2022 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Michel, Branning
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 43-19-31, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO COLLABORATE WITH THE TREASURER TO INTERCEPT UNCLAIMED PROPERTY TO SATISFY A CHILD SUPPORT ARREARAGE; TO AMEND SECTION 89-12-39, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE TREASURER TO COOPERATE WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO DETERMINE IF A CLAIMANT OF UNCLAIMED PROPERTY OWES A CHILD SUPPORT ARREARAGE; TO REQUIRE THE TREASURER TO TRANSFER TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES ANY PORTION OF A CLAIM TO SATISFY THE CHILD SUPPORT ARREARAGE; TO AMEND SECTION 93-11-71, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO SUBJECT UNCLAIMED PROPERTY TO INTERCEPTION OR SEIZURE WITHOUT REGARD TO THE ENTRY OF THE JUDGMENT ON THE JUDGMENT ROLL OF THE SITUS DISTRICT OR JURISDICTION TO SATISFY CHILD SUPPORT ARREARAGES; 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 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; * * *
(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: * * *
a. 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; * * * b. the court cause number of the
action; * * * c.
name, address and telephone number of employer; * * * d. any restraining or protective order
indicating domestic violence; and * * * e. 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
(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 * * *
(p) To collaborate with the Office of the State Treasurer in order to identify persons presumed to have unclaimed property and intercept eligible unclaimed property to satisfy, fully or partially, the person's child support arrearage.
SECTION 2. Section 89-12-39, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
89-12-39. (1) Any person claiming an interest in any property delivered to the state under the provisions of this chapter may file a claim on the form prescribed by the Treasurer.
(2) The Treasurer shall
consider any claim filed under the provisions of subsection (1) of this section,
and may hold a hearing and receive evidence concerning it. If a hearing is
held, * * *
Treasurer shall prepare a finding and a decision in writing on each claim
filed, stating the substance of any evidence heard by * * * the Treasurer and the reasons for * * * the Treasurer's decision. The
decision shall be a public record.
(3) If the validity of a claim shall be determined in favor of the claimant, the Treasurer shall collaborate with the Department of Human Services to determine if the claimant owes a child support arrearage. If the claimant owes an arrearage, the Treasurer shall transfer to the Department of Human Services any portion of the claim, including any interest as described in subsection (4) of this section, necessary to satisfy, fully or partially, the person's child support arrearage.
(4) If the validity of a claim shall be determined in favor of the claimant and the claimant does not owe a child support arrearage or there is a remaining amount of the claim after satisfaction of the arrearage under subsection (3) of this section, the Treasurer shall pay over to the claimant only that amount which the Treasurer actually received, without deduction for costs of notices or for service charges, together with interest at the rate of one-twelfth of one percent (1/12 of 1%) per month from the time when it was received by the Treasurer to the time when it was paid by him or her to the claimant. However, if the property claimed was interest bearing to the owner on the date of surrender by the holder, then the Treasurer shall instead add interest at a rate not to exceed five-twelfths of one percent (5/12 of 1%) per month or the lesser current market rate. The interest on interest-bearing property shall begin to accumulate on the date that the property is delivered to the Treasurer and shall cease on the earlier of the expiration of fifteen (15) years following delivery or the date on which payment is made to the owner. No interest on the interest-bearing property shall be payable for any period prior to July 1, 1982. Any holder who pays to the owner property which has been delivered to the state and which, if claimed from the Treasurer, would be subject to the provisions of this section as interest-bearing property, shall add interest as provided in this section. The added interest shall be repaid to the holder by the Treasurer in the same manner as the principal.
SECTION 3. Section 93-11-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
93-11-71. (1) Whenever a court orders any person to make periodic payments of a sum certain for the maintenance or support of a child, and whenever such payments as have become due remain unpaid for a period of at least thirty (30) days, a judgment by operation of law shall arise against the obligor in an amount equal to all payments that are then due and owing.
(a) A judgment arising under this section shall have the same effect and be fully enforceable as any other judgment entered in this state. A judicial or administrative action to enforce the judgment may be begun at any time; and
(b) Such judgments arising in other states by operation of law shall be given full faith and credit in this state.
(2) Any judgment arising under the provisions of this section shall operate as a lien upon all the property of the judgment debtor, both real and personal, which lien shall be perfected as to third parties without actual notice thereof only upon enrollment on the judgment roll. The department or attorney representing the party to whom support is owed shall furnish an abstract of the judgment for periodic payments for the maintenance and support of a child, along with sworn documentation of the delinquent child support, to the circuit clerk of the county where the judgment is rendered, and it shall be the duty of the circuit clerk to enroll the judgment on the judgment roll. Liens arising under the provisions of this section may be executed upon and enforced in the same manner and to the same extent as any other judgment.
(3) Notwithstanding the provisions in subsection (2) of this section, any judgment arising under the provisions of this section shall subject the following assets to interception or seizure without regard to the entry of the judgment on the judgment roll of the situs district or jurisdiction and such assets shall apply to all child support owed including all arrears:
(a) Periodic or lump-sum payments from a federal, state or local agency, including unemployment compensation, workers' compensation and other benefits;
(b) Winnings from lotteries and gaming winnings that are received in periodic payments made over a period in excess of thirty (30) days;
(c) Assets held in financial institutions;
(d) Settlements and awards resulting from civil actions;
(e) Public and private
retirement funds, only to the extent that the obligor is qualified to receive
and receives a lump-sum or periodic distribution from the funds; * * *
(f) Lump-sum payments as
defined in Section 93-11-101 * * *
(g) Unclaimed property as described in Section 89-12-1 et seq.
(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (1) and (2) of this section, upon disestablishment of paternity granted pursuant to Section 93-9-10 and a finding of clear and convincing evidence including negative DNA testing that the obligor is not the biological father of the child or children for whom support has been ordered, the court shall disestablish paternity and may forgive any child support arrears of the obligor for the child or children determined by the court not to be the biological child or children of the obligor, if the court makes a written finding that, based on the totality of the circumstances, the forgiveness of the arrears is equitable under the circumstances.
(5) In any case in which a child receives assistance from block grants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the obligor owes past-due child support, the obligor, if not incapacitated, may be required by the court to participate in any work programs offered by any state agency.
(6) A parent who receives social security disability insurance payments who is liable for a child support arrearage and whose disability insurance benefits provide for the payment of past due disability insurance benefits for the support of the minor child or children for whom the parent owes a child support arrearage shall receive credit toward the arrearage for the payment or payments for the benefit of the minor child or children if the arrearage accrued after the date of disability onset as determined by the Social Security Administration.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2022.