Law:Title 5. The Parent-child Relationship And The Suit Affecting The Parent-child Relationship. Subtitle D. Administrative Services (Texas)

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Subtitle D. Administrative Services

Contents

Chapter 231. Title Iv-d Services

Subchapter A. Administration Of Title Iv-d Program

Section  231.001.  Designation Of Title Iv-d Agency.

The office of the attorney general is designated as the state's Title IV-D agency.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  231.0011.  Development Of Statewide Integrated System For Child Support And Medical Support Enforcement.

(a) The Title IV-D agency shall have final approval authority on any contract or proposal for delivery of Title IV-D services under this section and in coordination with the Texas Judicial Council, the Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System, the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, and state, county, and local officials, shall develop and implement a statewide integrated system for child support and medical support enforcement, employing federal, state, local, and private resources to:

(1)  unify child support registry functions;

(2)  record and track all child support orders entered in the state;

(3)  establish an automated enforcement process which will use delinquency monitoring, billing, and other enforcement techniques to ensure the payment of current support;

(4)  incorporate existing enforcement resources into the system to obtain maximum benefit from state and federal funding; and

(5)  ensure accountability for all participants in the process, including state, county, and local officials, private contractors, and the judiciary.

(b)  Counties and other providers of child support services shall be required, as a condition of participation in the unified system, to enter into a contract with the Title IV-D agency, to comply with all federal requirements for the Title IV-D program, and to maintain at least the current level of funding for activities which are proposed to be included in the integrated child support system.

(c)  The Title IV-D agency may contract with any county meeting technical system requirements necessary to comply with federal law for provision of Title IV-D services in that county. All new cases in which support orders are entered in such county after the effective date of a monitoring contract shall be Title IV-D cases. Any other case in the county, subject to federal requirements and the agreement of the county and the Title IV-D agency, may be included as a Title IV-D case. Any obligee under a support order may refuse Title IV-D enforcement services unless required to accept such services pursuant to other law.

(d)  Counties participating in the unified enforcement system shall monitor all child support registry cases and on delinquency may, subject to the approval of the Title IV-D agency, provide enforcement services through:

(1)  direct provision of services by county personnel;

(2)  subcontracting all or portions of the services to private entities or attorneys; or

(3)  such other methods as may be approved by the Title IV-D agency.

(e)  The Title IV-D agency may phase in the integrated child support registry and enforcement system, and the requirement to implement the system shall be contingent on the receipt of locally generated funds and federal reimbursement. Locally generated funds include but are not limited to funds contributed by counties and cities.

(f)  The Title IV-D agency shall adopt rules to implement this section.

(g)  Participation in the statewide integrated system for child support and medical support enforcement by a county is voluntary, and nothing in this section shall be construed to mandate participation.

(h)  This section does not limit the ability of the Title IV-D agency to enter into an agreement with a county for the provision of services as authorized under Section 231.002.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 702, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 50, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  231.0012.  Child Support Enforcement Management.

The person appointed by the attorney general as the person responsible for managing the Title IV-D agency's child support enforcement duties shall report directly to the attorney general.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  231.0013.  Dedication Of Funds.

Appropriations made to the Title IV-D agency for child support enforcement may be expended only for the purposes for which the money was appropriated.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  231.002.  Powers And Duties.

(a) The Title IV-D agency may:

(1)  accept, transfer, and expend funds, subject to the General Appropriations Act, made available by the federal or state government or by another public or private source for the purpose of carrying out this chapter;

(2)  adopt rules for the provision of child support services;

(3)  initiate legal actions needed to implement this chapter; and

(4)  enter into contracts or agreements necessary to administer this chapter.

(b)  The Title IV-D agency may perform the duties and functions necessary for locating children under agreements with the federal government as provided by 42 U.S.C. Section 663.

(c)  The Title IV-D agency may enter into agreements or contracts with federal, state, or other public or private agencies or individuals for the purpose of carrying out the agency's responsibilities under federal or state law. The agreements or contracts between the agency and other state agencies or political subdivisions of this or another state, including a consortia of multiple states, and agreements or contracts with vendors for the delivery of program services are not subject to Chapter 771 or 783, Government Code.

(d)  Consistent with federal law and any international treaty or convention to which the United States is a party and that has been ratified by the United States Congress, the Title IV-D agency may:

(1)  on approval by and in cooperation with the governor, pursue negotiations and enter into reciprocal arrangements with the federal government, another state, or a foreign country or a political subdivision of the federal government, state, or foreign country to:

(A)  establish and enforce child support obligations; and

(B)  establish mechanisms to enforce an order providing for possession of or access to a child rendered under Chapter 153;

(2)  spend money appropriated to the agency for child support enforcement to engage in international child support enforcement; and

(3)  spend other money appropriated to the agency necessary for the agency to conduct the agency's activities under Subdivision (1).

(e)  The Title IV-D agency may take the following administrative actions with respect to the location of a parent, the determination of parentage, and the establishment, modification, and enforcement of child support and medical support orders required by 42 U.S.C. Section 666(c), without obtaining an order from any other judicial or administrative tribunal:

(1)  issue an administrative subpoena, as provided by Section 231.303, to obtain financial or other information;

(2)  order genetic testing for parentage determination, as provided by Chapter 233;

(3)  order income withholding, as provided by Chapter 233, and issue an administrative writ of withholding, as provided by Chapter 158; and

(4)  take any action with respect to execution, collection, and release of a judgment or lien for child support necessary to satisfy the judgment or lien, as provided by Chapter 157.

(f)  The Title IV-D agency shall recognize and enforce the authority of the Title IV-D agency of another state to take actions similar to the actions listed in this section.

(g)  The Title IV-D agency shall develop and use procedures for the administrative enforcement of interstate cases meeting the requirements of 42 U.S.C. Section 666(a)(14) under which the agency:

(1)  shall promptly respond to a request made by another state for assistance in a Title IV-D case; and

(2)  may, by electronic or other means, transmit to another state a request for assistance in a Title IV-D case.

(h)  Repealed by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 164, Sec. 3, eff. May 26, 2009.

