CASE INITIATION

CS 104P-2 Opening a Support Follows the Child Case, Non-IV-A Application

New 05/17/04 Revised 06/29/16  Training Completed 07/13/16

U.C.A. 78B-12-102, 78B-12-108, 78B-12-205, 78B-12-206, and 78B-12-212

 

 

If a child support order establishes an obligation for one parent, and 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 has applied for Non-IV-A services, take the steps listed below to open a case for the Non-IV-A applicant 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 with 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.  The Non-IV-A parents will need to resolve the custody and support issues with the courts in 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 is not addressed.  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 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.  The parent or specified relative requesting the enforcement must provide the worksheet, or obtain it from the court.  If the ordered amount is zero, pre-guideline or deviated from the worksheet, take the following steps.

i.                     Do not pursue a modification further on a Non-IV-A case due to a change in physical custody unless both parents are willing to stipulate to a modification of the order in accordance with current child support guideline amounts. 

ii.                   If the parents are not willing to stipulate, inform the applicant that any modification of the order will need to be initiated privately by the parties.  If the applicant does not provide proof of a new order or that a judicial action has been commenced within 30 days, pend the case for closure.  You may reinstate the case at a later date should the applicant provide an enforceable order.

d.                  The physical custody arrangement of the child(ren) must be verified.  The parties must be in agreement that physical custody of the child (or all the children if more than one child) has changed, and that the change was voluntary on the part of the parent with legal custody.

i.                     Legal custody has been determined: 

A.                  If the parent with legal custody of the child(ren) has completed the “Confirmation of Voluntary Custody Change Letter and Form” e.g., for an existing CSS case, it is not necessary to contact the individual again.  

B.                  If the parent with legal custody of the child is located, contact that individual and determine if s/he agrees that physical custody of the child(ren) has changed and changed voluntarily, and is not simply the NCP exercising extended parent-time.   

C.                  If the parent with legal custody has not been located, proceed to open the case and refer it to the appropriate team.  Once the parent has been located, that team will need to contact the parent.

D.                  Custody will be considered to be in dispute if the parent with legal custody:

(a)                disagrees that physical custody has changed; or

(b)               agrees that physical custody has changed, but not with his/her consent.

(i)                  Inform the individual alleging physical custody that you cannot enforce the obligation of the parent(s) who does not have physical custody until the custody issue is resolved in court. 

(ii)                Pend the case for closure. 

(iii)               Send the applicant the closure letter and inform the applicant that s/he may reapply for services when a court determines custody and a new support order and worksheet are obtained.

ii.                   Legal custody has NOT been determined:

A.                  If the parent who no longer has physical custody of the child(ren) has completed the “Confirmation of Physical Custody Change Letter and Form,” e.g., for an existing CSS case, it is not necessary to contact the individual again.  

B.                  If the parent who no longer has physical custody of the child is located, contact that individual and determine if s/he agrees that physical custody of the child(ren) has changed. 

C.                  If the parent who no longer has physical custody has not been located, proceed to open the case and refer it to the appropriate team.  Once the parent has been located, that team will need to contact the parent.  

D.                  Custody will be considered to be in dispute if the parent who no longer has physical custody disagrees that physical custody has changed.

(a)                Inform the individual alleging physical custody that you cannot enforce the obligation of the parent(s) who does not have physical custody until the custody issue is resolved in court. 

(b)               Pend the case for closure. 

(c)                Send the applicant the closure letter and inform the applicant that s/he may reapply for services when a court determines custody and a new support order and worksheet are obtained.

 

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, take the following steps. 

A.                  If the order provides for extended parent-time or the parents sign a written extended parent-time agreement, a partial reduction in the support obligation for the child(ren) living with the non-custodial parent (NCP) may be granted under U.C.A.78B-12-216. 

B.                  If the parents cannot agree that extended parent-time applies, ask if they are willing to stipulate to a modification of the support order to change legal custody and their support obligations in accordance with the split custody worksheet and the child support guidelines.  If they are willing to stipulate, refer the case to the AGO for a modification of the order. 

C.                  If the parents are not willing to stipulate, they may pursue a modification on their own.  Until/unless the order is modified, the current order remains in effect.

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 percentage of time 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 does not have physical custody (the obligor 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; the CSS payment address;

d.                  the process to contest the child support obligation; and,

e.                  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/NCP 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.