS help with paternity?

You can contact our office and open a case for paternity establishment only. This is helpful if you cannot locate the father. This cannot be done if the child is already over the age of 18.

Any court actions and their filing fees are minimal.

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ORDER ESTABLISHMENT
  • Administrative
  • Court
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ADMIN ORDER

Set by Division of Child Support

Support Enforcement Officer

  • NFFR - Notice & Finding of Financial Responsibility
  • NFMR - Notice & Finding of Medical Responsibility
  • NFPR - Notice & Finding of Parental Responsibility
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ADMIN ORDER
  • Service
    • Certified Mail
    • Personal Service
  • Hearing Rights
    • Default Order
    • Consent Order
    • Final Order
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COURT ORDER
  • Refer to County Prosecutor
  • Refer to Other State’s Court (UIFSA)
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SUPPORT ORDERS

RANKING

  • A Court Order supersedes an Admin Order
  • A determination of Controlling Order may need to be made if multiple court orders exist
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ENFORCEMENT
  • Child Support
  • Medical
  • Childcare
  • Spousal Support

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MEDICAL
  • Determined by Language in the Order
  • Premium Limit

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RECURRING INCOME
  • WAGES
    • Income Withholding For Support
    • Voluntary Wage Assignment

*Federal Law requires us to send a withholding order to an employer if the NCP is employed.

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RECURRING INCOME
  • Labor & Industries
  • Unemployment Compensation
  • DFAS – Military Garnishments

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RECURRING INCOME
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Employee Retirement
  • Title II Social Security Benefits
    • We do give credit for dependent benefits paid to the custodian of the children

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NON-RECURRING INCOME
  • Bank Account Order to Withhold & Deliver
  • County Liens to secure debt
  • Department of Corrections Inmate Accounts
  • County Jail Inmate Accounts

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NON-RECURRING INCOME
  • IRS Certification
  • Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend
  • Department of Revenue – Unclaimed Property
  • Trust Fund Attachment
  • Legal Settlement Attachment
  • Lottery Winnings

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OTHER ACTIONS
  • License Certification
    • Driver’s, Hunting, Fishing, International, Professional, Occupational
  • Credit Bureau Reporting
  • Contempt

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OTHER ACTIONS
  • Most Wanted Website
  • Interstate
  • Federal Judicial Prosecution
  • Security Bonds

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OTHER ACTIONS
  • Employer Non-Compliance
  • Estate Claim
  • FCNS – Federal Criminal Non-Support
  • PSOC –Project Save Our Children
    • Provides preliminary investigation to increase conviction under FCNS

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OTHER ACTIONS
  • Federal Offset Program
    • IRS Returns
    • Passports
    • Federal Employee Travel Reimbursement
    • FIDM – Federal Institution Data Match
      • Bank Accounts & Other Assets

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LIMITATIONS
  • Washington Law:
    • 50% Limit on Net
  • Out of State Employers
    • Follow Laws of State They Operate In
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PASS THROUGH
  • Looks at the Family Unit
  • Pass Through Payment
    • First has to be paid by NCP
      • $100 for 1 child in household
      • $200 for 2 or more children in household
  • May affect Medical or Food Stamps Grant

SUSPENDED

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STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Applied based on law of the issuing or enforcing state. We may apply whichever law preserves the debt the longest.

The statute can be waived by the NCP

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MODIFICATIONS

Changing a Child Support Order

RCW 26.09.070:

Modification of decree for maintenance or support, property disposition — Termination of maintenance obligation and child support — Grounds.

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MODIFICATIONS

Reasons to Modify a Child Support Order

  • Change in income of either party to the order
  • Change in family composition
  • Medical provisions

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MODIFICATIONS

Who Can Petition for Modification?

  • Noncustodial Parent, Custodial Parent or Custodian may petition for modification at any time.
  • Mandatory DCS review of TANF and Tribal TANF cases every 35 months for modification.
  • Cases are reviewed for specific criteria before referring for modification.

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MODIFICATIONS

Modification Procedures

  • Administrative Orders are modified through DCS and the Office of Administrative Hearings
  • Court Orders are modified through Superior Court when referred by DCS.
  • Court Orders are modified through the Family Court Facilitator when petitioned by parties on the order.

