D. Administrative Services

Subtitle D. Administrative Services

Ch. 231. Title IV–D Services

Subch. A. Administration of Title IV–D Program

231.001. Designation of Title IV–D Agency

231.0011. Development of Statewide Integrated System for Child Support and Medical Support Enforcement

231.0012. Child Support Enforcement Management

231.0013. Dedication of Funds

231.002. Powers and Duties

231.003. Forms and Procedures

231.005. Biennial Report Required

231.006. Ineligibility to Receive State Grants or Loans or Receive Payment on State Contracts

231.007. Debts to State

231.008. Disposition of Funds

231.009. Payment of Penalties

231.010. Cooperation With Department of Protective and Regulatory Services

231.012. Child Support Work Group

231.013. Information Resources Steering Committee

231.014. Personnel

231.015. Insurance Reporting Program

Subch. B. Services Provided by Title IV–D Program

231.101. Title IV–D Child Support Services

231.102. Eligibility for Child Support Services

231.103. Application and Service Fees

231.104. Assignment of Right to Support

231.105. Notice of Change of Payee

231.106. Notice of Termination of Assignment

231.107. Certificate of Assignment or of Termination of Assignment

231.108. Confidentiality of Records and Privileged Communications

231.109. Attorneys Representing State

231.110. Authorization of Service

231.111. Disqualification of Agency

231.112. Information on Paternity Establishment

231.113. Enforcement of Support Obligations in Public Assistance Cases

231.114. Reports of Child Support Payments to Consumer Reporting Agencies

231.115. Noncooperation by Recipient of Public Assistance

231.116. Information on Internet

231.1165. Information on Service of Citation

231.117. Unemployed and Underemployed Obligors

231.118. Service of Citation

231.119. Ombudsman Program

231.120. Toll–free Telephone Number for Employers

231.121. Availability of Brochures

231.122. Monitoring Child Support Cases; Enforcement

231.123. Cooperation With Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs

231.124. Child Support Arrearages Payment Incentive Program

Subch. C. Payment of Fees and Costs

231.201. Definitions

231.202. Authorized Costs and Fees in Title IV–D Cases

231.2025. Contingency Fees

231.203. State Exemption From Bond Not Affected

231.204. Prohibited Fees in Title IV–D Cases

231.205. Limitations on Liability of Attorney General for Authorized Fees and Costs

231.206. Restriction on Fees for Child Support or Registry Services in Title IV–D Cases

231.207. Method of Billing for Allowable Fees

231.208. Agreements for Reimbursement in Lieu of Fees

231.209. Payment for Services Not Affected by This Subchapter

231.210. Authority to Pay Litigation Expenses

231.211. Award of Cost Against Nonprevailing Party in Title IV–D Case

Subch. D. Location of Parents and Resources

231.301. Title IV–D Parent Locator Services

231.302. Information to Assist in Location of Persons or Property

231.303. Title IV–D Administrative Subpoena

231.305. Memorandum of Understanding on Child Support for Children Receiving Public Assistance

231.306. Maximizing Medical Support Establishment and Collection by the Title IV–D Agency

231.307. Financial Institution Data Matches

231.308. Public Identification of Certain Obligors

231.309. Rewards for Information

Ch. 232. Suspension of License

232.001. Definitions

232.002. Licensing Authorities Subject to Chapter

232.0021. Application of Chapter to Texas Lottery Commission

232.0022. Suspension or Nonrenewal of Motor Vehicle Registration

232.003. Suspension of License

232.004. Petition for Suspension of License

232.005. Contents of Petition

232.006. Notice

232.007. Hearing on Petition to Suspend License

232.008. Order Suspending License for Failure to Pay Child Support

232.009. Default Order

232.010. Review of Final Administrative Order

232.011. Action by Licensing Authority

232.012. Motion to Revoke Stay

232.013. Vacating or Staying Order Suspending License

232.0135. Denial of License Issuance or Renewal

232.014. Fee by Licensing Authority

232.015. Cooperation Between Licensing Authorities and Title IV–D Agency

232.016. Rules, Forms, and Procedures

Ch. 233. Child Support Review Process To Establish or Enforce Support Obligations

233.001. Purpose

233.002. Agreements Encouraged

233.003. Bilingual Forms Required

233.004. Interpreter Required

233.005. Initiating Administrative Actions

233.006. Contents of Notice of Child Support Review

233.007. Service of Notice

233.008. Administrative Subpoena in Child Support Review

233.009. Notice of Proposed Child Support Review Order; Negotiation Conference

233.0095. Notice of Proposed Child Support Review Order in Cases of Acknowledged Paternity

233.010. Notice of Negotiation Conference; Failure to Attend Conference

233.011. Rescheduling Negotiation Conference; Notice Required

233.012. Information Required to be Provided at Negotiation Conference

233.013. Determining Support Amount; Modification

233.014. Record of Proceedings

233.015. Issuance of Child Support Review Order or Finding That No Order Should be Issued; Effect

233.016. Vacating Child Support Review Order

233.017. Contents of Child Support Review Order

233.018. Additional Contents of Agreed Child Support Review Order

233.019. Filing of Agreed Review Order

233.020. Contents of Petition for Confirmation of Nonagreed Order

233.021. Duties of Clerk of Court

233.022. Form to Request a Court Hearing on Nonagreed Order

233.023. Time to Request a Court Hearing

233.024. Confirmation of Agreed Order

233.025. Effect of Request for Hearing on Nonagreed Order; Pleading

233.026. Time for Court Hearing

233.027. Nonagreed Order After Hearing

233.0271. Confirmation of Nonagreed Order Without Hearing

233.028. Special Child Support Review Procedures Relating to Establishment of Parentage

233.029. Administrative Procedure Law Not Applicable

Ch. 234. State Case Registry, Disbursement Unit, and Directory of New Hires

Subch. A. Unified State Case Registry and Disbursement Unit

234.001. Establishment and Operation of State Case Registry and State Disbursement Unit

234.002. Integrated System for Child Support and Medical Support Enforcement

234.004. Contracts and Cooperative Agreements

234.006. Rulemaking

234.007. Notice of Place of Payment

234.008. Deposit, Distribution, and Issuance of Payments

234.009. Official Child Support Payment Record

234.0091. Administrative Review of Child Support Payment Record

234.010. Direct Deposit and Electronic Benefits Transfer of Child Support Payments

234.012. Release of Information From State Case Registry

Subch. B. State Directory of New Hires

234.101. Definitions

234.102. Operation of New Hire Directory

234.103. Contracts and Cooperative Agreements

234.104. Procedures

234.105. Civil Penalty

Ch. 236. Competitive Bidding for Child Support Collection Services

236.001. Definition

236.002. Powers and Duties of Council

236.003. Child Support Collection Agreement

Subtitle D. Administrative Services

Ch. 231. Title IV–D Services

Subch. A. Administration of Title IV–D Program

[Contents]

Sec. 231.001. Designation of Title IV–D Agency. The office of the attorney general is designated as the state's Title IV–D agency.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.0011. Development of Statewide Integrated System for Child Support and Medical Support Enforcement.

(a) The Title IV–D agency shall have final approval authority on any contract or proposal for delivery of Title IV–D services under this section and in coordination with the Texas Judicial Council, the Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System, the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, and state, county, and local officials, shall develop and implement a statewide integrated system for child support and medical support enforcement, employing federal, state, local, and private resources to:

(1) unify child support registry functions;

(2) record and track all child support orders entered in the state;

(3) establish an automated enforcement process which will use delinquency monitoring, billing, and other enforcement techniques to ensure the payment of current support;

(4) incorporate existing enforcement resources into the system to obtain maximum benefit from state and federal funding; and

(5) ensure accountability for all participants in the process, including state, county, and local officials, private contractors, and the judiciary.

(b) Counties and other providers of child support services shall be required, as a condition of participation in the unified system, to enter into a contract with the Title IV–D agency, to comply with all federal requirements for the Title IV–D program, and to maintain at least the current level of funding for activities which are proposed to be included in the integrated child support system.