(i)  The Title IV-D agency may provide a release or satisfaction of a judgment for all or part of the amount of the arrearages assigned to the Title IV-D agency under Section 231.104(a).

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 874, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 68, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 6.27, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 310, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 164, Sec. 3, eff. May 26, 2009.



Section  231.003.  Forms And Procedures.

The Title IV-D agency shall by rule promulgate any forms and procedures necessary to comply fully with the intent of this chapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  231.005.  Biennial Report Required.

(a) The Title IV-D agency shall report to the legislature each biennium on:

(1)  the effectiveness of the agency's child support enforcement activity in reducing the state's public assistance obligations;

(2)  the use and effectiveness of all enforcement tools authorized by state or federal law or otherwise available to the agency; and

(3)  the progress and impact of the Title IV-D agency's efforts to use private contractors to perform Title IV-D program functions.

(b)  The agency shall develop a method for estimating the costs and benefits of the child support enforcement program and the effect of the program on appropriations for public assistance.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  231.006.  Ineligibility To Receive State Grants Or Loans Or Receive Payment On State Contracts.

(a) A child support obligor who is more than 30 days delinquent in paying child support and a business entity in which the obligor is a sole proprietor, partner, shareholder, or owner with an ownership interest of at least 25 percent is not eligible to:

(1)  receive payments from state funds under a contract to provide property, materials, or services; or

(2)  receive a state-funded grant or loan.

(a-1)  Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 972, Sec. 65(1), eff. September 1, 2007.

(b)  A child support obligor or business entity ineligible to receive payments under Subsection (a) remains ineligible until:

(1)  all arrearages have been paid;

(2)  the obligor is in compliance with a written repayment agreement or court order as to any existing delinquency; or

(3)  the court of continuing jurisdiction over the child support order has granted the obligor an exemption from Subsection (a) as part of a court-supervised effort to improve earnings and child support payments.

(c)  A bid or an application for a contract, grant, or loan paid from state funds must include the name and social security number of the individual or sole proprietor and each partner, shareholder, or owner with an ownership interest of at least 25 percent of the business entity submitting the bid or application.

(d)  A contract, bid, or application subject to the requirements of this section must include the following statement:

"Under Section 231.006, Family Code, the vendor or applicant certifies that the individual or business entity named in this contract, bid, or application is not ineligible to receive the specified grant, loan, or payment and acknowledges that this contract may be terminated and payment may be withheld if this certification is inaccurate."

(e)  If a state agency determines that an individual or business entity holding a state contract is ineligible to receive payment under Subsection (a), the contract may be terminated.

(f)  If the certificate required under Subsection (d) is shown to be false, the vendor is liable to the state for attorney's fees, the costs necessary to complete the contract, including the cost of advertising and awarding a second contract, and any other damages provided by law or contract.

(g)  This section does not create a cause of action to contest a bid or award of a state grant, loan, or contract. This section does not impose a duty on the Title IV-D agency to collect information to send to the comptroller to withhold a payment to a business entity. The Title IV-D agency and other affected agencies are encouraged to develop a system by which the Title IV-D agency may identify a business entity that is ineligible to receive a state payment under Subsection (a) and to ensure that a state payment to the entity is not made. This system should be implemented using existing funds and only if the Title IV-D agency, comptroller, and other affected agencies determine that it will be cost-effective.

(h)  This section does not apply to a contract between governmental entities.

(i)  The Title IV-D agency may adopt rules or prescribe forms to implement any provision of this section.

(j)  A state agency may accept a bid that does not include the information required under Subsection (c) if the state agency collects the information before the contract, grant, or loan is executed.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 82, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 28, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 437, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1015, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 972, Sec. 45, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 972, Sec. 65(1), eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  231.007.  Debts To State.

(a) A person obligated to pay child support in a case in which the Title IV-D agency is providing services under this chapter who does not pay the required support is indebted to the state for the purposes of Section 403.055, Government Code, if the Title IV-D agency has reported the person to the comptroller under that section properly.

(b)  The amount of a person's indebtedness to the state under Subsection (a) is equal to the sum of:

(1)  the amount of the required child support that has not been paid; and

(2)  any interest, fees, court costs, or other amounts owed by the person because the person has not paid the support.

(c)  The Title IV-D agency is the sole assignee of all payments, including payments of compensation, by the state to a person indebted to the state under Subsection (a).

(d)  On request of the Title IV-D agency:

(1)  the comptroller shall make payable and deliver to the agency any payments for which the agency is the assignee under Subsection (c), if the comptroller is responsible for issuing warrants or initiating electronic funds transfers to make those payments; and

(2)  a state agency shall make payable and deliver to the Title IV-D agency any payments for which the Title IV-D agency is the assignee under Subsection (c) if the comptroller is not responsible for issuing warrants or initiating electronic funds transfers to make those payments.

(e)  A person indebted to the state under Subsection (a) may eliminate the debt by:

(1)  paying the entire amount of the debt; or

(2)  resolving the debt in a manner acceptable to the Title IV-D agency.

(f)  The comptroller or a state agency may rely on a representation by the Title IV-D agency that:

(1)  a person is indebted to the state under Subsection (a); or

(2)  a person who was indebted to the state under Subsection (a) has eliminated the debt.

(g)  Except as provided by Subsection (h), the payment of workers' compensation benefits to a person indebted to the state under Subsection (a) is the same for the purposes of this section as any other payment made to the person by the state. Notwithstanding Section 408.203, Labor Code, an order or writ to withhold income from workers' compensation benefits is not required before the benefits are withheld or assigned under this section.

(h)  The amount of weekly workers' compensation benefits that may be withheld or assigned under this section may not exceed 50 percent of the person's weekly compensation benefits. The comptroller or a state agency may rely on a representation by the Title IV-D agency that a withholding or assignment under this section would not violate this subsection.

(i)  Section 403.055(d), Government Code, does not authorize the comptroller to issue a warrant or initiate an electronic funds transfer to pay the compensation or remuneration of an individual who is indebted to the state under Subsection (a).

(j)  Section 2107.008(h), Government Code, does not authorize a state agency to pay the compensation or remuneration of an individual who is indebted to the state under Subsection (a).

