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      RS 46:236.1.2     

  

§236.1.2. Family and child support programs; responsibilities

            A. The department is hereby authorized to develop and implement a program of family support in FITAP cases, Title IV-E Foster Care cases, Medicaid only cases, and any other category of cases to which the state is required by federal law or regulation to provide services, designed to do the following:

            (1) Enforce, collect, and distribute the support obligation owed by any person to his child or children and to his spouse or former spouse with whom the child is living if a support obligation has been established with respect to such spouse or former spouse.

            (2) Locate absent parents.

            (3) Establish paternity.

            (4) Obtain and modify family and child support orders.

            (5) Obtain and modify medical support orders.

            B.(1) In addition, as required by federal law, the department shall provide the above services to any individual including absent or noncustodial parents not otherwise eligible for such services as provided for in Subsection A of this Section upon receiving an application from such individual and upon receiving any fee which may be assessed by the department for the services, regardless of whether the individual has ever received public assistance and regardless of whether there is a delinquency.

            (2) The department is hereby authorized to develop and implement a program of access and visitation designed to support and facilitate noncustodial parent's access to and visitation of their children. The program may include mediation, counseling, education, development of parenting plans, visitation enforcement, and development of guidelines for visitation and alternative custody arrangements. The program should also encourage and enable both parents to stay emotionally involved with their child or children.

            C. The department may enforce, collect, and distribute medical support orders notwithstanding the absence of a specific provision in the child support order as to the amount of medical support to be paid.

            D.(1) The department, except when it is not in the best interest of the child, may without the necessity of written assignment, subrogation, tutorship proceedings, or divorce proceedings take direct civil action, including actions to establish filiation against an alleged biological parent notwithstanding the existence of a legal presumption that another person is the parent of the child solely for the purpose of fulfilling its responsibility under this Section, in any court of competent jurisdiction, to obtain an order, judgment, or agreement of support against the responsible person in any case in which the department is providing services under this Subpart. The amount of such support shall be set only by order of the court or by the consent of the parties, but in either case the department shall be designated as payee. Additionally, the department may take direct action to modify an order or judgment of support, including actions to increase or decrease support, in any case in which the department is providing services pursuant to this Subpart. A separate and distinct cause of action in favor of the department is hereby created, and suits brought under this provision need not be ancillary to or dependent upon any other legal proceeding.

            (2) In cases where the department is providing support enforcement services, if the name of the father appears on the birth certificate of the child, the department may proceed to establish a court order for child support and medical support against the father whose name does appear on the birth certificate without the need to establish paternity in accordance with Civil Code Article 197.

            E. The department shall enter into an agreement with a financial institution to develop and operate a data match system, using automated data exchange to the maximum extent feasible.

            F. If the district attorney neglects or refuses to file a proceeding to establish filiation against an alleged biological parent, the department may file the ex parte motion.

            G. In any case in which the department is providing services under this Subpart to obtain an order, judgment, or agreement of support or to recoup support payments against the responsible person, the court shall not cancel any accrued arrearages unless the department, through the CSE administrator, has determined that there is no reasonable possibility of collecting the arrearages.

            H. In addition to any other legal remedies provided by the law, the department shall take all steps necessary to implement and utilize procedures for collection of past due support from federal tax refunds by sending notice to the federal secretary of the treasury that a person owes past due support which has been assigned to the department as a condition of eligibility or in a case where the department is providing services as provided in Subsection B of this Section. The department shall comply with all rules and regulations imposed by the secretary of the treasury and by the federal secretary of health and human services, including payment of any fee assessed by the secretary of the treasury for the cost of applying the offset procedure. As used in this Part, "past due support" means the amount of a delinquency, determined under a court order under state law for support and maintenance of a child, or of a child and the parent with whom the child is living. A court in a civil proceeding has jurisdiction to render a judgment for past due support which has accrued under a civil court order for support and also has limited jurisdiction to render a judgment for past due support which has accrued under any criminal or juvenile court order for support pursuant to an assignment of support rights during any period in which there was no outstanding civil court order for support and, effective August 13, 1981, such a support obligation is not released by a discharge in bankruptcy under Title 11, United States Code.