(c) The Title IV–D agency may contract with any county meeting technical system requirements necessary to comply with federal law for provision of Title IV–D services in that county. All new cases in which support orders are entered in such county after the effective date of a monitoring contract shall be Title IV–D cases. Any other case in the county, subject to federal requirements and the agreement of the county and the Title IV–D agency, may be included as a Title IV–D case. Any obligee under a support order may refuse Title IV–D enforcement services unless required to accept such services pursuant to other law.

(d) Counties participating in the unified enforcement system shall monitor all child support registry cases and on delinquency may, subject to the approval of the Title IV–D agency, provide enforcement services through:

(1) direct provision of services by county personnel;

(2) subcontracting all or portions of the services to private entities or attorneys; or

(3) such other methods as may be approved by the Title IV–D agency.

(e) The Title IV–D agency may phase in the integrated child support registry and enforcement system, and the requirement to implement the system shall be contingent on the receipt of locally generated funds and federal reimbursement. Locally generated funds include but are not limited to funds contributed by counties and cities.

(f) The Title IV–D agency shall adopt rules to implement this section.

(g) Participation in the statewide integrated system for child support and medical support enforcement by a county is voluntary, and nothing in this section shall be construed to mandate participation.

(h) This section does not limit the ability of the Title IV–D agency to enter into an agreement with a county for the provision of services as authorized under Section 231.002.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.0012. Child Support Enforcement Management. The person appointed by the attorney general as the person responsible for managing the Title IV–D agency's child support enforcement duties shall report directly to the attorney general.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.0013. Dedication of Funds. Appropriations made to the Title IV–D agency for child support enforcement may be expended only for the purposes for which the money was appropriated.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.002. Powers and Duties.

(a) The Title IV–D agency may:

(1) accept, transfer, and expend funds, subject to the General Appropriations Act, made available by the federal or state government or by another public or private source for the purpose of carrying out this chapter;

(2) adopt rules for the provision of child support services;

(3) initiate legal actions needed to implement this chapter; and

(4) enter into contracts or agreements necessary to administer this chapter.

(b) The Title IV–D agency may perform the duties and functions necessary for locating children under agreements with the federal government as provided by 42 U.S.C. Section 663.

(c) The Title IV–D agency may enter into agreements or contracts with federal, state, or other public or private agencies or individuals for the purpose of carrying out the agency's responsibilities under federal or state law. The agreements or contracts between the agency and other state agencies or political subdivisions of this or another state, including a consortia of multiple states, and agreements or contracts with vendors for the delivery of program services are not subject to Chapter 771 or 783, Government Code.

(d) Consistent with federal law and any international treaty or convention to which the United States is a party and that has been ratified by the United States Congress, the Title IV–D agency may:

(1) on approval by and in cooperation with the governor, pursue negotiations and enter into reciprocal arrangements with the federal government, another state, or a foreign country or a political subdivision of the federal government, state, or foreign country to:

(A) establish and enforce child support obligations; and

(B) establish mechanisms to enforce an order providing for possession of or access to a child rendered under Chapter 153;

(2) spend money appropriated to the agency for child support enforcement to engage in international child support enforcement; and

(3) spend other money appropriated to the agency necessary for the agency to conduct the agency's activities under Subdivision (1).

(e) The Title IV–D agency may take the following administrative actions with respect to the location of a parent, the determination of parentage, and the establishment, modification, and enforcement of child support and medical support orders required by 42 U.S.C. Section 666(c), without obtaining an order from any other judicial or administrative tribunal:

(1) issue an administrative subpoena, as provided by Section 231.303, to obtain financial or other information;

(2) order genetic testing for parentage determination, as provided by Chapter 233;

(3) order income withholding, as provided by Chapter 233, and issue an administrative writ of withholding, as provided by Chapter 158; and

(4) take any action with respect to execution, collection, and release of a judgment or lien for child support necessary to satisfy the judgment or lien, as provided by Chapter 157.

(f) The Title IV–D agency shall recognize and enforce the authority of the Title IV–D agency of another state to take actions similar to the actions listed in this section.

(g) The Title IV–D agency shall develop and use procedures for the administrative enforcement of interstate cases meeting the requirements of 42 U.S.C. Section 666(a)(14) under which the agency:

(1) shall promptly respond to a request made by another state for assistance in a Title IV–D case; and

(2) may, by electronic or other means, transmit to another state a request for assistance in a Title IV–D case.

(h) [Repealed]

(i) The Title IV–D agency may provide a release or satisfaction of a judgment for all or part of the amount of the arrearages assigned to the Title IV–D agency under Section 231.104(a).

(j) In the enforcement or modification of a child support order, the Title IV–D agency is not:

(1) subject to a mediation or arbitration clause or requirement in the order to which the Title IV–D agency was not a party; or

(2) liable for any costs associated with mediation or arbitration arising from provisions in the order or another agreement of the parties.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.003. Forms and Procedures. The Title IV–D agency shall by rule promulgate any forms and procedures necessary to comply fully with the intent of this chapter.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.005. Biennial Report Required.

(a) The Title IV–D agency shall report to the legislature each biennium on:

(1) the effectiveness of the agency's child support enforcement activity in reducing the state's public assistance obligations; and

(2) the use and effectiveness of all enforcement tools authorized by state or federal law or otherwise available to the agency.

(b) The agency shall develop a method for estimating the costs and benefits of the child support enforcement program and the effect of the program on appropriations for public assistance.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.006. Ineligibility to Receive State Grants or Loans or Receive Payment on State Contracts.

(a) A child support obligor who is more than 30 days delinquent in paying child support and a business entity in which the obligor is a sole proprietor, partner, shareholder, or owner with an ownership interest of at least 25 percent is not eligible to:

(1) receive payments from state funds under a contract to provide property, materials, or services; or

(2) receive a state–funded grant or loan.

(a–1) [Repealed]

(b) A child support obligor or business entity ineligible to receive payments under Subsection (a) remains ineligible until:

(1) all arrearages have been paid;

(2) the obligor is in compliance with a written repayment agreement or court order as to any existing delinquency; or

(3) the court of continuing jurisdiction over the child support order has granted the obligor an exemption from Subsection (a) as part of a court–supervised effort to improve earnings and child support payments.

(c) A bid or an application for a contract, grant, or loan paid from state funds must include the name and social security number of the individual or sole proprietor and each partner, shareholder, or owner with an ownership interest of at least 25 percent of the business entity submitting the bid or application.

(d) A contract, bid, or application subject to the requirements of this section must include the following statement:

"Under Section 231.006, Family Code, the vendor or applicant certifies that the individual or business entity named in this contract, bid, or application is not ineligible to receive the specified grant, loan, or payment and acknowledges that this contract may be terminated and payment may be withheld if this certification is inaccurate."

(e) If a state agency determines that an individual or business entity holding a state contract is ineligible to receive payment under Subsection (a), the contract may be terminated.

(f) If the certificate required under Subsection (d) is shown to be false, the vendor is liable to the state for attorney's fees, the costs necessary to complete the contract, including the cost of advertising and awarding a second contract, and any other damages provided by law or contract.

(g) This section does not create a cause of action to contest a bid or award of a state grant, loan, or contract. This section does not impose a duty on the Title IV–D agency to collect information to send to the comptroller to withhold a payment to a business entity. The Title IV–D agency and other affected agencies are encouraged to develop a system by which the Title IV–D agency may identify a business entity that is ineligible to receive a state payment under Subsection (a) and to ensure that a state payment to the entity is not made. This system should be implemented using existing funds and only if the Title IV–D agency, comptroller, and other affected agencies determine that it will be cost–effective.

(h) This section does not apply to a contract between governmental entities.

(i) The Title IV–D agency may adopt rules or prescribe forms to implement any provision of this section.

(j) A state agency may accept a bid that does not include the information required under Subsection (c) if the state agency collects the information before the contract, grant, or loan is executed.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.007. Debts to State.

(a) A person obligated to pay child support in a case in which the Title IV–D agency is providing services under this chapter who does not pay the required support is indebted to the state for the purposes of Section 403.055, Government Code, if the Title IV–D agency has reported the person to the comptroller under that section properly.