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MODIFICATIONS

Modification Procedures

  • Parties can hire an Attorney to proceed with a modification.
  • Tribal Orders are modified through the Tribal Court.
  • Intergovernmental Cases follow a matrix for proceeding with a modification. The location of the Noncustodial Parent, Custodial Parent and the Order determine where the modification will be referred.

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MODIFICATIONS

Modification Criteria

  • Mandatory review of TANF and Tribal TANF cases every 3 years.
  • DCS must have locate of parties.
  • The Transfer Payment must either increase or decrease by $100 per month; 25% of the original Transfer Payment; AND by $2400 over the life of the Order.

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Modification of Administrative Orders
  • DCS Initiated review. Must meet the criteria for modification to be referred to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).
  • DCS may petition for Modification if Medical Insurance and Cash Medical were not addressed in a Court Order.
  • Noncustodial Parents, Custodial Parents, and Custodians may petition for a modification of an Administrative Order at any time. Modification Criteria does not apply.
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MODIFICATIONS

Modification of a Court Order

  • Mandatory DCS Initiated review every 35 months.
    • The Noncustodial Parent, Custodial Parent or Custodian may petition for modification of a Court Order through DCS every three years.
    • Cases must meet the following criteria for modification to be referred to the Superior Court. The Transfer Payment must increase or decrease by $100 per month; 25%; AND $2400 over the life of the Order.

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MODIFICATIONS

Pro Se Modification Through the

Family Court Facilitator

  • Noncustodial Parents, Custodial Parents and Custodians may petition for modification through the Family Court Facilitator.
  • May have quicker results.
  • Minimal cost involved for filing fees, document fees, etc.

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MODIFICATIONS

Attorney Initiated Modification

  • Time frames – determined by Attorney’s calendar
  • Advantage – can address issues other than child support such as visitation, special expenses, etc.

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Dealing with Obstacles

Large Support Debts can create a barrier to

Family Reconciliation.

DCS may be able to help.

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Negotiation of Payments.
  • Reduction of Debt.
  • Charge off of Debt.
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SOLUTIONS

Negotiation of Payments

  • Support Enforcement Officers have the authority to negotiate the amount of arrears payments (unless the arrears payment are court ordered).
  • SEOs may request DCS refund payments.
    • tax refund attachments.
    • bank account attachments.
    • employer payments.
  • SEOs may initiate a modification review if support is not based upon actual income.

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SOLUTIONS

Reduction of Debt

  • SEOs may help the party initiate a late hearing to review the underlying administrative order if the party was not able to request a hearing due to impairment or if there were legal errors.
    • Canary Notice 180 – “Some of DCS's administrative orders are based on unknown or inaccurate wage information. DCS wants to give parties every chance possible to obtain an accurate order. DCS can assist parties in correcting inaccurate administrative orders through the hearings process.”

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SOLUTIONS

Charge Off of Debt

  • SEOs may initiate a Conference Board review for charge off of debt owed to the State of Washington if there were legal errors, if continuing collection action causes a financial hardship, or the cost of collection exceeds the value of the debt.
    • Canary Notice 198 – “This CN is supported by a recent research project. The report Overcoming Barriers to Collection recommends streamlining the process for writing off excessive and uncollectable debts.”

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OTHER SOLUTIONS

GOOD CAUSE

DCS does not require cooperation if the TANF/MAO custodian is afraid the Non-Custodial Parent may harm the child or custodian, or when there is a good cause claim pending or granted.

Good Cause Level A: DCS cannot proceed with establishment or enforcement of child support.

Good Cause Level B: DCS can proceed with establishment or enforcement but without CP cooperation.

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OTHER SOLUTIONS

FOSTER CARE

DCS does not initiate actions to collect support on a foster care case when collection of current support would reduce the head of household’s income to less than the self support reserve if there are other dependent children in the NCP’s home.

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OTHER SOLUTIONS

FOSTER CARE

  • DCS does not collect current support if the child is placed:
  • .
    • With a birth/adoptive parent,
    • In a private agency custody,
    • In a juvenile rehabilitation (JRA) facility,
    • In a non-funded relative placement.
    • If an adoptive family has been receiving adoption support services from the state of Washington. DCS will not take any collection or establishment action when the adopted child enters foster care if Children’s Administration determined good cause for the placement.
    • If the child, NCP or relative placement person has a tribal affiliation SEO’s will consult with the Regional Tribal Liaison.

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