(k)  In this section, "compensation," "state agency," and "state officer or employee" have the meanings assigned by Section 403.055, Government Code.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 83, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.19, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1467, Sec. 1.07, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1158, Sec. 6, eff. June 15, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  231.008.  Disposition Of Funds.

(a) The Title IV-D agency shall deposit money received under assignments or as fees in a special fund in the state treasury. The agency may spend money in the fund for the administration of this chapter, subject to the General Appropriations Act.

(b)  All other money received under this chapter shall be deposited in a special fund in the state treasury.

(c)  Sections 403.094 and 403.095, Government Code, do not apply to a fund described by this section.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  231.009.  Payment Of Penalties. Fro

m funds appropriated for the Title IV-D agency, the agency shall reimburse the Texas Department of Human Services for any penalty assessed under Title IV-A of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.) that is assessed because of the agency's administration of this chapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  231.010.  Cooperation With Department Of Protective And Regulatory Services.

(a) In this section, "department" means the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.

(b)  To the extent possible, the Title IV-D agency shall:

(1)  provide to the department access to all of the Title IV-D agency's available child support locating resources;

(2)  allow the department to use the Title IV-D agency's child support enforcement system to track child support payments and to have access to the agency's management reports that show payments made;

(3)  make reports on Title IV-E, Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 670 et seq.), foster care collections available to the department in a timely manner; and

(4)  work with the department to obtain child support payments for protective services cases in which the department is responsible for providing care for children under temporary and final orders.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 228, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Renumbered from Family Code Sec. 231.011 by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1275, Sec. 2(53), eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section 231.012.  Child Support Work Group.

(a) The director of the Title IV-D agency may convene a work group representing public and private entities with an interest in child support enforcement in this state to work with the director in developing strategies to improve child support enforcement in this state.

(b)  The director of the Title IV-D agency shall appoint the members of the work group after consulting with appropriate public and private entities.

(c)  The work group shall meet as convened by the director of the Title IV-D agency and consult with the director on matters relating to child support enforcement in this state, including the delivery of Title IV-D services.

(d)  A work group member or the member's designee may not receive compensation but is entitled to reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses incurred in performing the member's duties under this section.

(e)  The work group is not an advisory committee as defined by Section 2110.001, Government Code. Chapter 2110, Government Code, does not apply to the work group.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1258, Sec. 25, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 972, Sec. 46, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 972, Sec. 47, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  231.013.  Information Resources Steering Committee.

(a) The Title IV-D agency shall create an information resources steering committee to:

(1)  oversee information resource project development for the Title IV-D agency;

(2)  make strategic prioritization recommendations;

(3)  facilitate development of accurate information for the director of the Title IV-D agency; and

(4)  perform other functions as determined by the director of the Title IV-D agency.

(b)  The steering committee must include a senior management executive representing each significant function of the Title IV-D agency. The steering committee may include a person representing:

(1)  counties; or

(2)  a vendor contracting with the Title IV-D agency.

(c)  The director of the Title IV-D agency shall appoint the members of the steering committee after consulting with the Department of Information Resources.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  231.014.  Personnel.

The director of the Title IV-D agency shall provide to the employees of the Title IV-D agency, as often as necessary, information regarding the requirements for employment under this title, including information regarding a person's responsibilities under applicable laws relating to standards of conduct for state employees.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section 231.015.  Insurance Reporting Program.

(a) In consultation with the Texas Department of Insurance and representatives of the insurance industry in this state, including insurance trade associations, the Title IV-D agency by rule shall operate a program to improve the enforcement of child support, including the use of child support liens under Chapter 157.  The program shall provide for procedures, including data matches, under which insurance companies shall cooperate with the Title IV-D agency in identifying obligors who owe child support arrearages or who are subject to liens for child support arrearages to intercept certain liability insurance settlements or awards for claims in satisfaction of the arrearage amounts.

(b)  An insurance company that provides information or responds to a notice of child support lien or levy under Subchapter G, Chapter 157, or acts in good faith to comply with procedures established by the Title IV-D agency under this section is not liable for those acts under any law to any person.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1023, Sec. 52, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 767, Sec. 27, eff. June 19, 2009.



Subchapter B. Services Provided By Title Iv-d Program

Section  231.101.  Title Iv-d Child Support Services. (a

) The Title IV-D agency may provide all services required or authorized to be provided by Part D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.), including:

(1)  parent locator services;

(2)  paternity determination;

(3)  child support and medical support establishment;

(4)  review and adjustment of child support orders;

(5)  enforcement of child support and medical support orders; and

(6)  collection and distribution of child support payments.

(b)  At the request of either the obligee or obligor, the Title IV-D agency shall review a child support order once every three years and, if appropriate, adjust the support amount to meet the requirements of the child support guidelines under Chapter 154.

(c)  Except as notice is included in the child support order, a party subject to a support order shall be provided notice not less than once every three years of the party's right to request that the Title IV-D agency review and, if appropriate, adjust the amount of ordered support.

(d)  The Title IV-D agency may review a support order at any time on a showing of a material and substantial change in circumstances, taking into consideration the best interests of the child.

(e)  The Title IV-D agency shall distribute a child support payment received by the agency from an employer within two working days after the date the agency receives the payment.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 702, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 69, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 19.01(22), eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  231.102.  Eligibility For Child Support Services.

The Title IV-D agency on application or as otherwise authorized by law may provide services for the benefit of a child without regard to whether the child has received public assistance.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  231.103.  Application And Service Fees.

(a) The Title IV-D agency may:

(1)  charge a reasonable application fee;

(2)  charge a $25 annual service fee; and

(3)  to the extent permitted by federal law, recover costs for the services provided in a Title IV-D case.

(b)  An application fee may not be charged in a case in which the Title IV-D agency provides services because the family receives public assistance.

(c)  An application fee may not exceed a maximum amount established by federal law.

(d)  Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 972, Sec. 65(3), eff. September 1, 2007.

(e)  The Title IV-D agency may impose and collect a fee as authorized by federal law for each request for parent locator services under Section 231.101(a).

(f)  The state disbursement unit established and operated by the Title IV-D agency under Chapter 234 may collect a monthly service fee of $3 in each case in which support payments are processed through the unit.