(b) The amount of a person's indebtedness to the state under Subsection (a) is equal to the sum of:

(1) the amount of the required child support that has not been paid; and

(2) any interest, fees, court costs, or other amounts owed by the person because the person has not paid the support.

(c) The Title IV–D agency is the sole assignee of all payments, including payments of compensation, by the state to a person indebted to the state under Subsection (a).

(d) On request of the Title IV–D agency:

(1) the comptroller shall make payable and deliver to the agency any payments for which the agency is the assignee under Subsection (c), if the comptroller is responsible for issuing warrants or initiating electronic funds transfers to make those payments; and

(2) a state agency shall make payable and deliver to the Title IV–D agency any payments for which the Title IV–D agency is the assignee under Subsection (c) if the comptroller is not responsible for issuing warrants or initiating electronic funds transfers to make those payments.

(e) A person indebted to the state under Subsection (a) may eliminate the debt by:

(1) paying the entire amount of the debt; or

(2) resolving the debt in a manner acceptable to the Title IV–D agency.

(f) The comptroller or a state agency may rely on a representation by the Title IV–D agency that:

(1) a person is indebted to the state under Subsection (a); or

(2) a person who was indebted to the state under Subsection (a) has eliminated the debt.

(g) Except as provided by Subsection (h), the payment of workers' compensation benefits to a person indebted to the state under Subsection (a) is the same for the purposes of this section as any other payment made to the person by the state. Notwithstanding Section 408.203, Labor Code, an order or writ to withhold income from workers' compensation benefits is not required before the benefits are withheld or assigned under this section.

(h) The amount of weekly workers' compensation benefits that may be withheld or assigned under this section may not exceed 50 percent of the person's weekly compensation benefits. The comptroller or a state agency may rely on a representation by the Title IV–D agency that a withholding or assignment under this section would not violate this subsection.

(i) Section 403.055(d), Government Code, does not authorize the comptroller to issue a warrant or initiate an electronic funds transfer to pay the compensation or remuneration of an individual who is indebted to the state under Subsection (a).

(j) Section 2107.008(h), Government Code, does not authorize a state agency to pay the compensation or remuneration of an individual who is indebted to the state under Subsection (a).

(k) In this section, "compensation," "state agency," and "state officer or employee" have the meanings assigned by Section 403.055, Government Code.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.008. Disposition of Funds.

(a) The Title IV–D agency shall deposit money received under assignments or as fees in a special fund in the state treasury. The agency may spend money in the fund for the administration of this chapter, subject to the General Appropriations Act.

(b) All other money received under this chapter shall be deposited in a special fund in the state treasury.

(c) Sections 403.094 and 403.095, Government Code, do not apply to a fund described by this section.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.009. Payment of Penalties. From funds appropriated for the Title IV–D agency, the agency shall reimburse the Texas Department of Human Services for any penalty assessed under Title IV–A of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.) that is assessed because of the agency's administration of this chapter.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.010. Cooperation with Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.

(a) In this section, "department" means the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.

(b) To the extent possible, the Title IV–D agency shall:

(1) provide to the department access to all of the Title IV–D agency's available child support locating resources;

(2) allow the department to use the Title IV–D agency's child support enforcement system to track child support payments and to have access to the agency's management reports that show payments made;

(3) make reports on Title IV–E, Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 670 et seq.), foster care collections available to the department in a timely manner; and

(4) work with the department to obtain child support payments for protective services cases in which the department is responsible for providing care for children under temporary and final orders.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.012. Child Support Work Group.

(a) The director of the Title IV–D agency may convene a work group representing public and private entities with an interest in child support enforcement in this state to work with the director in developing strategies to improve child support enforcement in this state.

(b) The director of the Title IV–D agency shall appoint the members of the work group after consulting with appropriate public and private entities.

(c) The work group shall meet as convened by the director of the Title IV–D agency and consult with the director on matters relating to child support enforcement in this state, including the delivery of Title IV–D services.

(d) A work group member or the member's designee may not receive compensation but is entitled to reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses incurred in performing the member's duties under this section.

(e) The work group is not an advisory committee as defined by Section 2110.001, Government Code. Chapter 2110, Government Code, does not apply to the work group.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.013. Information Resources Steering Committee.

(a) The Title IV–D agency shall create an information resources steering committee to:

(1) oversee information resource project development for the Title IV–D agency;

(2) make strategic prioritization recommendations;

(3) facilitate development of accurate information for the director of the Title IV–D agency; and

(4) perform other functions as determined by the director of the Title IV–D agency.

(b) The steering committee must include a senior management executive representing each significant function of the Title IV–D agency. The steering committee may include a person representing:

(1) counties; or

(2) a vendor contracting with the Title IV–D agency.

(c) The director of the Title IV–D agency shall appoint the members of the steering committee after consulting with the Department of Information Resources.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.014. Personnel. The director of the Title IV–D agency shall provide to the employees of the Title IV–D agency, as often as necessary, information regarding the requirements for employment under this title, including information regarding a person's responsibilities under applicable laws relating to standards of conduct for state employees.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.015. Insurance Reporting Program.

(a) In consultation with the Texas Department of Insurance and representatives of the insurance industry in this state, including insurance trade associations, the Title IV–D agency by rule shall operate a program under which insurers shall cooperate with the Title IV–D agency in identifying obligors who owe child support arrearages and are subject to liens for child support arrearages to intercept certain insurance settlements or awards for claims in satisfaction of the arrearage amounts.

(b) An insurer that provides information or responds to a notice of child support lien or levy under Subchapter G, Chapter 157, or acts in good faith to comply with procedures established by the Title IV–D agency under this section is not liable for those acts under any law to any person.

(c) An insurer may not be required to report or identify the following types of claims:

(1) a first–party property damage claim under:

(A) a personal automobile insurance policy for actual repair, replacement, or loss of use of an insured vehicle; or

(B) a residential or tenant property insurance policy for actual repair, replacement, or loss of use of an insured dwelling and contents, including additional living expenses actually incurred; or

(2) a third–party property damage claim:

(A) that will be paid to a vendor or repair facility for the actual repair, replacement, or loss of use of:

(i) a dwelling, condominium, or other improvements on real property;

(ii) a vehicle, including a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or recreational vehicle; or

(iii) other tangible personal property that has sustained actual damage or loss; or

(B) for the reimbursement to a claimant for payments made by the claimant to a vendor or repair facility for the actual repair, replacement, or loss of use of:

(i) a dwelling, condominium, or other improvements on real property;

(ii) a vehicle, including a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or recreational vehicle; or

(iii) other tangible personal property that has sustained actual damage or loss.

Subch. B. Services Provided by Title IV–D Program

[Contents]

Sec. 231.101. Title IV–D Child Support Services.

(a) The Title IV–D agency may provide all services required or authorized to be provided by Part D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.), including:

(1) parent locator services;

(2) paternity determination;

(3) child support and medical support establishment;

(4) review and adjustment of child support orders;

(5) enforcement of child support and medical support orders; and

(6) collection and distribution of child support payments.

(b) At the request of either the obligee or obligor, the Title IV–D agency shall review a child support order once every three years and, if appropriate, adjust the support amount to meet the requirements of the child support guidelines under Chapter 154.

(c) Except as notice is included in the child support order, a party subject to a support order shall be provided notice not less than once every three years of the party's right to request that the Title IV–D agency review and, if appropriate, adjust the amount of ordered support.

(d) The Title IV–D agency may review a support order at any time on a showing of a material and substantial change in circumstances, taking into consideration the best interests of the child. If the Title IV–D agency determines that the primary care and possession of the child has changed, the Title IV–D agency may file a petition for modification under Chapter 156.

(e) The Title IV–D agency shall distribute a child support payment received by the agency from an employer within two working days after the date the agency receives the payment.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.102. Eligibility for Child Support Services. The Title IV–D agency on application or as otherwise authorized by law may provide services for the benefit of a child without regard to whether the child has received public assistance.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.103. Application and Service Fees.

