SEC. 43-19-31. Child support unit authorized; purposes.
The Department of Human Services is hereby authorized and empowered to establish a single and separate Child Support Unit for the following purposes:
(a) To develop and implement a nonsupport and paternity program and institute proceedings in the name of the Department of Human Services or in the name of the recipient in any court of competent jurisdiction in any county where the mother of the child resides or is found, in the county where the father resides or is found, or in the county where the child resides or is found;
(b) To secure and collect support by any method authorized under state law and establish paternity for any child or children receiving aid from the department any form of public assistance, including, but not limited to, medical assistance, foster care, food stamps, TANF, or any other program under the federal Social Security Act, from a parent or any other person legally liable for such support who has either failed or refused to provide support, deserted, neglected or abandoned the child or children, including cooperating with other states in establishing paternity, locating absent parents and securing compliance with court orders for support of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) children; the department may petition the court for the inclusion of health insurance as part of any child support order on behalf of any child receiving aid from the department unless good cause for noncooperation, as defined by the Social Security Act or the Mississippi Department of Human Services, is established. Unless notified to the contrary, whenever a child or children for whom child support services have been provided ceases to receive public assistance, the department will continue to provide services and establish paternity, secure and collect such support payments from a parent or any other person legally liable for such support in accordance with the standards prescribed pursuant to the federal Social Security Act;
(c) To accept applications for child support enforcement services to establish paternity, secure and collect support from any proper party or person as defined by Title IV-D of the federal Social Security Act notwithstanding the fact that the child or children do not currently receive or have never received public assistance. The department shall have the authority to secure and collect support by any method authorized under state law and establish paternity for any child or children on behalf of a recipient of child support services, including individuals who do not currently receive or have never received public assistance from a parent or any other person legally liable for such support who has either failed or refused to provide support, deserted, neglected or abandoned the child or children, including cooperating with other states in establishing paternity, locating absent parents and securing compliance with court orders for support; the department may petition the court for the inclusion of health insurance as part of any child support order on behalf of such recipients of child support services. The proceeds of any collections resulting from such application shall be distributed in accordance with the standards prescribed in the federal Social Security Act;
(d) The department shall seek to recover from the individual who owes a support obligation to any individual who is a recipient of Title IV-D services as set forth in paragraph (b) or (c) on whose behalf the department is providing services, upon judicial proceedings conducted thereon after advance notice to such obligor, reasonable attorney's fees and court costs, in excess of any administrative fees collected and in excess of amounts of current support owed by the obligor, which the department incurs in recovering and collecting the support obligation, such costs and fees as the department recovers to be deposited in the Special Fund of the Mississippi Department of Human Services which is hereby established for the pursuit and collection of child support;
(e) To initiate contempt of court proceedings or any other remedial proceedings necessary to enforce (i) any order or decree of court relating to child support, and (ii) any order or decree of court relating to the maintenance and/or alimony of a parent where support collection services on his or her child's behalf are being provided by the department;
(f) To secure and collect by any method authorized under state law any maintenance and/or alimony on behalf of a parent whose child or children's support is being collected by the department. The department shall collect only such maintenance and/or alimony as is ordered or decreed by the court, and only in the event that the minor child and parent to whom such maintenance and/or alimony has been ordered are living in the same household;
(g) To obtain restitution of monies expended for public assistance from a parent or any other person legally liable for the support of any child or children receiving aid from the department; said action for restitution shall arise from the payment of public assistance for the dependent child or children and shall be for the amount of the public assistance paid. Said action for restitution shall not arise against the parent or other person legally responsible who receives public assistance for the benefit of any dependent child or children. When a court order of support has been issued, the amount recoverable shall be limited to the amount of the court order;
(h) Setting off against a debtor's income tax refund or rebate any debt which is in the form of a liquidated sum due and owing for the care, support or maintenance of a child;
(i) To have full responsibility in the aforementioned cases for initiating actions under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act and for responding to the actions of other jurisdictions under said law when Mississippi is the responding state; however, this shall not impair private litigants' rights to proceed under any applicable interstate enforcement mechanisms;
(j) To enter into contracts for the purpose of performing any test which the department may, from time to time, require;
(k) To maintain a Central Receipting and Disbursement Unit to which all payments required by withholding orders and orders for support in all actions to which the Department of Human Services is a party shall be forwarded, and from which child support payments ordered by the court in actions to which the Department of Human Services is a party shall be disbursed to the custodial parent or other such party as may be designated by the court order. The Central Receipting and Disbursement Unit shall be operated by the Department of Human Services or any financial institution having operations and qualified to do business in Mississippi, whose deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The department shall conduct cost-benefit analyses to determine and utilize the more cost efficient manner of operating the unit;
(l) To maintain a Mississippi Department of Human Services Case Registry containing records with respect to:
(i) Each case in which services are being provided by the department under this section; and
(ii) Each support order established or modified in Mississippi on or after October 1, 1998; and
(iii) The Administrative Office of Courts, as established by Section 9-21-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, in consultation with the Mississippi Department of Human Services, shall devise, promulgate and require the use of a Uniform Child Support Order Tracking System.
1. Information collected from case filing forms shall be furnished to the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support Enforcement, in order that compliance with court-ordered obligations of support may be tracked with specificity throughout the duration of said obligations and any subsequent proceedings.
2. Such tracking system shall include: 1. the names, residential and mailing addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers and dates of birth of each child and parent named in or subject to the court order; 2. the court cause number of the action; 3. name, address and telephone number of employer; 4. any restraining or protective order indicating domestic violence; and 5. any other information which may be used for the purpose of identifying any person named in or subject to the order or for the purposes of establishing, enforcing or modifying a child support order; and
(m) To take administrative actions relating to genetic testing, determine paternity, establish child support orders, modification of child support orders, income withholding, liens and subpoenas without the necessity of obtaining an order from any judicial or other administrative tribunal with respect to cases initiated or enforced by the department pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act;
(n) To have the authority to use high-volume automated administrative enforcement in interstate cases to the same extent as used for intrastate cases, in response to a request made by another state to enforce support orders;
(o) To provide any child support enforcement or other service as may be required by the United States of America, Department of Health and Human Services, Family Support Administration, Office of Child Support Enforcement or their successor pursuant to federal law or regulation.
SOURCE: Laws, 1976, ch. 483, Sec. 1; 1982, ch. 320; 1983, ch. 393, Sec. 1; 1985, ch. 518, Sec. 14; 1987, ch. 455, Sec. 5; 1989, ch. 440, Sec. 1, eff from and after July 1, 1989. Amended by Laws 1999, Ch. 512, Sec. 1, HB852, eff. July 1, 1999; 1997 Laws, Chapter 588, Sec. 1, SB2164; Laws, 2003, ch. 514, § 1, SB 2389, eff from and after passage (approved Apr. 19, 2003.).
PREVIOUS VERSIONS: Pre-2003
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