(g)  The Title IV-D agency by rule shall establish procedures for the imposition of fees and recovery of costs authorized under this section.

(g-1)  A fee authorized under this section for providing child support enforcement services is part of the child support obligation if the obligor is responsible for the fee, and may be enforced against the obligor through any method available for the enforcement of child support, including contempt.

(h)  The attorney general child support application and service fee account is an account in the general revenue fund in the state treasury. The account consists of all fees and costs collected under this section. The Title IV-D agency may only use the money in the account for agency program expenditures.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1262, Sec. 2, 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 972, Sec. 48, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 972, Sec. 65(3), eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  231.104.  Assignment Of Right To Support.

(a) To the extent authorized by federal law, the approval of an application for or the receipt of financial assistance as provided by Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, constitutes an assignment to the Title IV-D agency of any rights to support from any other person that the applicant or recipient may have personally or for a child for whom the applicant or recipient is claiming assistance.

(b)  An application for child support services is an assignment of support rights to enable the Title IV-D agency to establish and enforce child support and medical support obligations, but an assignment is not a condition of eligibility for services.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 70, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1023, Sec. 53, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, Sec. 14, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  231.105.  Notice Of Change Of Payee.

(a) Child support payments for the benefit of a child whose support rights have been assigned to the Title IV-D agency under Section 231.104 shall be made payable to the Title IV-D agency and transmitted to the state disbursement unit as provided by Chapter 234.

(b)  If a court has ordered support payments to be made to an applicant for or recipient of financial assistance or to an applicant for or recipient of Title IV-D services, the Title IV-D agency shall, on providing notice to the obligee and the obligor, direct the obligor or other payor to make support payments payable to the Title IV-D agency and to transmit the payments to the state disbursement unit. The Title IV-D agency shall file a copy of the notice with the court ordering the payments and with the child support registry. The notice must include:

(1)  a statement that the child is an applicant for or recipient of financial assistance, or a child other than a recipient child for whom Title IV-D services are provided;

(2)  the name of the child and the caretaker for whom support has been ordered by the court;

(3)  the style and cause number of the case in which support was ordered; and

(4)  instructions for the payment of ordered support to the agency.

(c)  On receipt of a copy of the notice under Subsection (b), the clerk of the court shall file the notice in the appropriate case file.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 71, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1023, Sec. 54, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section  231.106.  Notice Of Termination Of Assignment.

(a) On termination of support rights to the Title IV-D agency, the Title IV-D agency shall, after providing notice to the obligee and the obligor, send a notice of termination of assignment to the obligor or other payor, which may direct that all or a portion of the payments be made payable to the agency and to other persons who are entitled to receive the payments.

(b)  The Title IV-D agency shall send a copy of the notice of termination of assignment to the court ordering the support and to the child support registry, and on receipt of the notice the clerk of the court shall file the notice in the appropriate case file. The clerk may not require an order of the court to terminate the assignment and direct support payments to the person entitled to receive the payment.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 72, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 52, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  231.107.  Certificate Of Assignment Or Of Termination Of Assignment.

If an abstract of judgment or a child support lien on support amounts assigned to the Title IV-D agency under this chapter has previously been filed of record, the agency shall file for recordation, with the county clerk of each county in which such abstract or lien has been filed, a certificate that a notice of change of payee or a notice of termination of assignment has been issued by the agency.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 73, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  231.108.  Confidentiality Of Records And Privileged Communications.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (c), all files and records of services provided under this chapter, including information concerning a custodial parent, noncustodial parent, child, and an alleged or presumed father, are confidential.

(b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), all communications made by a recipient of financial assistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, or an applicant for or recipient of services under this chapter are privileged.

(c)  The Title IV-D agency may use or release information from the files and records, including information that results from a communication made by a recipient of financial assistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, or by an applicant for or recipient of services under this chapter, for purposes directly connected with the administration of the child support, paternity determination, parent locator, or aid to families with dependent children programs. The Title IV-D agency may release information from the files and records to a consumer reporting agency in accordance with Section 231.114.

(d)  The Title IV-D agency by rule may provide for the release of information to public officials.

(e)  The Title IV-D agency may not release information on the physical location of a person if:

(1)  a protective order has been entered with respect to the person; or

(2)  there is reason to believe that the release of information may result in physical or emotional harm to the person.

(f)  The Title IV-D agency, by rule, may provide for the release of information to persons for purposes not prohibited by federal law.

(g)  The final order in a suit adjudicating parentage is available for public inspection as provided by Section 160.633.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.08, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 74, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 53, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  231.109.  Attorneys Representing State.

(a) Attorneys employed by the Title IV-D agency may represent this state or another state in an action brought under the authority of federal law or this chapter.

(b)  The Title IV-D agency may contract with private attorneys, other private entities, or political subdivisions of the state to provide services in Title IV-D cases.

(c)  The Title IV-D agency shall provide copies of all contracts entered into under this section to the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor's Office of Budget and Planning, along with a written justification of the need for each contract, within 60 days after the execution of the contract.

(d)  An attorney employed to provide Title IV-D services represents the interest of the state and not the interest of any other party. The provision of services by an attorney under this chapter does not create an attorney-client relationship between the attorney and any other party. The agency shall, at the time an application for child support services is made, inform the applicant that neither the Title IV-D agency nor any attorney who provides services under this chapter is the applicant's attorney and that the attorney providing services under this chapter does not provide legal representation to the applicant.

(e)  An attorney employed by the Title IV-D agency or as otherwise provided by this chapter may not be appointed or act as an amicus attorney or attorney ad litem for a child or another party.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.02, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 172, Sec. 21, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section  231.110.  Authorization Of Service. The

provision of services by the Title IV-D agency under this chapter or Part D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.) does not authorize service on the agency of any legal notice that is required to be served on any party other than the agency.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  231.111.  Disqualification Of Agency. A C

ourt shall not disqualify the Title IV-D agency in a legal action filed under this chapter or Part D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.) on the basis that the agency has previously provided services to a party whose interests may now be adverse to the relief requested.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  231.112.  Information On Paternity Establishment.