(a) The Title IV–D agency may:

(1) charge a reasonable application fee;

(2) charge a $25 annual service fee; and

(3) to the extent permitted by federal law, recover costs for the services provided in a Title IV–D case.

(b) An application fee may not be charged in a case in which the Title IV–D agency provides services because the family receives public assistance.

(c) An application fee may not exceed a maximum amount established by federal law.

(d) [Repealed]

(e) The Title IV–D agency may impose and collect a fee as authorized by federal law for each request for parent locator services under Section 231.101(a).

(f) The state disbursement unit established and operated by the Title IV–D agency under Chapter 234 may collect a monthly service fee of $3 in each case in which support payments are processed through the unit.

(g) The Title IV–D agency by rule shall establish procedures for the imposition of fees and recovery of costs authorized under this section.

(g–1) A fee authorized under this section for providing child support enforcement services is part of the child support obligation if the obligor is responsible for the fee, and may be enforced against the obligor through any method available for the enforcement of child support, including contempt.

(h) The attorney general child support application and service fee account is an account in the general revenue fund in the state treasury. The account consists of all fees and costs collected under this section. The Title IV–D agency may only use the money in the account for agency program expenditures.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.104. Assignment of Right to Support.

(a) To the extent authorized by federal law, the approval of an application for or the receipt of financial assistance as provided by Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, constitutes an assignment to the Title IV–D agency of any rights to support from any other person that the applicant or recipient may have personally or for a child for whom the applicant or recipient is claiming assistance.

(b) An application for child support services is an assignment of support rights to enable the Title IV–D agency to establish and enforce child support and medical support obligations, but an assignment is not a condition of eligibility for services.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.105. Notice of Change of Payee.

(a) Child support payments for the benefit of a child whose support rights have been assigned to the Title IV–D agency under Section 231.104 shall be made payable to the Title IV–D agency and transmitted to the state disbursement unit as provided by Chapter 234.

(b) If a court has ordered support payments to be made to an applicant for or recipient of financial assistance or to an applicant for or recipient of Title IV–D services, the Title IV–D agency shall, on providing notice to the obligee and the obligor, direct the obligor or other payor to make support payments payable to the Title IV–D agency and to transmit the payments to the state disbursement unit. The Title IV–D agency shall file a copy of the notice with the court ordering the payments and with the child support registry. The notice must include:

(1) a statement that the child is an applicant for or recipient of financial assistance, or a child other than a recipient child for whom Title IV–D services are provided;

(2) the name of the child and the caretaker for whom support has been ordered by the court;

(3) the style and cause number of the case in which support was ordered; and

(4) instructions for the payment of ordered support to the agency.

(c) On receipt of a copy of the notice under Subsection (b), the clerk of the court shall file the notice in the appropriate case file.

[Contents]

Sec. 231.106. Notice of Termination of Assignment.

(a) On termination of support rights to the Title IV–D agency, the Title IV–D agency shall, after providing notice to the obligee and the obligor, send a notice of termination of assignment to the obligor or other payor, which may direct that all or a portion of the payments be made payable to the agency and to other persons who are entitled to receive the payments.

(b) The Title IV–D agency shall send a copy of the notice of termination of assignment to the court ordering the support and to the child support registry, and on receipt of the notice the clerk of the court shall file the notice in the appropriate case file. The clerk may not require an order of the court to terminate the assignment and direct support payments to the person entitled to receive the payment.

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Sec. 231.107. Certificate of Assignment or of Termination of Assignment. If an abstract of judgment or a child support lien on support amounts assigned to the Title IV–D agency under this chapter has previously been filed of record, the agency shall file for recordation, with the county clerk of each county in which such abstract or lien has been filed, a certificate that a notice of change of payee or a notice of termination of assignment has been issued by the agency.

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Sec. 231.108. Confidentiality of Records and Privileged Communications.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (c), all files and records of services provided by the Title IV–D agency under this title, including information concerning a custodial parent, a noncustodial parent, a child, or an alleged or presumed father, are confidential.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), all communications made by a recipient of financial assistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, or an applicant for or recipient of services under this chapter are privileged.

(c) The Title IV–D agency may use or release information from the files and records, including information that results from a communication made by a recipient of financial assistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, or by an applicant for or recipient of services under this chapter, for purposes directly connected with the administration of the child support, paternity determination, parent locator, or aid to families with dependent children programs. The Title IV–D agency may release information from the files and records to a consumer reporting agency in accordance with Section 231.114.

(d) The Title IV–D agency by rule may provide for the release of information to public officials.

(e) The Title IV–D agency may not release information on the physical location of a person if:

(1) a protective order has been entered with respect to the person; or

(2) there is reason to believe that the release of information may result in physical or emotional harm to the person.

(f) The Title IV–D agency, by rule, may provide for the release of information to persons for purposes not prohibited by federal law.

(g) The final order in a suit adjudicating parentage is available for public inspection as provided by Section 160.633.

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Sec. 231.109. Attorneys Representing State.

(a) Attorneys employed by the Title IV–D agency may represent this state or another state in an action brought under the authority of federal law or this chapter.

(b) The Title IV–D agency may contract with private attorneys, other private entities, or political subdivisions of the state to provide services in Title IV–D cases.

(c) The Title IV–D agency shall provide copies of all contracts entered into under this section to the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor's Office of Budget and Planning, along with a written justification of the need for each contract, within 60 days after the execution of the contract.

(d) An attorney employed to provide Title IV–D services represents the interest of the state and not the interest of any other party. The provision of services by an attorney under this chapter does not create an attorney–client relationship between the attorney and any other party. The agency shall, at the time an application for child support services is made, inform the applicant that neither the Title IV–D agency nor any attorney who provides services under this chapter is the applicant's attorney and that the attorney providing services under this chapter does not provide legal representation to the applicant.

(e) An attorney employed by the Title IV–D agency or as otherwise provided by this chapter may not be appointed or act as an amicus attorney or attorney ad litem for a child or another party.

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Sec. 231.110. Authorization of Service. The provision of services by the Title IV–D agency under this chapter or Part D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.) does not authorize service on the agency of any legal notice that is required to be served on any party other than the agency.

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Sec. 231.111. Disqualification of Agency. A court shall not disqualify the Title IV–D agency in a legal action filed under this chapter or Part D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.) on the basis that the agency has previously provided services to a party whose interests may now be adverse to the relief requested.

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Sec. 231.112. Information on Paternity Establishment. On notification by the state registrar under Section 192.005(d), Health and Safety Code, that the items relating to the child's father are not completed on a birth certificate filed with the state registrar, the Title IV–D agency may provide to:

(1) the child's mother and, if possible, the man claiming to be the child's biological father written information necessary for the man to complete an acknowledgment of paternity as provided by Chapter 160; and

(2) the child's mother written information:

(A) explaining the benefits of having the child's paternity established; and

(B) regarding the availability of paternity establishment and child support enforcement services.

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Sec. 231.113. Enforcement of Support Obligations in Public Assistance Cases. To the extent possible, the Title IV–D agency shall enforce a child support obligation in a case involving a child who receives financial assistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, not later than the first anniversary of the date the agency receives from the Texas Department of Human Services the information the department is required to provide to assist in the enforcement of that obligation.

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Sec. 231.114. Reports of Child Support Payments to Consumer Reporting Agencies.

(a) The Title IV–D agency shall make information available in accordance with this section to a consumer reporting agency regarding the amount of child support owed and the amount paid by an obligor in a Title IV–D case.

(b) Before disclosing the information to consumer reporting agencies, the Title IV–D agency shall send the obligor a notice by mail to the obligor's last known address. The notice must include:

(1) the information to be released, including the amount of the obligor's child support obligation and delinquency, if any, that will be reported;

(2) the procedure available for the obligor to contest the accuracy of the information; and

(3) a statement that the information will be released if the obligor fails to contest the disclosure before the 30th day after the date of mailing of the notice.

(c) If the obligor does not contest the disclosure within the period specified by Subsection (b), the Title IV–D agency shall make the information available to the consumer reporting agency.

