2002 Regular Session

To: Judiciary A

By: Representative Reeves

House Bill 116



     SECTION 1.  Section 43-19-101, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     43-19-101.  (1)  The following child support award guidelines shall be a rebuttable presumption in all judicial or administrative proceedings regarding the awarding or modifying of child support awards in this state:

     Number Of Children      Percentage Of Adjusted Gross Income

     Due Support             That Should Be Awarded For Support

          1                                 19%

          2                                 25%

          3                                 27%

          4                                 29%

          5 or more                        31%

     (2)  The guidelines provided for in subsection (1) of this section apply unless the judicial or administrative body awarding or modifying the child support award makes a written finding or specific finding on the record that the application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case as determined under the criteria specified in Section 43-19-103.

     (3)  The amount of "adjusted gross income" as that term is used in subsection (1) of this section shall be calculated as follows:

          (a)  Determine gross income from all potential sources that may reasonably be expected to be available to the absent parent including, but not limited to, the following:  wages and salary income; income from self employment; income from commissions; income from investments, including dividends, interest income and income on any trust account or property; absent parent's portion of any joint income of both parents; workers' compensation, disability, unemployment, annuity and retirement benefits, including an individual retirement account (IRA); any other payments made by any person, private entity, federal or state government or any unit of local government; alimony; any income earned from an interest in or from inherited property; any other form of earned income; and gross income shall exclude any monetary benefits derived from a second household, such as income of the absent parent's current spouse;

          (b)  Subtract the following legally mandated deductions:

              (i)  Federal, state and local taxes.  Contributions to the payment of taxes over and beyond the actual liability for the taxable year shall not be considered a mandatory deduction;

              (ii)  Social security contributions;

              (iii)  Retirement and disability contributions except any voluntary retirement and disability contributions;

          (c)  If the absent parent is subject to an existing court order for another child or children, subtract the amount of that court-ordered support;

          (d)  If the absent parent is also the parent of another child or other children residing with him, then the court may subtract an amount that it deems appropriate to account for the needs of said child or children;

          (e)  Compute the total annual amount of adjusted gross income based on paragraphs (a) through (d), then divide this amount by twelve (12) to obtain the monthly amount of adjusted gross income.

     Upon conclusion of the calculation of paragraphs (a) through (e), multiply the monthly amount of adjusted gross income by the appropriate percentage designated in subsection (1) to arrive at the amount of the monthly child support award.

     (4)  In cases in which the adjusted gross income as defined in this section is more than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) or less than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), the court shall make a written finding in the record as to whether or not the application of the guidelines established in this section is reasonable.

     (5)  The Department of Human Services shall review the appropriateness of these guidelines beginning January 1, 1994, and every four (4) years thereafter and report its findings to the Legislature no later than the first day of the regular legislative session of that year.  The Legislature shall thereafter amend these guidelines when it finds that amendment is necessary to ensure that equitable support is being awarded in all cases involving the support of minor children.

     (6)  All orders involving support of minor children, as a matter of law, shall include reasonable medical support.  Notice to the noncustodial parent's employer that medical support has been ordered shall be on a form as prescribed by the Department of Human Services.

     SECTION 2.  (1)  Gaming proceeds (proceeds) shall be subject to encumbrance for delinquent child support payments assessed by a court of competent jurisdiction or as otherwise provided in Titles 43 and 93, Mississippi Code of 1972.

     (2)  Proceeds in the amount of One Thousand Two Hundred Dollars ($1,200.00) or more for slot machines and in the amount of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) or more for all games except slot machines as the term "game" is defined in Section 75-76-5 shall be reported by the payor to the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support Enforcement (the department) pursuant to the provisions set forth herein. 

     (3)  Any person to whom a duty of child support is owed must provide a copy of the order requiring a payee to pay such child support to the department in order to receive proceeds under this act.  The order shall be maintained in a registry by the department which shall be current and which shall be easily accessed by a payor through electronic media or other means which provides instant accessibility.

     (4)  If it is determined that the payee has a child support delinquency, proceeds up to the full amount of the delinquency shall be withheld and disbursed to the department or to the attorney of record in cases not involving the department.  If a payee contests such delinquency, the proceeds shall be held by the department until the final disposition of such contest.  Proceeds beyond the amount of the delinquency shall be delivered to the payee.

     (5)  The payee shall have available to him or her the opportunity to contest the accuracy of said payee's identity or the reported amount of the delinquency:

          (a)  The payee shall have the right to a review of the department's claim of the proceeds.  To request such review, the payee must contact the office of the department in the county in which the child support order is entered.  Such contact must be made within five (5) business days from the date upon which the payee seeks payment of the proceeds from the payor.

          (b)  The department shall grant a review which shall occur within twenty-four (24) business hours if contact is made with the office by personal appearance, telephone or electronic medium.  If contact is made by writing, such review shall occur within five (5) business days of receipt of such contact.

          (c)  The payee may contest the determination of the review by filing a petition with a court of competent jurisdiction as in any matter governed by Rule 81(d)(2) of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure.  Service upon the department shall be made as provided by Rule 4(d)(5).

          (d)  Throughout the review and determination processes, the proceeds shall be held by the department in an account of the department's choosing, and shall be delivered to the payee, should he or she prevail.

          (e)  Any administrative and legal fees incurred by the payor or the department throughout the procedures described herein or pursuant to such procedures shall be assessed to the payee in the event the proceeds are forwarded to the department.

     (6)  In proceedings not involving the department a payee shall have thirty (30) days from the commencement of proceedings under this act to contest such proceedings.  A contest of such proceedings shall be in the court which issued the obligation of support against the payee.

     (7)  For the purposes of this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed herein unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

          (a)  "Gaming proceeds" or "proceeds" shall mean any monies paid in lump sum or otherwise to an individual from lotteries, games or gambling games as defined by Section 75-76-5(k), or games or gambling games as described by Section 97-33-50, et seq.

          (b)  "Child support delinquency" shall have the same meaning as that given it in Section 93-11-101.

          (c)  "Payor" shall mean the individual, agent or entity, licensed or unlicensed, disbursing the gaming proceeds to the payee.

          (d)  "Payee" shall mean the gaming activity participant to whom the gaming proceeds are due.

     (8)  Failure by the payor or payee to comply with the provisions of this section shall subject the payor or payee to a fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00).

     (9)  Notwithstanding any provision of this or any other section of the Mississippi Code, the Department of Human Services shall not be prohibited from entering into a contractual or other similar arrangement with any individual, agent, entity or payor conducting such games or gambling games in Mississippi as are addressed herein.

     (10)  A payor shall be immune from any civil action for compliance with the provisions of this act provided that such compliance is in good faith.

     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 which 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 said judgment may be commenced 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 paragraph (2), 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:

          (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 * * *;       (c)  Assets held in financial institutions;

          (d)  Settlements and awards resulting from civil actions; and

          (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.

     (4)  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.

     SECTION 4.  The Governor shall make a good faith effort to enter into a compact with any Native Americans operating gaming activities to encourage voluntary compliance with the provisions of this act.

     SECTION 5.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2002.