CS 154P-1 DCO Procedures – Initial Review

01/31/02 Revised 08/05/08 Training Completed 04/11/07

UCA 62A-11-304.2(3)(b), 63-46b-3(3), and 78B-14-207; P.L. 103-383, 18 U.S.C. 1151 and 28 U.S.C. 1738B


Stages of the Controlling Order Determination


A controlling order determination (DCO) is an adjudicative process resulting in an order that determines which of two or more support orders is the controlling order. The process may only be conducted by an authorized tribunal which has personal jurisdiction over both the non-custodial parent (NCP) and the custodial parent (CP).  For Utah to conduct a DCO, one of the following situations must occur.  The NCP and the CP must both live in Utah (in-state case); or, the NCP lives in Utah and the CP lives in another state, but  has submitted to Utah’s jurisdiction by requesting a UIFSA action such as enforcement, modification, etc. (incoming interstate case from CP’s state).  Prior to the DCO proceeding, which begins with legal notice to all interested parties, there will usually be an “initial review” for temporary enforcement purposes and a “preliminary determination” for purposes of preparing the legal notice.  After the parties have been served the tribunal will review all information and issue an order that specifies the “final determination,” after which that order will control the child support obligation prospectively.  The stages are listed below:


1.                  Initial Review – This stage includes an initial review of the orders and an informal identification of the order that appears most likely to be the controlling order.  This order will be used for temporary enforcement purposes. 


2.                  Preliminary Determination – In this stage, copies of all orders and payment records are obtained, all of the orders and payment records are reviewed thoroughly, a determination of the “alleged” (when Utah has jurisdiction) or “presumed” (when another state has jurisdiction) controlling order is made, a preliminary arrears balance is calculated, and the parties are all notified of the results. 


If Utah has jurisdiction, this step can be conducted administratively or judicially.  If it is conducted administratively, the steps will be completed by a CSS Senior Agent and the parties will be notified by “Notice of Agency Action:  Determination of Controlling Order and Reconciliation of Arrears.”  If it is conducted judicially, the responsible CSS Senior Agent will gather the information, determine an “alleged” controlling order, and forward all of the information to the AGO to prepare the legal notice and pursue the final determination in court.   


If Utah does not have jurisdiction, the CSS agent assigned to the case will forward the information to the IV-D agency in the state that has jurisdiction over the parties.  That state will notify the parties, conduct a DCO proceeding, and issue a final determination of controlling order.  


3.                  Final Determination – This is the last step in determining the controlling order.  After all of the parties have been notified of the process and given an opportunity to respond, and all orders have been reviewed by the appropriate tribunal in accordance with U.C.A 78G-14-207 and 78G-14-305, a final order is issued which determines the child support order that will be recognized for prospective enforcement and establishes a sum-certain judgment of the reconciled arrears balance. 


Procedures:  Initial Review


The initial review is completed by the responsible CSS Senior Agent. These steps might be completed by any CSS Senior Agent, depending on where the case is assigned, when multiple orders are discovered due to reviewing an existing case, opening a new case, or receiving new case information.


1.                  Gather information on orders that potentially qualify for controlling order status for this family.  To identify and determine if there are multiple orders, you must review the following:

a.                   application/referral for services – if appropriate, review the application to see if the applicant has identified any orders;

b.                  interstate transmittal – if appropriate, review the information received from the other state to see if that state has identified any orders;

c.                   case file – review the case file to see if:

i.                     Utah has issued an order(s), or

ii.                   there are copies of other state’s order(s);

d.                  Federal Case Registry (FCR) viewable on the 231 Federal Case Registry Summary screen.   – if you have information listed on the FCR screen, you may use that information to send a Case Status Inquiry request to the appropriate state; and,

e.                   NCP and CP – this may include but is not limited to the following:

i.                     case narratives;

ii.                   personal conversations;

iii.                  written correspondence.


NOTE:  You are only responsible for conducting an initial review at this stage, based upon all of the information available to you; however, you must check all the sources identified above to determine if there are any other existing orders. 


2.                  Identify and list all existing orders for this family.  Determine if there are multiple orders for this family. 

a.                   None – If there is no order for this case, establish an order.  Refer the case to the pre-order team. 

b.                  One – If there is only one order, recognize and enforce that order until/unless you receive notice of multiple orders.  No further action is required to officially recognize the one existing order as the controlling order.

c.                   Multiple orders – Based on the information currently available to you, complete the initial review and make an informal identification of the controlling order.  Prepare a “Presumed or Alleged Controlling Order Worksheet” to maintain in the case file as supporting documentation for which order appears to be the controlling order. 

i.                     If a support order appears to be the controlling order, add this current support amount to ORSIS.    

ii.                   If no support order meets the controlling order criteria, complete the DCO process.  Once the DCO has been completed, the Senior Agent will end all the current support debts on ORSIS. 


3.                  Decide if a formal DCO will be pursued at this time.  While UIFSA requires that a formal DCO be completed whenever multiple orders exist, it is not practical to implement UIFSA 2001 and complete this process on all existing cases at the same time.  For this reason, CSS will gradually implement the UIFSA 2001 procedures by placing a priority on pursuing a formal DCO in the following situations as they arise:

a.                   the initial review indicates that no existing order qualifies as the controlling order;

b.                  new incoming interstate cases with multiple orders;

c.                   new in-state cases with multiple orders;

d.                  a case with multiple orders is being referred to another state for a two-state action;

e.                   prior to registering an order (on a case with multiple orders) in a Utah court;

f.                    prior to a modification (on a case with multiple orders);

g.                   prior to judicial enforcement action (on a case with multiple orders); and,

h.                   an NCP contests the arrears balance or ongoing support amount on a case with multiple orders. 


5.                  If a formal DCO will be pursued, determine the appropriate jurisdiction for the DCO.  Determine if Utah has jurisdiction to conduct a DCO adjudicative proceeding.   U.C.A 78G-14-207 (3) states:  “If two or more child support orders have been issued for the same obligor and same child, upon request of a party who is an individual or a support-enforcement agency, a tribunal of this state having personal jurisdiction over both the obligor and the obligee who is an individual shall determine which order controls under Subsection (2). . .”


Personal jurisdiction is obtained by both parties residing in the state or by having personal jurisdiction over one party and a request from the non-resident party or an interstate referral from a support enforcement agency.

a.                   Jurisdiction – If Utah has DCO jurisdiction, Utah will conduct the review.

b.                  No jurisdiction –If Utah does not have DCO jurisdiction,, another state, with jurisdiction, will conduct the review.