(d) The Title IV–D agency shall regularly update the information released to a consumer reporting agency under this section to ensure the accuracy of the released information.

(e) The Title IV–D agency may charge a consumer reporting agency a reasonable fee for making information available under this section, including all applicable mailing costs.

(f) In this section:

(1) "Consumer reporting agency" means any person that regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for monetary fees, for dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, to furnish consumer reports to third parties.

(2) "Obligor" means any person required to make payments under the terms of a support order for a child.

(3) "Title IV–D case" means a case in which services are being provided by the Title IV–D agency under Part D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.) seeking to locate an absent parent, determine parentage, or establish, modify, enforce, or monitor a child support obligation.

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Sec. 231.115. NonCooperation by Recipient of Public Assistance.

(a) The failure by a person who is a recipient of public assistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, to provide accurate information as required by Section 31.0315, Human Resources Code, shall serve as the basis for a determination by the Title IV–D agency that the person did not cooperate with the Title IV–D agency.

(b) The Title IV–D agency shall:

(1) identify the actions or failures to act by a recipient of public assistance that constitute noncooperation with the Title IV–D agency;

(2) adopt rules governing noncompliance; and

(3) send noncompliance determinations to the Texas Department of Human Services for immediate imposition of sanctions.

(c) In adopting rules under this section that establish the basis for determining that a person has failed to cooperate with the Title IV–D agency, the Title IV–D agency shall consider whether:

(1) good cause exists for the failure to cooperate;

(2) the person has failed to disclose the name and location of an alleged or probable parent of the child, if known by the person, at the time of applying for public assistance or at a subsequent time; and

(3) the person named a man as the alleged father and the man was subsequently excluded by parentage testing as being the father if the person has previously named another man as the child's father.

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Sec. 231.116. Information on Internet. The Title IV–D agency shall place on the Internet for public access child support information to assist the public in child support matters, including application forms, child support collection in other states, and profiles of certain obligors who are in arrears in paying child support.

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Sec. 231.1165. Information on Service of Citation. The Title IV–D agency shall update the agency's child support automated system to inform the parties in a suit of the service of citation in the suit not later than the first business day after the date the agency receives notice that citation has been served. The information required by this section must be available by telephone and on the Internet.

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Sec. 231.117. Unemployed and Underemployed Obligors.

(a) The Title IV–D agency shall refer to appropriate state and local entities that provide employment services any unemployed or underemployed obligor who is in arrears in court–ordered child support payments.

(b) A referral under Subsection (a) may include:

(1) skills training and job placement through:

(A) the Texas Workforce Commission; or

(B) the agency responsible for the food stamp employment and training program (7 U.S.C. Section 2015(d));

(2) referrals to education and literacy classes; and

(3) counseling regarding:

(A) substance abuse;

(B) parenting skills;

(C) life skills; and

(D) mediation techniques.

(c) The Title IV–D agency may require an unemployed or underemployed obligor to complete the training, classes, or counseling to which the obligor is referred under this section. The agency shall suspend under Chapter 232 the license of an obligor who fails to comply with the requirements of this subsection.

(d) A court or the Title IV–D agency may issue an order that requires the parent to either work, have a plan to pay overdue child support, or participate in work activities appropriate to pay the overdue support.

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Sec. 231.118. Service of Citation.

(a) The Title IV–D agency may contract with private process servers to serve a citation, a subpoena, an order, or any other document required or appropriate under law to be served a party.

(b) For the purposes of Rule 103 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, a person who serves a citation or any other document under this section is authorized to serve the document without a written court order authorizing the service.

(c) Issuance and return of the process shall be made in accordance with law and shall be verified by the person serving the document.

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Sec. 231.119. Ombudsman Program.

(a) The Title IV–D agency shall establish an ombudsman program to process and track complaints against the Title IV–D agency. The director of the Title IV–D agency shall:

(1) designate an employee to serve as chief ombudsman to manage the ombudsman program; and

(2) designate an employee in each field office to act as the ombudsman for the office.

(b) The Title IV–D agency shall develop and implement a uniform process for receiving and resolving complaints against the Title IV–D agency throughout the state. The process shall include statewide procedures to inform the public and recipients of Title IV–D services of the right to file a complaint against the Title IV–D agency, including the mailing addresses and telephone numbers of appropriate Title IV–D agency personnel responsible for receiving complaints and providing related assistance.

(c) The ombudsman in each field office shall ensure that an employee in the field office responds to and attempts to resolve each complaint that is filed with the field office. If a complaint cannot be resolved at the field office level, the ombudsman in the field office shall refer the complaint to the chief ombudsman.

(d) The Title IV–D agency shall maintain a file on each written complaint filed with the Title IV–D agency. The file must include:

(1) the name of the person who filed the complaint;

(2) the date the complaint is received by the Title IV–D agency;

(3) the subject matter of the complaint;

(4) the name of each person contacted in relation to the complaint;

(5) a summary of the results of the review or investigation of the complaint; and

(6) an explanation of the reason the file was closed, if the agency closed the file without taking action other than to investigate the complaint.

(e) The Title IV–D agency, at least quarterly until final disposition of the complaint, shall notify the person filing the complaint and each person who is a subject of the complaint of the status of the investigation of the complaint unless the notice would jeopardize an undercover investigation.

(f) The Title IV–D agency shall provide to the person filing the complaint and to each person who is a subject of the complaint a copy of the Title IV–D agency's policies and procedures relating to complaint investigation and resolution.

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Sec. 231.120. Toll–Free Telephone Number for Employers. The Title IV–D agency shall maintain a toll–free telephone number at which personnel are available during normal business hours to answer questions from employers responsible for withholding child support. The Title IV–D agency shall inform employers about the toll–free telephone number.

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Sec. 231.121. Availability of Brochures. The Title IV–D agency shall ensure that all Title IV–D brochures published by the agency are available to the public at courthouses where family law cases are heard in the state.

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Sec. 231.122. Monitoring Child Support Cases; Enforcement. The Title IV–D agency shall monitor each Title IV–D case from the date the agency begins providing services on the case. If a child support obligor in a Title IV–D case becomes more than 60 days delinquent in paying child support, the Title IV–D agency shall expedite the commencement of an action to enforce the child support order.

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Sec. 231.123. Cooperation with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs.

(a) In order to maximize the amount of any tax refund to which an obligor may be entitled and which may be applied to child support and medical support obligations, the Title IV–D agency shall cooperate with volunteer income tax assistance programs in the state in informing obligors of the availability of the programs.

(b) The Title IV–D agency shall publicize the services of the volunteer income tax assistance programs by distributing printed materials regarding the programs and by placing information regarding the programs on the agency's Internet website.

(c) The Title IV–D agency is not responsible for producing or paying the costs of producing the printed materials distributed in accordance with Subsection (b).

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Sec. 231.124. Child Support Arrearages Payment Incentive Program.

(a) The Title IV–D agency may establish and administer a payment incentive program to promote payment by obligors who are delinquent in satisfying child support arrearages assigned to the Title IV–D agency under Section 231.104(a).

(b) A program established under this section must provide to a participating obligor a credit for every dollar amount paid by the obligor on interest and arrearages balances during each month of the obligor's voluntary enrollment in the program. In establishing a program under this section, the Title IV–D agency by rule must prescribe:

(1) criteria for a child support obligor's initial eligibility to participate in the program;

(2) the conditions for a child support obligor's continued participation in the program;

(3) procedures for enrollment in the program; and

(4) the terms of the financial incentives to be offered under the program.

(c) The Title IV–D agency shall provide eligible obligors with notice of the program and enrollment instructions.

Subch. C. Payment of Fees and Costs

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Sec. 231.201. Definitions. In this subchapter:

(1) "Federal share" means the portion of allowable expenses for fees and other costs that will be reimbursed by the federal government under federal law and regulations regarding the administration of the Title IV–D program.

(2) "State share" means the portion of allowable expenses for fees and other costs that remain after receipt of the federal share of reimbursement and that is to be reimbursed by the state or may be contributed by certified public expenditure by a county.