On notification by the state registrar under Section 192.005(d), Health and Safety Code, that the items relating to the child's father are not completed on a birth certificate filed with the state registrar, the Title IV-D agency may provide to:

(1)  the child's mother and, if possible, the man claiming to be the child's biological father written information necessary for the man to complete an acknowledgment of paternity as provided by Chapter 160; and

(2)  the child's mother written information:

(A)  explaining the benefits of having the child's paternity established; and

(B)  regarding the availability of paternity establishment and child support enforcement services.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  231.113.  Enforcement Of Support Obligations In Public Assistance Cases.

To the extent possible, the Title IV-D agency shall enforce a child support obligation in a case involving a child who receives financial assistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, not later than the first anniversary of the date the agency receives from the Texas Department of Human Services the information the department is required to provide to assist in the enforcement of that obligation.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.03, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  231.114.  Reports Of Child Support Payments To Consumer Reporting Agencies.

(a) The Title IV-D agency shall make information available in accordance with this section to a consumer reporting agency regarding the amount of child support owed and the amount paid by an obligor in a Title IV-D case.

(b)  Before disclosing the information to consumer reporting agencies, the Title IV-D agency shall send the obligor a notice by mail to the obligor's last known address. The notice must include:

(1)  the information to be released, including the amount of the obligor's child support obligation and delinquency, if any, that will be reported;

(2)  the procedure available for the obligor to contest the accuracy of the information; and

(3)  a statement that the information will be released if the obligor fails to contest the disclosure before the 30th day after the date of mailing of the notice.

(c)  If the obligor does not contest the disclosure within the period specified by Subsection (b), the Title IV-D agency shall make the information available to the consumer reporting agency.

(d)  The Title IV-D agency shall regularly update the information released to a consumer reporting agency under this section to ensure the accuracy of the released information.

(e)  The Title IV-D agency may charge a consumer reporting agency a reasonable fee for making information available under this section, including all applicable mailing costs.

(f)  In this section:

(1)  "Consumer reporting agency" means any person that regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for monetary fees, for dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, to furnish consumer reports to third parties.

(2)  "Obligor" means any person required to make payments under the terms of a support order for a child.

(3)  "Title IV-D case" means a case in which services are being provided by the Title IV-D agency under Part D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.) seeking to locate an absent parent, determine parentage, or establish, modify, enforce, or monitor a child support obligation.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.03, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  231.115.  Noncooperation By Recipient Of Public Assistance.

(a) The failure by a person who is a recipient of public assistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, to provide accurate information as required by Section 31.0315, Human Resources Code, shall serve as the basis for a determination by the Title IV-D agency that the person did not cooperate with the Title IV-D agency.

(b)  The Title IV-D agency shall:

(1)  identify the actions or failures to act by a recipient of public assistance that constitute noncooperation with the Title IV-D agency;

(2)  adopt rules governing noncompliance; and

(3)  send noncompliance determinations to the Texas Department of Human Services for immediate imposition of sanctions.

(c)  In adopting rules under this section that establish the basis for determining that a person has failed to cooperate with the Title IV-D agency, the Title IV-D agency shall consider whether:

(1)  good cause exists for the failure to cooperate;

(2)  the person has failed to disclose the name and location of an alleged or probable parent of the child, if known by the person, at the time of applying for public assistance or at a subsequent time; and

(3)  the person named a man as the alleged father and the man was subsequently excluded by parentage testing as being the father if the person has previously named another man as the child's father.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 75, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  231.116.  Information On Internet.

The Title IV-D agency shall place on the Internet for public access child support information to assist the public in child support matters, including application forms, child support collection in other states, and profiles of certain obligors who are in arrears in paying child support.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 18, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  231.1165.  Information On Service Of Citation.

The Title IV-D agency shall update the agency's child support automated system to inform the parties in a suit of the service of citation in the suit not later than the first business day after the date the agency receives notice that citation has been served. The information required by this section must be available by telephone and on the Internet.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 141, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section  231.117.  Unemployed And Underemployed Obligors.

(a) The Title IV-D agency shall refer to appropriate state and local entities that provide employment services any unemployed or underemployed obligor who is in arrears in court-ordered child support payments.

(b)  A referral under Subsection (a) may include:

(1)  skills training and job placement through:

(A)  the Texas Workforce Commission; or

(B)  the agency responsible for the food stamp employment and training program (7 U.S.C. Section 2015(d));

(2)  referrals to education and literacy classes; and

(3)  counseling regarding:

(A)  substance abuse;

(B)  parenting skills;

(C)  life skills; and

(D)  mediation techniques.

(c)  The Title IV-D agency may require an unemployed or underemployed obligor to complete the training, classes, or counseling to which the obligor is referred under this section. The agency shall suspend under Chapter 232 the license of an obligor who fails to comply with the requirements of this subsection.

(d)  A court or the Title IV-D agency may issue an order that requires the parent to either work, have a plan to pay overdue child support, or participate in work activities appropriate to pay the overdue support.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.20(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1072, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Renumbered from Sec. 231.115 by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 19.01(23), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Renumbered from Sec. 231.115 and amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  231.118.  Service Of Citation.

(a) The Title IV-D agency may contract with private process servers to serve a citation, a subpoena, an order, or any other document required or appropriate under law to be served a party.

(b)  For the purposes of Rule 103 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, a person who serves a citation or any other document under this section is authorized to serve the document without a written court order authorizing the service.

(c)  Issuance and return of the process shall be made in accordance with law and shall be verified by the person serving the document.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  231.119.  Ombudsman Program.

(a) The Title IV-D agency shall establish an ombudsman program to process and track complaints against the Title IV-D agency. The director of the Title IV-D agency shall:

(1)  designate an employee to serve as chief ombudsman to manage the ombudsman program; and

(2)  designate an employee in each field office to act as the ombudsman for the office.

(b)  The Title IV-D agency shall develop and implement a uniform process for receiving and resolving complaints against the Title IV-D agency throughout the state. The process shall include statewide procedures to inform the public and recipients of Title IV-D services of the right to file a complaint against the Title IV-D agency, including the mailing addresses and telephone numbers of appropriate Title IV-D agency personnel responsible for receiving complaints and providing related assistance.

