CS 104P-1 Opening a IV-A Support Follows the Child Case
01/24/01 Revised 06/29/16 Training Completed 07/13/16
If a child support order establishes an obligation for one parent, but physical custody of the child (or all the children of the order if more than one child) has changed to the other parent or to a specified relative, and that individual is receiving IV-A assistance for the child(ren), take the steps listed below to open a case for the IV-A applicant/recipient and to determine if you can enforce the other parent's obligation without initiating legal action to modify the order.
1. Open the new case on ORSIS by making a referral through the PACMIS interim screens. The new case will show the individual who now has physical custody as the obligee, and the parent(s) who does not have physical custody as the obligor. On a specified relative case, open separate cases against each parent, even if the parents are living together.
2. Review the criteria for Support Follows the Child to decide if there is an enforceable support order.
a. The support order must be a Utah order or registered in a Utah court. Utah’s support follows the child statute does not apply to out-of-state orders.
i. If the IV-A case has an order from another state and both parties and the child (or children) reside in Utah, refer the case to the modification team. The modification worker will review using the criteria in CS 450P Review and Adjustment and refer the case to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) for registration and modification of the order if appropriate.
ii. If both parties do not reside in Utah, the laws of the issuing state will determine if the order can be enforced for the specified relative or if the order must be modified by the appropriate state.
b. The individual whom you will be enforcing against must be listed as a party (specifically named) in the action to establish the order.
EXAMPLE 1: A Utah divorce decree issued in 1999 lists “Jane Doe vs. John Doe” in the header. Sole legal custody was granted to the mother. The support follows the child statute may be applied to physical custody changes from May 1, 2000 forward, if the other criteria are met.
EXAMPLE 2: A Utah divorce decree issued in 1999 lists “Jane Doe vs. John Doe” in the header. Legal custody was not awarded. The support follows the child statute may be applied to physical custody changes from May 1 2000 forward, if the other criteria are met.
EXAMPLE 3: A Utah CSS administrative order issued in June 2000 header must states: “Office of Recovery Services/Child Support Services, Claimant, vs. Jane Doe, Respondent, John Doe, Respondent” in the header. The support follows the child statute may be applied to physical custody changes if the other criteria are met.
EXAMPLE 4: A Utah CSS administrative order issued at any time states “Office of Recovery Services/Child Support Services, Claimant, vs. John Doe, Respondent” in the header. The support follows the child statute may not be applied to collect support from the other parent if physical custody changes because the other parent is not specifically named as a party to the action.
NOTE: CSS administrative orders have different headers, depending on when they were issued. Be sure to review the order for the precise header in Example 3 above.
c. The underlying guideline worksheet to the Utah support order must list amounts that are greater than zero. If a worksheet does not exist, is unavailable, is pre-guideline, or the ordered amount is zero or deviated from the worksheet, the order will need to be modified. Refer the case to the modification team. The modification agent will make a determination consistent with CS 450P Review and Adjustment of Child Support Awards as to the temporary or long-term nature of the physical custody, and pursue a modification, if appropriate.
d. The physical custody arrangement of the child(ren) must be verified. Once the family has been found eligible for cash assistance, Medicaid, and/or child care, DWS has determined that the child (or all the children if more than one child) is living with the parent receiving cash assistance, Medicaid and/or child care. You may use this information to determine the physical location of the child(ren), and you may enforce against the parent(s) who does not have physical custody in a IV-A case without an “agreement” or confirmation of custody change form.
NOTE: In addition to the above criteria, the order can only be enforced by contempt if both parties were in fact served, were present in court, or were represented by legal counsel.
e. The support follows the child statute is not applicable in the following situations:
i. Sole custody was ordered and all of the children are not residing with one of the parents. The law only applies when all of the children are residing with one or the other parent. (Specified relative cases are an exception.) If physical custody of the children in the order is split between the parents on a IV-A case, refer the case to the modification team to obtain a modification based on a split-custody worksheet and the child support guidelines. Modification agents will make a determination consistent with CS 450P Review and Adjustment of Child Support Awards as to the temporary or long-term nature of the physical custody, and pursue a modification , if appropriate.
ii. Joint or split custody was ordered by the court in the most recent order.
A. “Joint physical custody” is when the order specifies that each parent has physical custody of the child(ren) for a certain number of overnights during the year and a joint custody worksheet was used. Support follows the child cannot be applied when a joint custody worksheet used.
B. “Joint legal custody” is the sharing of authority, responsibility and combined decision making by both parents in regard to the child(ren)’s welfare. It does not affect the child support or where the child(ren) will live. If an order mentions “joint custody” but a sole custody worksheet was used, it is considered to be a joint legal custody situation and not a joint physical custody case. Support follows the child can be applied to joint legal custody when a sole custody worksheet containing support amounts for both parents was used.
3. Determine the obligation amount. Use the amount listed on line 6 of the sole custody worksheet, or the amount from the low-income table, if appropriate, as the ordered child support obligation. If the child is with a specified relative and the order is for more than one child, prorate the support.
4. Add the obligation on ORSIS.
5. Send the “Notice of Child Support Obligation Due to Physical Custody Change” letter to the parent who has legal custody or previously had physical custody (the NCP on the new case). This letter includes the following information:
a. the statutory authority for support follows the child;
b. that CSS is providing child support services for the other parent or a specified relative;
c. the amount and beginning date of the obligated parent’s child support obligation;
d. the CSS payment address;
e. the process to contest the child support obligation; and,
f. a copy of the child support worksheet.
6. If there is an existing case on ORSIS charging current support for the same child(ren) based on a former custody arrangement, notify the post-order worker of the physical custody change.
7. Document in the case narratives the steps you take.
8. Complete Intake duties and transfer the case to the post-order team.
9. Post Order: Begin normal enforcement/collection actions.
10. The obligor/non-custodial parent may contest the child support on the new case. Any administrative review or adjudicative proceeding will be facilitated by the agents, senior agents, and Presiding Officers for the team where the case is assigned at the time of the review request.