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Sec. 231.202. Authorized Costs and Fees in Title IV–D Cases. In a Title IV–D case filed under this title, including a case filed under Chapter 159, the Title IV–D agency shall pay only the following costs and fees:

(1) filing fees and fees for issuance and service of process as provided by Chapter 110 of this code and by Sections 51.317(b)(1), (2), and

(3) and (b–1), 51.318(b)(2), and 51.319(2), Government Code;

(2) fees for transfer as provided by Chapter 110;

(3) fees for the issuance and delivery of orders and writs of income withholding in the amounts provided by Chapter 110;

(4) the fee for services provided by sheriffs and constables, including:

(A) a fee authorized under Section 118.131, Local Government Code, for serving each item of process to each individual on whom service is required, including service by certified or registered mail; and

(B) a fee authorized under Section 157.103

(b) for serving a capias;

(5) the fee for filing an administrative writ of withholding under Section 158.503(d);

(6) the fee for issuance of a subpoena as provided by Section 51.318(b)(1), Government Code; and

(7) a fee authorized by Section 72.031, Government Code, for the electronic filing of documents with a clerk.

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Sec. 231.2025. Contingency Fees. The Title IV–D agency may pay a contingency fee in a contract or agreement between the agency and a private agency or individual authorized under Section 231.002(c).

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Sec. 231.203. State Exemption from Bond Not Affected. This subchapter does not affect, nor is this subchapter affected by, the exemption from bond provided by Section 6.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

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Sec. 231.204. Prohibited Fees in Title IV–D Cases. Except as provided by this subchapter, an appellate court, a clerk of an appellate court, a district or county clerk, sheriff, constable, or other government officer or employee may not charge the Title IV–D agency or a private attorney or political subdivision that has entered into a contract to provide Title IV–D services any fees or other amounts otherwise imposed by law for services rendered in, or in connection with, a Title IV–D case, including:

(1) a fee payable to a district clerk for:

(A) performing services related to the estates of deceased persons or minors;

(B) certifying copies; or

(C) comparing copies to originals;

(2) a court reporter fee, except as provided by Section 231.209;

(3) a judicial fund fee;

(4) a fee for a child support registry, enforcement office, or domestic relations office;

(5) a fee for alternative dispute resolution services;

(6) a filing fee or other costs payable to a clerk of an appellate court; and

(7) a statewide electronic filing system fund fee.

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Sec. 231.205. Limitations on Liability of Attorney General for Authorized Fees and Costs.

(a) The Title IV–D agency is liable for a fee or cost under this subchapter only to the extent that an express, specific appropriation is made to the agency exclusively for that purpose. To the extent that state funds are not available, the amount of costs and fees that are not reimbursed by the federal government and that represent the state share shall be paid by certified public expenditure by the county through the clerk of the court, sheriff, or constable. This section does not prohibit the agency from spending other funds appropriated for child support enforcement to provide the initial expenditures necessary to qualify for the federal share.

(b) The Title IV–D agency is liable for the payment of the federal share of reimbursement for fees and costs under this subchapter only to the extent that the federal share is received, and if an amount is paid by the agency and that amount is disallowed by the federal government or the federal share is not otherwise received, the clerk of the court, sheriff, or constable to whom the payment was made shall return the amount to the agency not later than the 30th day after the date on which notice is given by the agency.

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Sec. 231.206. Restriction on Fees for Child Support or Registry Services in Title IV–D Cases. A district clerk, a county child support registry or enforcement office, or a domestic relations office may not assess or collect fees for processing child support payments or for child support services from the Title IV–D agency, a managing conservator, or a possessory conservator in a Title IV–D case, except as provided by this subchapter.

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Sec. 231.207. Method of Billing for Allowable Fees.

(a) To be entitled to reimbursement under this subchapter, the clerk of the court, sheriff, or constable must submit one monthly billing to the Title IV–D agency.

(b) The monthly billing must be in the form and manner prescribed by the Title IV–D agency and be approved by the clerk, sheriff, or constable.

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Sec. 231.208. Agreements for Reimbursement in Lieu of Fees.

(a) The Title IV–D agency and a qualified county may enter into a written agreement under which reimbursement for salaries and certain other actual costs incurred by the clerk, sheriff, or constable in Title IV–D cases is provided to the county.

(b) A county may not enter into an agreement for reimbursement under this section unless the clerk, sheriff, or constable providing service has at least two full–time employees each devoted exclusively to providing services in Title IV–D cases.

(c) Reimbursement made under this section is in lieu of all costs and fees provided by this subchapter.

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Sec. 231.209. Payment for Services Not Affected by this Subchapter. Without regard to this subchapter and specifically Section 231.205, the Title IV–D agency may pay the costs for:

(1) the services of an official court reporter for the preparation of statements of facts;

(2) the costs for the publication of citation served by publication; and

(3) mileage or other reasonable travel costs incurred by a sheriff or constable when traveling out of the county to execute an outstanding warrant or capias, to be reimbursed at a rate not to exceed the rate provided for mileage or other costs incurred by state employees in the General Appropriations Act.

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Sec. 231.210. Authority to Pay Litigation Expenses.

(a) The Title IV–D agency may pay all fees, expenses, costs, and bills necessary to secure evidence and to take the testimony of a witness, including advance payments or purchases for transportation, lodging, meals, and incidental expenses of custodians of evidence or witnesses whose transportation is necessary and proper for the production of evidence or the taking of testimony in a Title IV–D case.

(b) In making payments under this section, the Title IV–D agency shall present vouchers to the comptroller that have been sworn to by the custodian or witness and approved by the agency. The voucher shall be sufficient to authorize payment without the necessity of a written contract.

(c) The Title IV–D agency may directly pay a commercial transportation company or commercial lodging establishment for the expense of transportation or lodging of a custodian or witness.

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Sec. 231.211. Award of Cost Against Nonprevailing Party in Title IV–D Case.

(a) At the conclusion of a Title IV–D case, the court may assess attorney's fees and all court costs as authorized by law against the nonprevailing party, except that the court may not assess those amounts against the Title IV–D agency or a private attorney or political subdivision that has entered into a contract under this chapter or any party to whom the agency has provided services under this chapter. Such fees and costs may not exceed reasonable and necessary costs as determined by the court.

(b) The clerk of the court may take any action necessary to collect any fees or costs assessed under this section.

Subch. D. Location of Parents and Resources

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Sec. 231.301. Title IV–D Parent Locator Services.

(a) The parent locator service conducted by the Title IV–D agency shall be used to obtain information for:

(1) child support establishment and enforcement purposes regarding the identity, social security number, location, employer and employment benefits, income, and assets or debts of any individual under an obligation to pay child or medical support or to whom a support obligation is owed; or

(2) the establishment of paternity.

(b) As authorized by federal law, the following persons may receive information under this section:

(1) a person or entity that contracts with the Title IV–D agency to provide services authorized under Title IV–D or an employee of the Title IV–D agency;

(2) an attorney who has the duty or authority, by law, to enforce an order for possession of or access to a child;

(3) a court, or an agent of the court, having jurisdiction to render or enforce an order for possession of or access to a child;

(4) the resident parent, legal guardian, attorney, or agent of a child who is not receiving public assistance; and

(5) a state agency that administers a program operated under a state plan as provided by 42 U.S.C. Section 653(c).

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Sec. 231.302. Information to Assist in Location of Persons or Property.

(a) The Title IV–D agency of this or another state may request and obtain information relating to the identity, location, employment, compensation, benefits, income, and property holdings or other assets of any person from a state or local government agency, private company, institution, or other entity as necessary to establish, modify, or enforce a support order.

(b) A government agency, private company, institution, or other entity shall provide the information requested under Subsection (a) directly to the Title IV–D agency not later than the seventh day after the request to obtain information is received, without the requirement of payment of a fee for the information, and shall, subject to safeguards on privacy and information security, provide the information in the most efficient and expeditious manner available, including electronic or automated transfer and interface. Any individual or entity disclosing information under this section in response to a request from a Title IV–D agency may not be held liable in any civil action or proceeding to any person for the disclosure of information under this subsection.

