42 U.S.C. 666 - Requirement of statutorily prescribed procedures to improve effectiveness of child support enforcement

Cite as42 U.S.C. 666

(a) Types of procedures required

In order to satisfy section 654(20)(A) of this title, each State must have in effect laws requiring the use of the following procedures, consistent with this section and with regulations of the Secretary, to increase the effectiveness of the program which the State administers under this part:

(1)

(A) Procedures described in subsection (b) for the withholding from income of amounts payable as support in cases subject to enforcement under the State plan.

(B) Procedures under which the income of a person with a support obligation imposed by a support order issued (or modified) in the State before January 1, 1994, if not otherwise subject to withholding under subsection (b), shall become subject to withholding as provided in subsection (b) if arrearages occur, without the need for a judicial or administrative hearing.

(2) Expedited administrative and judicial procedures (including the procedures specified in subsection (c)) for establishing paternity and for establishing, modifying, and enforcing support obligations. The Secretary may waive the provisions of this paragraph with respect to one or more political subdivisions within the State on the basis of the effectiveness and timeliness of support order issuance and enforcement or paternity establishment within the political subdivision (in accordance with the general rule for exemptions under subsection (d)).

(3) Procedures under which the State child support enforcement agency shall request, and the State shall provide, that for the purpose of enforcing a support order under any State plan approved under this part-

(A) any refund of State income tax which would otherwise be payable to a noncustodial parent will be reduced, after notice has been sent to that noncustodial parent of the proposed reduction and the procedures to be followed to contest it (and after full compliance with all procedural due process requirements of the State), by the amount of any overdue support owed by such noncustodial parent;

(B) the amount by which such refund is reduced shall be distributed in accordance with section 657 of this title in the case of overdue support assigned to a State pursuant to section 608(a)(3) or 671(a)(17) of this title, or, in any other case, shall be distributed, after deduction of any fees imposed by the State to cover the costs of collection, to the child or parent to whom such support is owed; and

(C) notice of the noncustodial parent's social security account number (or numbers, if he has more than one such number) and home address shall be furnished to the State agency requesting the refund offset, and to the State agency enforcing the order.

(4) LIENS.-Procedures under which-

(A) liens arise by operation of law against real and personal property for amounts of overdue support owed by a noncustodial parent who resides or owns property in the State; and

(B) the State accords full faith and credit to liens described in subparagraph (A) arising in another State, when the State agency, party, or other entity seeking to enforce such a lien complies with the procedural rules relating to recording or serving liens that arise within the State, except that such rules may not require judicial notice or hearing prior to the enforcement of such a lien.

(5) PROCEDURES CONCERNING PATERNITY ESTABLISHMENT.-

(A) ESTABLISHMENT PROCESS AVAILABLE FROM BIRTH UNTIL AGE 18.-

(i) Procedures which permit the establishment of the paternity of a child at any time before the child attains 18 years of age.

(ii) As of August 16, 1984, clause (i) shall also apply to a child for whom paternity has not been established or for whom a paternity action was brought but dismissed because a statute of limitations of less than 18 years was then in effect in the State.

(B) PROCEDURES CONCERNING GENETIC TESTING.-

(i) GENETIC TESTING REQUIRED IN CERTAIN CONTESTED CASES.-Procedures under which the State is required, in a contested paternity case (unless otherwise barred by State law) to require the child and all other parties (other than individuals found under section 654(29) of this title to have good cause and other exceptions for refusing to cooperate) to submit to genetic tests upon the request of any such party, if the request is supported by a sworn statement by the party-

(I) alleging paternity, and setting forth facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the requisite sexual contact between the parties; or

(II) denying paternity, and setting forth facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the nonexistence of sexual contact between the parties.

(ii) OTHER REQUIREMENTS.-Procedures which require the State agency, in any case in which the agency orders genetic testing-

(I) to pay costs of such tests, subject to recoupment (if the State so elects) from the alleged father if paternity is established; and

(II) to obtain additional testing in any case if an original test result is contested, upon request and advance payment by the contestant.

