ENFORCEMENT OF SUPPORT OBLIGATION

CS 812P Duration of Child Support Judgments

10/85 Revised 08/05/15 Training Completed 08/14/12

U.C.A. 15-2-1, 62A-11-303(5)(a)&(b); 304.1, 312.5, 401(3)&(4), 78B-2-104, 112, 311, 78B-5-202, 78B-12-102(6)(a)&(b)(7)&(8), 78B-12-112, 78B-14-604

 

 

The Office of Recovery Services/Child Support Services (ORS/CSS) attempts to collect past-due support that may be owed to the family, the state of Utah, or another state.  CSS enforcement efforts may continue until the appropriate provision in the duration of judgments statute expires.

 

 

Statutory Authority

 

Utah Code Annotated (UCA) 78B-5-202(6) governs how long both sum-certain judgments and monthly judgments that accrue under support orders may be enforced. It reads as follows:

     “(6) (a) A child support order or a sum certain judgment for past due support may be enforced:
     (i) within four years after the date the youngest child reaches majority; or
     (ii) eight years from the date of entry of the sum certain judgment entered by a tribunal.
     (b) The longer period of duration shall apply in every order.
     (c) A sum certain judgment may be renewed to extend the duration.”  (Emphasis added.)

 

 

Definitions

 

1.                   “Child” and age of a child’s majority:  Per UCA 62A-11-303(5), a child is defined as:

“(a) a son or daughter under the age of 18 years who is not otherwise emancipated, self-supporting, married, or a member of the armed forces of the United States;

(b) a son or daughter over the age of 18 years, while enrolled in high school during the normal and expected year of graduation and not otherwise emancipated, self-supporting, married, or a member of the armed forces of the United States . . . ”.  See also UCA 15-2-1 and 78B-12-112 (6)(a)&(b).

 

2.                   “Sum certain judgment”:  A monetary obligation for a specific amount and/or time period that is awarded by a court or an administrative body.

 

3.                   “Monthly Judgments” Accruing Under a support Order (AUO):  Per UCA 78B-12-112 and 62A-11-312.5:

“(3) Each payment or installment of child or spousal support under any child support order, as defined by Section 78B-12-202, is, on and after the date it is due:

(a) a judgment with the same attributes and effect of any judgment of a district court. . .”.

 

 

Procedures

 

When the child that is emancipating is the youngest child in the order, review the case for duration of judgments and apply the appropriate duration of judgments statute. In all cases, consider the laws of the state that issued the controlling order and the laws of the state that is enforcing the controlling order.  Compare the laws of each state using the information below.   

 

1.                   Prior to May 1, 2000, a statute of limitations limited enforcement on both sum-certain and monthly judgments older than eight years in Utah orders.  Any arrears due and owing in such judgments and support orders prior to May 1, 1992 were subject to the eight-year statute and expired on May 1, 2000 if they were more than eight-years old and had not been renewed.

 

2.                   On May 1, 2000, new wording was added to UCA 78B-5-202 to allow enforcement on all child support judgments that had not previously expired until “four years after the date the youngest child reaches majority.”  Old wording continued in the statute that allowed enforcement for up to eight years for sum-certain judgments.  Monthly judgments for child support that accrued under Utah support orders and became due between May 1, 1992 and May 1, 2000, and sum-certain judgments taken during this time period (because they were less than eight years old), became subject to both the new and the old wording in the statute, and could therefore be enforced until age of majority plus four years, or longer if the eight-year period for the sum-certain judgment would be a later date.

 

3.                   On May 5, 2003, wording in UCA 78B-5-202(6) was clarified to make it more explicit that sum certain judgments for child support are enforceable either within eight years from the date of entry of the sum certain judgment entered by a tribunal or until four years after the date the youngest child reaches majority, and that “. . . the longer period of duration shall apply in every order. . .” (UCA 78B-5-202(6)(b)).  Therefore, any arrears reduced to sum certain judgment on or after May 1, 1992 are subject to this statute and can be enforced until majority plus four years or until eight years after the date of the judgment, whichever is longer.     

