CS 070P Private Agents in Non-IV-A Cases/Protocol for Dealing with Private Attorneys
10/92 Revised 04/13/18 Training Completed 04/27/18
A Non-IV-A custodial parent/applicant may retain the services of a private agency or attorney to enforce his/her child support obligation. Because the Office of Recovery Services/Child Support Services (ORS/CSS) must be able to certify the accuracy of account records for tax intercepts, matches with financial institutions, Utah courts, credit reporting agencies and responding IV-D agencies in intergovernmental cases, and initiate income withholding and other enforcement remedies according to federal program standards, it is generally preferable to have the entire obligation (both current and all arrears) pursued by a single entity, rather than duplicating efforts between two or more entities. However, a custodial parent (CP) may opt to have a IV-D agency and a private agent pursue the same child support obligation.
If a custodial parent (CP) or non-custodial parent (NCP) is represented by a private attorney, negotiate only with the attorney. Do not attempt to resolve disputed case issues directly with the CP or NCP. If the CP or NCP calls for information about the case (to which s/he is entitled) or wishes to discuss an issue that is not in dispute, ask your AG if you can accommodate the request.
Change of Payee Requests
ORS/CSS is unable to honor a “Change of Payee” request or change the CP’s address on ORSIS to send payments to third parties. Support checks issued by CSS must be in accordance with 45 CFR 302.38, which requires that any payment sent:
“. . . to a family will be made directly to the resident parent, legal guardian, caretaker relative having custody of or responsibility for the child or children, judicially-appointed conservator with a legal and fiduciary duty to the custodial parent and the child, or alternate caretaker designated in a record by the custodial parent.”
If you receive a “Change of Payee” form or request from a private agent or attorney to change the name or address of the CP on a case to that of the private agent or attorney, send the Response to Request for Change of Payee and/or Address letter to the requestor. This letter notifies the requestor that CSS is unable to change the name or address of the payee on the case
If the private agent or attorney requested a payment record along with the change of payee request, refer to subsection Payment Record Requests below.
Assignment of Support Requests
CSS must honor any legal, valid assignment for past-due support that belongs to the CP. If you receive an assignment of support form from a private agent or attorney, review the request with your management chain (i.e., Manager, Associate Regional Director (ARD), and Regional Director (RD)) and the Attorney General’s Office (AGO).
ORS may determine that collection cannot occur through ORS for these time periods because any payments sent to the private agent or attorney based on the assignment of support would be made to an unauthorized payee under 45 CFR 302.38.
Review the case to determine that, if the CP ever received cash assistance from the state of Utah, the private agent assignment time period does not include time periods that have previously been assigned to Utah. If the private agent assignment includes a state time period, consult further with your team manager and the Attorney General’s Office to clarify the assigned periods with the private agent.
Payment Record Requests
If the private agent requests a CSS payment record, provide the private agent with a record of payments that indicates amounts disbursed by ORSIS to the CP in accordance with policy. Clarify amounts due the CP versus amounts due the state, such as the time periods that have been assigned to the state, if applicable; and if there are any Non-IV-A only judgments that may be collected by the private agent. If CSS took a combined (IV-A and Non-IV-A) sum-certain judgment, indicate the portion of the judgment that is due the CP, at that point in time. Make sure you consider the amount of unreimbursed public assistance that is still due the state. Apply GRAMA timeframes if the request is made in writing.
Custodial Parent/Applicant Working with Private Agent or Attorney
If you discover a CP on an existing case is also working with a private agent or attorney, contact the CP and ask the CP if s/he wishes to either:
1. Keep the IV-D Non-IV-A child support case open and provide the name, address, and telephone number of the private agent or attorney who will also be collecting support directly from the NCP and sending it to the CP; or,
2. Close the IV-D Non-IV-A child support case and stop all actions and services.
Do not attempt to persuade the CP to select a particular option.
To obtain documentation of the CP’s decision regarding whether s/he wants to keep the CSS case open or close it, you may ask the CP to complete the Notice from Custodial Parent/Private Agent to ORS form. This form explains the CP’s options and provides him/her with important information. It also explains that the CP is responsible for keeping CSS informed of payments made directly to him/her through the private agent, and if and when the arrears are paid-in-full. Give the CP a copy of the signed form. If the custodial parent/applicant wants to close his/her IV-D case and work exclusively with a private agent or attorney, close the case using the closure code Request of Non-IV-A Applicant/Recipient and terminate all services, including income withholding and tax certification.
Custodial Parent Requests Case Remain Open
If the custodial parent/applicant wants to keep his/her IV-D case open and also work with a private agent who will provide additional assistance in collecting support, take the steps listed below.
1. Keep the Non-IV-A case open and continue to provide full IV-D services, including all automated enforcement actions, to the extent possible. Send all payments directly to the family.
NOTE: CSS has sole discretion in determining appropriate collection/enforcement methods and remedies on the IV-D case, including arrears assessment, payment distribution, tax intercept, civil/criminal referral, intergovernmental actions, etc.
The case will continue to certify for federal tax intercepts and refer for state tax intercepts. If the amount of the arrears debt is unclear because the CP or the NCP tells you that there is an agreement with the private agent to pay the arrearages off in a short period of time, you may stop the debts from being certified.
2. Instruct the CP to inform CSS in writing when s/he receives a child support payment (including the fee deducted by the private agent) from the private agent, or when the arrears are paid-in-full, so that the CSS financial records on ORSIS may be adjusted. This will ensure accuracy of CSS records for tax certification and other enforcement actions. When adjusting the ORSIS records, make sure you give the NCP full credit for the payment, to include the amount of the fee deducted by the private agent.
3. If the case is an outgoing intergovernmental case, inform the responding state at least one time per year of any payments collected by the private agent so that the other state may adjust its records.
Non-Custodial Parent is the Applicant
If the NCP is the applicant on the case, you may not close the IV-D case at the request of the CP or the CP’s private agent. If the CP was at one time the applicant and closed the IV-D case, and later the NCP applied for IV-D services and became the applicant, enforce the child support obligation from the date of the NCP’s application forward. If arrearages are enforced, the NCP is subject to all IV-D enforcement remedies, including automated enforcement actions, arrears enforcement actions, and tax refund intercept.
If the NCP is a new applicant, tell him/her that applying for IV-D services may not prevent the private agent from taking concurrent enforcement action. Inform the CP that the IV-D case has been reopened because the NCP applied for services.
Satisfying Judgments on Private Agent Cases
If a CSS administrative or judicial judgment has been paid-in-full as a result of payments made directly to the CP or a private agent and the CP confirms in writing that the debt has been satisfied, satisfy the judgment.