(c)  The ombudsman in each field office shall ensure that an employee in the field office responds to and attempts to resolve each complaint that is filed with the field office. If a complaint cannot be resolved at the field office level, the ombudsman in the field office shall refer the complaint to the chief ombudsman.

(d)  The Title IV-D agency shall maintain a file on each written complaint filed with the Title IV-D agency. The file must include:

(1)  the name of the person who filed the complaint;

(2)  the date the complaint is received by the Title IV-D agency;

(3)  the subject matter of the complaint;

(4)  the name of each person contacted in relation to the complaint;

(5)  a summary of the results of the review or investigation of the complaint; and

(6)  an explanation of the reason the file was closed, if the agency closed the file without taking action other than to investigate the complaint.

(e)  The Title IV-D agency, at least quarterly until final disposition of the complaint, shall notify the person filing the complaint and each person who is a subject of the complaint of the status of the investigation of the complaint unless the notice would jeopardize an undercover investigation.

(f)  The Title IV-D agency shall provide to the person filing the complaint and to each person who is a subject of the complaint a copy of the Title IV-D agency's policies and procedures relating to complaint investigation and resolution.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  231.120.  Toll-free Telephone Number For Employers.

The Title IV-D agency shall maintain a toll-free telephone number at which personnel are available during normal business hours to answer questions from employers responsible for withholding child support. The Title IV-D agency shall inform employers about the toll-free telephone number.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  231.121.  Availability Of Brochures.

The Title IV-D agency shall ensure that all Title IV-D brochures published by the agency are available to the public at courthouses where family law cases are heard in the state.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 141, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section 231.122.  Monitoring Child Support Cases; Enforcement.

The Title IV-D agency shall monitor each Title IV-D case from the date the agency begins providing services on the case.  If a child support obligor in a Title IV-D case becomes more than 60 days delinquent in paying child support, the Title IV-D agency shall expedite the commencement of an action to enforce the child support order.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 268, Sec. 1.10, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section 231.123.  Cooperation With Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs.

(a) In order to maximize the amount of any tax refund to which an obligor may be entitled and which may be applied to child support and medical support obligations, the Title IV-D agency shall cooperate with volunteer income tax assistance programs in the state in informing obligors of the availability of the programs.

(b)  The Title IV-D agency shall publicize the services of the volunteer income tax assistance programs by distributing printed materials regarding the programs and by placing information regarding the programs on the agency's Internet website.

(c)  The Title IV-D agency is not responsible for producing or paying the costs of producing the printed materials distributed in accordance with Subsection (b).

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 925, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Renumbered from Family Code, Section 231.122 by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 921, Sec. 17.001(22), eff. September 1, 2007.



Subchapter C. Payment Of Fees And Costs

Section  231.201.  Definitions.

In this subchapter:

(1)  "Federal share" means the portion of allowable expenses for fees and other costs that will be reimbursed by the federal government under federal law and regulations regarding the administration of the Title IV-D program.

(2)  "State share" means the portion of allowable expenses for fees and other costs that remain after receipt of the federal share of reimbursement and that is to be reimbursed by the state or may be contributed by certified public expenditure by a county.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section 231.202.  Authorized Costs And Fees In Title Iv-d Cases.

In a Title IV-D case filed under this title, including a case filed under Chapter 159, the Title IV-D agency shall pay only the following costs and fees:

(1)  filing fees and fees for issuance and service of process as provided by Chapter 110 of this code and by Sections 51.317(b)(1), (2), and (3) and (b-1), 51.318(b)(2), and 51.319(2), Government Code;

(2)  fees for transfer as provided by Chapter 110;

(3)  fees for the issuance and delivery of orders and writs of income withholding in the amounts provided by Chapter 110;

(4)  the fee for services provided by sheriffs and constables, including:

(A)  a fee authorized under Section 118.131, Local Government Code, for serving each item of process to each individual on whom service is required, including service by certified or registered mail; and

(B)  a fee authorized under Section 157.103(b) for serving a capias;

(5)  the fee for filing an administrative writ of withholding under Section 158.503(d);

(6)  the fee for issuance of a subpoena as provided by Section 51.318(b)(1), Government Code; and

(7)  a fee authorized under a local rule for the electronic filing of documents with a clerk.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.04, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.21(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 116, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1217, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 972, Sec. 49, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 767, Sec. 28, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  231.2025.  Contingency Fees.

The Title IV-D agency may pay a contingency fee in a contract or agreement between the agency and a private agency or individual authorized under Section 231.002(c).

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 19, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  231.203.  State Exemption From Bond Not Affected.

This subchapter does not affect, nor is this subchapter affected by, the exemption from bond provided by Section 6.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  231.204.  Prohibited Fees In Title Iv-d Cases.

Except as provided by this subchapter, an appellate court, a clerk of an appellate court, a district or county clerk, sheriff, constable, or other government officer or employee may not charge the Title IV-D agency or a private attorney or political subdivision that has entered into a contract to provide Title IV-D services any fees or other amounts otherwise imposed by law for services rendered in, or in connection with, a Title IV-D case, including:

(1)  a fee payable to a district clerk for:

(A)  performing services related to the estates of deceased persons or minors;

(B)  certifying copies; or

(C)  comparing copies to originals;

(2)  a court reporter fee, except as provided by Section 231.209;

(3)  a judicial fund fee;

(4)  a fee for a child support registry, enforcement office, or domestic relations office;

(5)  a fee for alternative dispute resolution services; and

(6)  a filing fee or other costs payable to a clerk of an appellate court.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 55, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1023, Sec. 55, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section  231.205.  Limitations On Liability Of Attorney General For Authorized Fees And Costs.

(a) The Title IV-D agency is liable for a fee or cost under this subchapter only to the extent that an express, specific appropriation is made to the agency exclusively for that purpose. To the extent that state funds are not available, the amount of costs and fees that are not reimbursed by the federal government and that represent the state share shall be paid by certified public expenditure by the county through the clerk of the court, sheriff, or constable. This section does not prohibit the agency from spending other funds appropriated for child support enforcement to provide the initial expenditures necessary to qualify for the federal share.