(C) VOLUNTARY PATERNITY ACKNOWLEDGMENT.-

(i) SIMPLE CIVIL PROCESS.-Procedures for a simple civil process for voluntarily acknowledging paternity under which the State must provide that, before a mother and a putative father can sign an acknowledgment of paternity, the mother and the putative father must be given notice, orally, or through the use of video or audio equipment, and in writing, of the alternatives to, the legal consequences of, and the rights (including, if 1 parent is a minor, any rights afforded due to minority status) and responsibilities that arise from, signing the acknowledgment.

(ii) HOSPITAL-BASED PROGRAM.-Such procedures must include a hospital-based program for the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity focusing on the period immediately before or after the birth of a child.

(iii) PATERNITY ESTABLISHMENT SERVICES.-

(I) STATE-OFFERED SERVICES.-Such procedures must require the State agency responsible for maintaining birth records to offer voluntary paternity establishment services.

(II) REGULATIONS.-

(aa) SERVICES OFFERED BY HOSPITALS AND BIRTH RECORD AGENCIES.-The Secretary shall prescribe regulations governing voluntary paternity establishment services offered by hospitals and birth record agencies.

(bb) SERVICES OFFERED BY OTHER ENTITIES.-The Secretary shall prescribe regulations specifying the types of other entities that may offer voluntary paternity establishment services, and governing the provision of such services, which shall include a requirement that such an entity must use the same notice provisions used by, use the same materials used by, provide the personnel providing such services with the same training provided by, and evaluate the provision of such services in the same manner as the provision of such services is evaluated by, voluntary paternity establishment programs of hospitals and birth record agencies.

(iv) USE OF PATERNITY ACKNOWLEDGMENT AFFIDAVIT.-Such procedures must require the State to develop and use an affidavit for the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity which includes the minimum requirements of the affidavit specified by the Secretary under section 652(a)(7) of this title for the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, and to give full faith and credit to such an affidavit signed in any other State according to its procedures.

(D) STATUS OF SIGNED PATERNITY ACKNOWLEDGMENT.-

(i) INCLUSION IN BIRTH RECORDS.-Procedures under which the name of the father shall be included on the record of birth of the child of unmarried parents only if-

(I) the father and mother have signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity; or

(II) a court or an administrative agency of competent jurisdiction has issued an adjudication of paternity.

Nothing in this clause shall preclude a State agency from obtaining an admission of paternity from the father for submission in a judicial or administrative proceeding, or prohibit the issuance of an order in a judicial or administrative proceeding which bases a legal finding of paternity on an admission of paternity by the father and any other additional showing required by State law.

(ii) LEGAL FINDING OF PATERNITY.-Procedures under which a signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity is considered a legal finding of paternity, subject to the right of any signatory to rescind the acknowledgment within the earlier of-

(I) 60 days; or

(II) the date of an administrative or judicial proceeding relating to the child (including a proceeding to establish a support order) in which the signatory is a party.

(iii) CONTEST.-Procedures under which, after the 60-day period referred to in clause (ii), a signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity may be challenged in court only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof upon the challenger, and under which the legal responsibilities (including child support obligations) of any signatory arising from the acknowledgment may not be suspended during the challenge, except for good cause shown.

(E) BAR ON ACKNOWLEDGMENT RATIFICATION PROCEEDINGS.-Procedures under which judicial or administrative proceedings are not required or permitted to ratify an unchallenged acknowledgment of paternity.

(F) ADMISSIBILITY OF GENETIC TESTING RESULTS.-Procedures-

(i) requiring the admission into evidence, for purposes of establishing paternity, of the results of any genetic test that is-

(I) of a type generally acknowledged as reliable by accreditation bodies designated by the Secretary; and

(II) performed by a laboratory approved by such an accreditation body;

(ii) requiring an objection to genetic testing results to be made in writing not later than a specified number of days before any hearing at which the results may be introduced into evidence (or, at State option, not later than a specified number of days after receipt of the results); and

(iii) making the test results admissible as evidence of paternity without the need for foundation testimony or other proof of authenticity or accuracy, unless objection is made.

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