(c) Except as provided by Subsection (c–1) or (c–2), to assist in the administration of laws relating to child support enforcement under Parts A and D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 601 et seq. and 42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.):

(1) each licensing authority shall request and each applicant for a license shall provide the applicant's social security number;

(2) each agency administering a contract that provides for a payment of state funds shall request and each individual or entity bidding on a state contract shall provide the individual's or entity's social security number as required by Section 231.006; and

(3) each agency administering a state–funded grant or loan program shall request and each applicant for a grant or loan shall provide the applicant's social security number as required by Section 231.006.

(c–1) For purposes of issuing a license to carry a concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, the Department of Public Safety is not required to request, and an applicant is not required to provide, the applicant's social security number.

(c–2) For purposes of issuing a fishing or hunting license, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is not required to request, and an applicant is not required to provide, the applicant's social security number if the applicant is 13 years of age or younger.

(d) This section does not limit the right of an agency or licensing authority to collect and use a social security number under another provision of law.

(e) Except as provided by Subsection (d), a social security number provided under this section is confidential and may be disclosed only for the purposes of responding to a request for information from an agency operating under the provisions of Part A or D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sections 601 et seq. and 651 et seq).

(f) Information collected by the Title IV–D agency under this section may be used only for child support purposes.

(g) In this section, "licensing authority" has the meaning assigned by Section 232.001.

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Sec. 231.303. Title IV–D Administrative Subpoena.

(a) The Title IV–D agency of this state or another state may issue an administrative subpoena to any individual or private or public entity in this state to furnish information necessary to carry out the purposes of child support enforcement under 42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq. or this chapter.

(b) An individual or entity receiving an administrative subpoena under this section shall comply with the subpoena. The Title IV–D agency may impose a fine in an amount not to exceed $500 on an individual or entity that fails without good cause to comply with an administrative subpoena. An alleged or presumed father or a parent who fails to comply with a subpoena without good cause may also be subject to license suspension under Chapter 232.

(c) A court may compel compliance with an administrative subpoena and with any administrative fine for failure to comply with the subpoena and may award attorney's fees and costs to the Title IV–D agency in enforcing an administrative subpoena on proof that an individual or organization failed without good cause to comply with the subpoena.

(d) An individual or organization may not be liable in a civil action or proceeding for disclosing financial or other information to a Title IV–D agency under this section. The Title IV–D agency may disclose information in a financial record obtained from a financial institution only to the extent necessary:

(1) to establish, modify, or enforce a child support obligation; or

(2) to comply with Section 233.001, as added by Chapter 420, Acts of the 75th Legislature, Regular Session, 1997.

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Sec. 231.305. Memorandum of Understanding on Child Support for Children Receiving Public Assistance.

(a) The Title IV–D agency and the Texas Department of Human Services by rule shall adopt a memorandum of understanding governing the establishment and enforcement of court–ordered child support in cases involving children who receive financial assistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code. The memorandum shall require the agency and the department to:

(1) develop procedures to ensure that the information the department is required to collect to establish and enforce child support:

(A) is collected from the person applying to receive the financial assistance at the time the application is filed;

(B) is accurate and complete when the department forwards the information to the agency;

(C) is not information previously reported to the agency; and

(D) is forwarded to the agency in an expeditious manner;

(2) develop procedures to ensure that the agency does not duplicate the efforts of the department in gathering necessary information;

(3) clarify each agency's responsibilities in the establishment and enforcement of child support;

(4) develop guidelines for use by eligibility workers and child support enforcement officers in obtaining from an applicant the information required to establish and enforce child support for that child;

(5) develop training programs for appropriate department personnel to enhance the collection of information for child support enforcement;

(6) develop a standard time, not to exceed 30 days, for the department to initiate a sanction on request from the agency;

(7) develop procedures for agency participation in department appeal hearings relating to noncompliance sanctions;

(8) develop performance measures regarding the timeliness and the number of sanctions resulting from agency requests for noncompliance sanctions; and

(9) prescribe:

(A) the time in which the department is required to forward information under Subdivision (1)(D); and

(B) what constitutes complete information under Subdivision (1)(B).

(b) The Title IV–D agency and the Texas Department of Human Services shall review and renew or modify the memorandum not later than January 1 of each even–numbered year.

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Sec. 231.306. Maximizing Medical Support Establishment and Collection by the Title IV–D Agency.

(a) On the installation of an automated child support enforcement system, the Title IV–D agency is strongly encouraged to:

(1) maximize the collection of medical support; and

(2) establish cash medical support orders for children eligible for medical assistance under the state Medicaid program for whom private insurance coverage is not available.

(b) In this section, "medical support" has the meaning assigned by Section 101.020.

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Sec. 231.307. Financial Institution Data Matches.

(a) The Title IV–D agency shall develop a system meeting the requirements of federal law (42 U.S.C. Sections 666(a)(4) and (17)) for the exchange of data with financial institutions doing business in the state to identify an account of an obligor owing past–due child support and to enforce support obligations against the obligor, including the imposition of a lien and a levy and execution on an obligor's assets held in financial institutions as required by federal law (42 U.S.C. Section 666(c)(1)(G)).

(b) The Title IV–D agency by rule shall establish procedures for data matches authorized under this section.

(c) The Title IV–D agency may enter into an agreement with one or more states to create a consortium for data matches authorized under this section. The Title IV–D agency may contract with a vendor selected by the consortium to perform data matches with financial institutions.

(d) A financial institution providing information or responding to a notice of child support lien or levy provided under Subchapter G, Chapter 157, or otherwise acting in good faith to comply with the Title IV–D agency's procedures under this section may not be liable under any federal or state law for any damages that arise from those acts.

(e) In this section:

(1) "Financial institution" has the meaning assigned by Section 157.311; and

(2) "Account" has the meaning assigned by Section 157.311.

(f) A financial institution participating in data matches authorized by this section may provide the Title IV–D agency an address for the purpose of service of notices or process required in actions under this section or Subchapter G, Chapter 157.

(g) This section does not apply to an insurer subject to the reporting requirements under Section 231.015.

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Sec. 231.308. Public Identification of Certain Obligors.

(a) The Title IV–D agency shall develop a program to identify publicly certain child support obligors who are delinquent in the payment of child support. The program shall include the displaying of photographs and profiles of obligors in public and private locations. The Title IV–D agency shall use posters, the news media, and other cost–effective methods to display photographs and profiles of certain obligors who are in arrears in paying child support. The Title IV–D agency shall divide the state into at least six regions for local identification of certain child support obligors who are delinquent in the payment of child support.

(b) The Title IV–D agency may not disclose information under this section that is by law required to remain confidential.

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Sec. 231.309. Rewards for Information.

(a) The Title IV–D agency may offer a reward to an individual who provides information to the agency that leads to the collection of child support owed by an obligor who is delinquent in paying support.

(b) The Title IV–D agency shall adopt rules providing for the amounts of rewards offered under this section and the circumstances under which an individual providing information described in Subsection (a) is entitled to receive a reward.

(c) A reward paid under this section shall be paid from the child support retained collections account.

Ch. 232. Suspension of License

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Sec. 232.001. Definitions. In this chapter:

(1) "License" means a license, certificate, registration, permit, or other authorization that:

(A) is issued by a licensing authority;

(B) is subject before expiration to renewal, suspension, revocation, forfeiture, or termination by a licensing authority; and

(C) a person must obtain to:

(i) practice or engage in a particular business, occupation, or profession;

(ii) operate a motor vehicle on a public highway in this state; or

(iii) engage in any other regulated activity, including hunting, fishing, or other recreational activity for which a license or permit is required.

(2) "Licensing authority" means a department, commission, board, office, or other agency of the state or a political subdivision of the state that issues or renews a license or that otherwise has authority to suspend or refuse to renew a license.

(3) "Order suspending license" means an order issued by the Title IV–D agency or a court directing a licensing authority to suspend or refuse to renew a license.

(3–a) "Renewal" means any instance when a licensing authority:

(A) renews, extends, recertifies, or reissues a license; or

(B) periodically certifies a licensee to be in good standing with the licensing authority based on the required payment of fees or dues or the performance of some other mandated action or activity.