(b)  The Title IV-D agency is liable for the payment of the federal share of reimbursement for fees and costs under this subchapter only to the extent that the federal share is received, and if an amount is paid by the agency and that amount is disallowed by the federal government or the federal share is not otherwise received, the clerk of the court, sheriff, or constable to whom the payment was made shall return the amount to the agency not later than the 30th day after the date on which notice is given by the agency.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  231.206.  Restriction On Fees For Child Support Or Registry Services In Title Iv-d Cases.

A district clerk, a county child support registry or enforcement office, or a domestic relations office may not assess or collect fees for processing child support payments or for child support services from the Title IV-D agency, a managing conservator, or a possessory conservator in a Title IV-D case, except as provided by this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  231.207.  Method Of Billing For Allowable Fees.

(a) To be entitled to reimbursement under this subchapter, the clerk of the court, sheriff, or constable must submit one monthly billing to the Title IV-D agency.

(b)  The monthly billing must be in the form and manner prescribed by the Title IV-D agency and be approved by the clerk, sheriff, or constable.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  231.208.  Agreements For Reimbursement In Lieu Of Fees.

(a) The Title IV-D agency and a qualified county may enter into a written agreement under which reimbursement for salaries and certain other actual costs incurred by the clerk, sheriff, or constable in Title IV-D cases is provided to the county.

(b)  A county may not enter into an agreement for reimbursement under this section unless the clerk, sheriff, or constable providing service has at least two full-time employees each devoted exclusively to providing services in Title IV-D cases.

(c)  Reimbursement made under this section is in lieu of all costs and fees provided by this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  231.209.

  PAYMENT FOR SERVICES NOT AFFECTED BY THIS

Subchapter

. Without regard to this subchapter and specifically Section 231.205, the Title IV-D agency may pay the costs for:

(1)  the services of an official court reporter for the preparation of statements of facts;

(2)  the costs for the publication of citation served by publication; and

(3)  mileage or other reasonable travel costs incurred by a sheriff or constable when traveling out of the county to execute an outstanding warrant or capias, to be reimbursed at a rate not to exceed the rate provided for mileage or other costs incurred by state employees in the General Appropriations Act.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.05, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  231.210.  Authority To Pay Litigation Expenses.

(a) The Title IV-D agency may pay all fees, expenses, costs, and bills necessary to secure evidence and to take the testimony of a witness, including advance payments or purchases for transportation, lodging, meals, and incidental expenses of custodians of evidence or witnesses whose transportation is necessary and proper for the production of evidence or the taking of testimony in a Title IV-D case.

(b)  In making payments under this section, the Title IV-D agency shall present vouchers to the comptroller that have been sworn to by the custodian or witness and approved by the agency. The voucher shall be sufficient to authorize payment without the necessity of a written contract.

(c)  The Title IV-D agency may directly pay a commercial transportation company or commercial lodging establishment for the expense of transportation or lodging of a custodian or witness.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Section  231.211.  Award Of Cost Against Nonprevailing Party In Title Iv-d Case.

(a) At the conclusion of a Title IV-D case, the court may assess attorney's fees and all court costs as authorized by law against the nonprevailing party, except that the court may not assess those amounts against the Title IV-D agency or a private attorney or political subdivision that has entered into a contract under this chapter or any party to whom the agency has provided services under this chapter. Such fees and costs may not exceed reasonable and necessary costs as determined by the court.

(b)  The clerk of the court may take any action necessary to collect any fees or costs assessed under this section.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.



Subchapter D. Location Of Parents And Resources

Section  231.301.  Title Iv-d Parent Locator Services.

(a) The parent locator service conducted by the Title IV-D agency shall be used to obtain information for:

(1)  child support establishment and enforcement purposes regarding the identity, social security number, location, employer and employment benefits, income, and assets or debts of any individual under an obligation to pay child or medical support or to whom a support obligation is owed; or

(2)  the establishment of paternity.

(b)  As authorized by federal law, the following persons may receive information under this section:

(1)  a person or entity that contracts with the Title IV-D agency to provide services authorized under Title IV-D or an employee of the Title IV-D agency;

(2)  an attorney who has the duty or authority, by law, to enforce an order for possession of or access to a child;

(3)  a court, or an agent of the court, having jurisdiction to render or enforce an order for possession of or access to a child;

(4)  the resident parent, legal guardian, attorney, or agent of a child who is not receiving public assistance; and

(5)  a state agency that administers a program operated under a state plan as provided by 42 U.S.C. Section 653(c).

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 76, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 56, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  231.302.  Information To Assist In Location Of Persons Or Property.

(a) The Title IV-D agency of this or another state may request and obtain information relating to the identity, location, employment, compensation, benefits, income, and property holdings or other assets of any person from a state or local government agency, private company, institution, or other entity as necessary to establish, modify, or enforce a support order.

(b)  A government agency, private company, institution, or other entity shall provide the information requested under Subsection (a) directly to the Title IV-D agency, without the requirement of payment of a fee for the information, and shall, subject to safeguards on privacy and information security, provide the information in the most efficient and expeditious manner available, including electronic or automated transfer and interface. Any individual or entity disclosing information under this section in response to a request from a Title IV-D agency may not be held liable in any civil action or proceeding to any person for the disclosure of information under this subsection.

(c)  To assist in the administration of laws relating to child support enforcement under Parts A and D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sections 601-617 and 651-669):

(1)  each licensing authority shall request and each applicant for a license shall provide the applicant's social security number;

(2)  each agency administering a contract that provides for a payment of state funds shall request and each individual or entity bidding on a state contract shall provide the individual's or entity's social security number as required by Section 231.006, Family Code; and

(3)  each agency administering a state-funded grant or loan program shall request and each applicant for a grant or loan shall provide the applicant's social security number as required by Section 231.006, Family Code.

(d)  This section does not limit the right of an agency or licensing authority to collect and use a social security number under another provision of law.

(e)  Except as provided by Subsection (d), a social security number provided under this section is confidential and may be disclosed only for the purposes of responding to a request for information from an agency operating under the provisions of Part A or D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sections 601 et seq. and 651 et seq).