            I. In providing support services required by Title IV-D of the Social Security Act in cases provided for in Subsection A of this Section, the department may provide for application and other fees to be charged each individual who is receiving services from the department or any individual who owes a duty of support. The fees shall comply with any applicable federal laws, rules, and regulations and may not exceed the maximum set by federal laws, rules, and regulations or the actual costs incurred by the department in providing the support services, whichever is less.

            J. The department, in conjunction with the administrator of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, shall take all steps necessary to implement and utilize procedures for collection of child support payments from unemployment compensation benefits, pursuant to R.S. 23:1600(8) and 1693. The department shall determine on a periodic basis, from information supplied to it pursuant to the federal unemployment statute, 29 U.S.C. 49(b), whether any persons receiving compensation under the state's unemployment compensation law, including amounts payable pursuant to any agreement under any federal unemployment compensation law, owe child support obligations which are being enforced by the department. The department may enforce any such obligation which is not being met by the person through a written agreement with the person to have specified amounts withheld from compensation benefits otherwise payable to the person and by submitting a copy of the agreement to the administrator of the Louisiana Workforce Commission or, in the absence of such an agreement, by using legal means to require the withholding of specified amounts from the unemployment compensation benefits to apply toward satisfaction of the support obligation, provided that in either case the maximum amount of withholding shall not exceed the amount specified in the garnishment statute, R.S. 13:3881. However, if the amount deducted and withheld is less than the amount of the support obligation, the balance is not discharged and shall remain an outstanding debt of the person. The department shall comply with all rules and regulations imposed by the administrator of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, including payment of any fee assessed to reimburse that office for the administrative costs incurred in applying the withholding procedure.

            K. The department shall require private collection agencies which handle any portion of a case authorized by Subsection A of this Section to comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq. and the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 42 et seq.

            L.(1)(a) The department, when providing support enforcement services, shall pursue an order to require one or both parties to provide medical support for the child pursuant to R.S. 9:315.4. If private health insurance is not available to either parent at a reasonable cost at the time the support order is rendered or modified, the court shall order the party responsible for providing medical support to provide private health insurance as soon as it becomes available at a reasonable cost and is accessible to the minor child.

            (b) The court may order the noncustodial parent to pay cash medical support when either:

            (i) The child has no healthcare coverage.

            (ii) The child is covered by private health insurance but there is a need for additional funds to cover the child's healthcare costs.

            (c) Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, the court shall order the noncustodial parent to pay cash medical support when the child is covered by public health insurance.

            (2) When the court orders the noncustodial parent to provide cash medical support, it shall be owed until such time as private health insurance is provided by the party responsible for providing medical support.

            (3) Cash medical support shall be set at an amount not to exceed three percent of the noncustodial parent's gross income. An award for cash medical support shall be separate from the child support order and shall not be included in the child support calculations.

            (4) Cash medical support payments shall be collected by the department and distributed in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations and the Louisiana Administrative Code.

            (5) If a court orders a parent to pay cash medical support, it shall be in lieu of, and not in addition to, requiring the parent to also pay reimbursement for extraordinary medical expenses as set forth in R.S. 9:315.5.

            Acts 2003, No. 86, §1; Acts 2003, No. 632, §1; Acts 2003, No. 1068, §2, eff. July 2, 2003; Acts 2004, No. 380, §1, eff. June 23, 2004; Acts 2010, No. 238, §4; Acts 2010, No. 299, §1; Acts 2012, No. 255, §7; Acts 2016, No. 253, §2; Acts 2018, No. 166, §1, eff. May 15, 2018; Acts 2018, No. 206, §5.



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