1997 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Blackmon
House Bill 795
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 43-19-31, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE PURPOSES OF THE CHILD SUPPORT UNIT TO INCLUDE A CENTRAL DISBURSEMENT UNIT AND A CASE REGISTRY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 43-19-31, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-19-31. 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 State Department of Public Welfare 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, 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 aid to dependent 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;
(c) To initiate support or paternity actions in behalf of nonrelated aid to dependent children families, and to secure and collect child support in such cases by any method authorized under state law; the department may petition the court for the inclusion of health insurance as part of any child support order on behalf of such nonrelated aid to dependent children families;
(d) The department shall seek to recover from the individual who owes a support obligation to a nonrelated aid to dependent children family 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 as the department recovers to be deposited in the General Fund of the State Treasury;
(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 moneys 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 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.
(l) To maintain a central disbursement unit to which all payment required by withholding orders and orders for support in all actions which the Department of Human Services is a party shall be forwarded to; and from which child support payments ordered by the court in actions 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; and
(m) To maintain a 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.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after January 1, 1998.