(f)  Information collected by the Title IV-D agency under this section may be used only for child support purposes.

(g)  In this section, "licensing authority" has the meaning assigned by Section 232.001.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 84, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 20, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 77, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 6.28, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1023, Sec. 56, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section  231.303.  Title Iv-d Administrative Subpoena. (a)

The Title IV-D agency of this state or another state may issue an administrative subpoena to any individual or private or public entity in this state to furnish information necessary to carry out the purposes of child support enforcement under 42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq. or this chapter.

(b)  An individual or entity receiving an administrative subpoena under this section shall comply with the subpoena. The Title IV-D agency may impose a fine in an amount not to exceed $500 on an individual or entity that fails without good cause to comply with an administrative subpoena. An alleged or presumed father or a parent who fails to comply with a subpoena without good cause may also be subject to license suspension under Chapter 232.

(c)  A court may compel compliance with an administrative subpoena and with any administrative fine for failure to comply with the subpoena and may award attorney's fees and costs to the Title IV-D agency in enforcing an administrative subpoena on proof that an individual or organization failed without good cause to comply with the subpoena.

(d)  An individual or organization may not be liable in a civil action or proceeding for disclosing financial or other information to a Title IV-D agency under this section. The Title IV-D agency may disclose information in a financial record obtained from a financial institution only to the extent necessary:

(1)  to establish, modify, or enforce a child support obligation; or

(2)  to comply with Section 233.001, as added by Chapter 420, Acts of the 75th Legislature, Regular Session, 1997.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 78, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 859, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  231.305.  Memorandum Of Understanding On Child Support For Children Receiving Public Assistance.

(a) The Title IV-D agency and the Texas Department of Human Services by rule shall adopt a memorandum of understanding governing the establishment and enforcement of court-ordered child support in cases involving children who receive financial assistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code. The memorandum shall require the agency and the department to:

(1)  develop procedures to ensure that the information the department is required to collect to establish and enforce child support:

(A)  is collected from the person applying to receive the financial assistance at the time the application is filed;

(B)  is accurate and complete when the department forwards the information to the agency;

(C)  is not information previously reported to the agency; and

(D)  is forwarded to the agency in an expeditious manner;

(2)  develop procedures to ensure that the agency does not duplicate the efforts of the department in gathering necessary information;

(3)  clarify each agency's responsibilities in the establishment and enforcement of child support;

(4)  develop guidelines for use by eligibility workers and child support enforcement officers in obtaining from an applicant the information required to establish and enforce child support for that child;

(5)  develop training programs for appropriate department personnel to enhance the collection of information for child support enforcement;

(6)  develop a standard time, not to exceed 30 days, for the department to initiate a sanction on request from the agency;

(7)  develop procedures for agency participation in department appeal hearings relating to noncompliance sanctions;

(8)  develop performance measures regarding the timeliness and the number of sanctions resulting from agency requests for noncompliance sanctions; and

(9)  prescribe:

(A)  the time in which the department is required to forward information under Subdivision (1)(D); and

(B)  what constitutes complete information under Subdivision (1)(B).

(b)  The Title IV-D agency and the Texas Department of Human Services shall review and renew or modify the memorandum not later than January 1 of each even-numbered year.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.07, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 57, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  231.306.  Maximizing Medical Support Establishment And Collection By The Title Iv-d Agency.

(a) On the installation of an automated child support enforcement system, the Title IV-D agency is strongly encouraged to:

(1)  maximize the collection of medical support; and

(2)  establish cash medical support orders for children eligible for medical assistance under the state Medicaid program for whom private insurance coverage is not available.

(b)  In this section, "medical support" has the meaning assigned by Section 101.020.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 2.03, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  231.307.  Financial Institution Data Matches. (a) Th

e Title IV-D agency shall develop a system meeting the requirements of federal law (42 U.S.C. Sections 666(a)(4) and (17)) for the exchange of data with financial institutions doing business in the state to identify an account of an obligor owing past-due child support and to enforce support obligations against the obligor, including the imposition of a lien and a levy and execution on an obligor's assets held in financial institutions as required by federal law (42 U.S.C. Section 666(c)(1)(G)).

(b)  The Title IV-D agency by rule shall establish procedures for data matches authorized under this section.

(c)  The Title IV-D agency may enter into an agreement with one or more states to create a consortium for data matches authorized under this section. The Title IV-D agency may contract with a vendor selected by the consortium to perform data matches with financial institutions.

(d)  A financial institution providing information or responding to a notice of child support lien provided under Subchapter G, Chapter 157, or otherwise acting in good faith to comply with the Title IV-D agency's procedures under this section may not be liable under any federal or state law for any damages that arise from those acts.

(e)  In this section:

(1)  "Financial institution" has the meaning assigned by Section 157.311; and

(2)  "Account" has the meaning assigned by Section 157.311.

(f)  A financial institution participating in data matches authorized by this section may provide the Title IV-D agency an address for the purpose of service of notices or process required in actions under this section or Subchapter G, Chapter 157.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 79, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 58, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1023, Sec. 57, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section  231.308.  Public Identification Of Certain Obligors.

(a) The Title IV-D agency shall develop a program to identify publicly certain child support obligors who are delinquent in the payment of child support. The program shall include the displaying of photographs and profiles of obligors in public and private locations. The Title IV-D agency shall use posters, the news media, and other cost-effective methods to display photographs and profiles of certain obligors who are in arrears in paying child support. The Title IV-D agency shall divide the state into at least six regions for local identification of certain child support obligors who are delinquent in the payment of child support.

(b)  The Title IV-D agency may not disclose information under this section that is by law required to remain confidential.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 21, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  231.309.  Rewards For Information.

(a) The Title IV-D agency may offer a reward to an individual who provides information to the agency that leads to the collection of child support owed by an obligor who is delinquent in paying support.

(b)  The Title IV-D agency shall adopt rules providing for the amounts of rewards offered under this section and the circumstances under which an individual providing information described in Subsection (a) is entitled to receive a reward.

(c)  A reward paid under this section shall be paid from the child support retained collections account.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 21, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.


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