 

EXAMPLE:  A Utah divorce decree signed January 1, 1985 orders $100 per month in child support.  The custodial parent (CP) obtains a sum certain judgment for her arrears of $9,200 on June 1, 2000 that covers from May 1, 1992 until December 31, 1999.  The child turns 18 on December 31, 2000.  The arrears have accrued and will expire as follows:

 

Dates

Amount

Expires

Reason

01/01/1985 to 04/30/1992

$8,800

12/31/2004 (5/31/2005)

Majority plus four years

05/01/1992 to 12/31/1999

$9,200

06/01/2008

Eight-year duration of sum certain judgment

01/01/2000 to 12/31/2000

$1,200

12/31/2004

(5/31/2005)

Majority plus four years

 

4.                   If another state issued the controlling order, compare the laws of the enforcing state to the laws of the issuing state.  Per UCA 78B-14-604, “In a proceeding for arrearages, the statute of limitation under the laws of this state or of the issuing state, whichever is longer, applies.”  Continue to enforce the arrears that have accrued under that order until the applicable expiration date. 

 

EXAMPLE:  When reviewing a case, you find that California issued the controlling order.  California does not have a statute of limitations on the enforcement of child support arrears, so arrears can be collected longer under California law than under Utah law.  Continue to collect on the case until the debt has been paid in full.

 

 

Procedures – Prior to Arrears Expiring

 

Review the case for arrears pay-off in full before the duration of judgments period expires by taking the steps listed below.

 

1.                   Consider if the arrears on the case will be paid in full at the current rate of withholding or personal payments.

 

2.                   Initiate additional appropriate enforcement activities to ensure that the arrears will be paid in full.  Consider all available enforcement tools. 

 

3.                   Establish and monitor appropriate “call-ups.”

a.                   Monitor cases with children between 18 and 21-years-old to periodically review progress on case pay-off.

b.                  Monitor cases with children over age 22 to determine if the arrears (or a portion of the arrears) expire.

 

 

Procedures – After Arrears Have Expired

 

When the arrears expire per the controlling order’s duration of judgments statute, take the steps listed below.

 

1.                   Review the following exceptions that may allow CSS to continue collecting:

a.                   If a non-custodial parent (NCP) has filed bankruptcy and you are receiving payments from the bankruptcy court, you may continue to receive the payments even if the duration of judgments has expired. 

b.                  Criminal restitution orders are not bound by the duration of judgment statute and instead are collected under the Criminal Judgment Accounts Receivable statute located at UCA 76-3-201.1.

c.                   U.C.A. 78B-2-104 states,

“If a cause of action accrues against a person while the person is out of the state and the person is not subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state in accordance with Section 78B-3-205, the action may be commenced within the term as limited by this chapter after his return to the state. If after a cause of action accrues the person departs from the state, the time of his absence is not part of the time limited for the commencement of the action unless Section 78B-3-205 applies.” 

 

The courts have ruled that this does not apply to a case in which CSS (in a IV-A case) or the Non-IV-A CP knows where the NCP is living in the other state.  If the NCP leaves Utah and his/her place of residence is unknown, extend the statute of limitations time period for the arrears debt that you are enforcing.  You must be able to document the specific time periods the NCP lived outside of Utah before you can extend the duration of judgments period.

d.                  If the duration of judgments statute has expired, but the NCP contacts you and is willing to continue to pay on a voluntary basis (no enforcement tools involved), you may keep the case open to receive and distribute payments. 

 

2.                   Determine portion of arrears that expire.

a.                   If only a portion of the arrears expire (e.g. the “accrued under order” debt expires at majority plus four years, but a sum certain judgment still has time remaining under the eight-year duration of judgments),

i.                     Adjust the expired debt balance to zero;

ii.                   Review the remaining debt to ensure balance will be paid in full before duration of judgments expires; and,

iii.                  Continue to monitor and set self-alerts for next applicable arrears expiration.

b.                  If all arrears expire,

i.                     Terminate income withholding;

ii.                   Terminate all enforcement actions (manual or automated);

iii.                  Pend the case for closure.  When the case is closed, ORSIS will automatically end all obligations and debts on the case; and,

iv.                 Generate and mail the “60-day Closure Notice” to the CP. 

 

 

CIC Cases Only:  Child Reaching the Age of Majority Plus Four Years

 

Pursuant to UCA 78B-2-311, UCA, collection of child support arrearages ends when the youngest child reaches the age of majority plus four years.  ORS/CIC is not taking the position that the respondent(s) no longer owes the arrears when the duration of judgments time period has passed, only that ORS/CIC does not provide enforcement or income withholding services for the State to collect the arrears.