(4) "Subpoena" means a judicial or administrative subpoena issued in a parentage determination or child support proceeding under this title.

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Sec. 232.002. Licensing Authorities Subject to Chapter. Unless otherwise restricted or exempted, all licensing authorities are subject to this chapter.

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Sec. 232.0021. Application of Chapter to Texas Lottery Commission. With respect to the Texas Lottery Commission, this chapter applies only to a lottery ticket sales agent license issued under Chapter 466, Government Code.

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Sec. 232.0022. Suspension or Nonrenewal of Motor Vehicle Registration.

(a) The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is the appropriate licensing authority for suspension or nonrenewal of a motor vehicle registration under this chapter.

(b) The suspension or nonrenewal of a motor vehicle registration under this chapter does not:

(1) encumber the title to the motor vehicle or otherwise affect the transfer of the title to the vehicle; or

(2) affect the sale, purchase, or registration of the motor vehicle by a person who holds a general distinguishing number issued under Chapter 503, Transportation Code.

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Sec. 232.003. Suspension of License.

(a) A court or the Title IV–D agency may issue an order suspending a license as provided by this chapter if an individual who is an obligor:

(1) owes overdue child support in an amount equal to or greater than the total support due for three months under a support order;

(2) has been provided an opportunity to make payments toward the overdue child support under a court–ordered or agreed repayment schedule; and

(3) has failed to comply with the repayment schedule.

(b) A court or the Title IV–D agency may issue an order suspending a license as provided by this chapter if a parent or alleged parent has failed, after receiving appropriate notice, to comply with a subpoena.

(c) A court may issue an order suspending license as provided by this chapter for an individual for whom a court has rendered an enforcement order under Chapter 157 finding that the individual has failed to comply with the terms of a court order providing for the possession of or access to a child.

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Sec. 232.004. Petition for Suspension of License.

(a) A child support agency or obligee may file a petition to suspend, as provided by this chapter, a license of an obligor who has an arrearage equal to or greater than the total support due for three months under a support order.

(b) In a Title IV–D case, the petition shall be filed with the Title IV–D agency, the court of continuing jurisdiction, or the tribunal in which a child support order has been registered under Chapter 159. The tribunal in which the petition is filed obtains jurisdiction over the matter.

(c) In a case other than a Title IV–D case, the petition shall be filed in the court of continuing jurisdiction or the court in which a child support order has been registered under Chapter 159.

(d) A proceeding in a case filed with the Title IV–D agency under this chapter is governed by the contested case provisions of Chapter 2001, Government Code, except that Section 2001.054 does not apply to the proceeding. The director of the Title IV–D agency or the director's designee may render a final decision in a contested case proceeding under this chapter.

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Sec. 232.005. Contents of Petition.

(a) A petition under this chapter must state that license suspension is required under Section 232.003 and allege:

(1) the name and, if known, social security number of the individual;

(2) the name of the licensing authority that issued a license the individual is believed to hold; and

(3) the amount of arrearages owed under the child support order or the facts associated with the individual's failure to comply with:

(A) a subpoena; or

(B) the terms of a court order providing for the possession of or access to a child.

(b) A petition under this chapter may include as an attachment a copy of:

(1) the record of child support payments maintained by the Title IV–D registry or local registry;

(2) the subpoena with which the individual has failed to comply, together with proof of service of the subpoena; or

(3) with respect to a petition for suspension under Section 232.003(c):

(A) the enforcement order rendered under Chapter 157 describing the manner in which the individual was found to have not complied with the terms of a court order providing for the possession of or access to a child; and

(B) the court order containing the provisions that the individual was found to have violated.

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Sec. 232.006. Notice.

(a) On the filing of a petition under Section 232.004, the clerk of the court or the Title IV–D agency shall deliver to the individual:

(1) notice of the individual's right to a hearing before the court or agency;

(2) notice of the deadline for requesting a hearing; and

(3) a hearing request form if the proceeding is in a Title IV–D case.

(b) Notice under this section may be served:

(1) if the party has been ordered under Chapter 105 to provide the court and registry with the party's current mailing address, by mailing a copy of the notice to the respondent, together with a copy of the petition, by first class mail to the last mailing address of the respondent on file with the court and the state case registry; or

(2) as in civil cases generally.

(c) The notice must contain the following prominently displayed statement in boldfaced type, capital letters, or underlined:

"AN ACTION TO SUSPEND ONE OR MORE LICENSES ISSUED TO YOU HAS BEEN FILED AS PROVIDED BY CHAPTER 232, TEXAS FAMILY CODE. YOU MAY EMPLOY AN ATTORNEY TO REPRESENT YOU IN THIS ACTION. IF YOU OR YOUR ATTORNEY DO NOT REQUEST A HEARING BEFORE THE 21ST DAY AFTER THE DATE OF SERVICE OF THIS NOTICE, AN ORDER SUSPENDING YOUR LICENSE MAY BE RENDERED."

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Sec. 232.007. Hearing on Petition to Suspend License.

(a) A request for a hearing and motion to stay suspension must be filed with the court or Title IV–D agency by the individual not later than the 20th day after the date of service of the notice under Section 232.006.

(b) If a request for a hearing is filed, the court or Title IV–D agency shall:

(1) promptly schedule a hearing;

(2) notify each party of the date, time, and location of the hearing; and

(3) stay suspension pending the hearing.

(c) In a case involving support arrearages, a record of child support payments made by the Title IV–D agency or a local registry is evidence of whether the payments were made. A copy of the record appearing regular on its face shall be admitted as evidence at a hearing under this chapter, including a hearing on a motion to revoke a stay. Either party may offer controverting evidence.

(d) In a case in which an individual has failed to comply with a subpoena, proof of service is evidence of delivery of the subpoena.

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Sec. 232.008. Order Suspending License for Failure to Pay Child Support.

(a) On making the findings required by Section 232.003, the court or Title IV–D agency shall render an order suspending the license unless the individual:

(1) proves that all arrearages and the current month's support have been paid;

(2) shows good cause for failure to comply with the subpoena or the terms of the court order providing for the possession of or access to a child; or

(3) establishes an affirmative defense as provided by Section 157.008(c).

(b) Subject to Subsection (b–1), the court or Title IV–D agency may stay an order suspending a license conditioned on the individual's compliance with:

(1) a reasonable repayment schedule that is incorporated in the order;

(2) the requirements of a reissued and delivered subpoena; or

(3) the requirements of any court order pertaining to the possession of or access to a child.

(b–1) The court or Title IV–D agency may not stay an order under Subsection (b)(1) unless the individual makes an immediate partial payment in an amount specified by the court or Title IV–D agency. The amount specified may not be less than $200.

(c) An order suspending a license with a stay of the suspension may not be served on the licensing authority unless the stay is revoked as provided by this chapter.

(d) A final order suspending license rendered by a court or the Title IV–D agency shall be forwarded to the appropriate licensing authority by the clerk of the court or Title IV–D agency. The clerk shall collect from an obligor a fee of $5 for each order mailed.

(e) If the court or Title IV–D agency renders an order suspending license, the individual may also be ordered not to engage in the licensed activity.

(f) If the court or Title IV–D agency finds that the petition for suspension should be denied, the petition shall be dismissed without prejudice, and an order suspending license may not be rendered.

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Sec. 232.009. Deafult Order. The court or Title IV–D agency shall consider the allegations of the petition for suspension to be admitted and shall render an order suspending the license of an obligor without the requirement of a hearing if the court or Title IV–D agency determines that the individual failed to respond to a notice issued under Section 232.006 by:

(1) requesting a hearing; or

(2) appearing at a scheduled hearing.

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Sec. 232.010. Review of Final Administrative Order. An order issued by a Title IV–D agency under this chapter is a final agency decision and is subject to review under the substantial evidence rule as provided by Chapter 2001, Government Code.

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Sec. 232.011. Action by Licensing Authority.

(a) On receipt of a final order suspending license, the licensing authority shall immediately determine if the authority has issued a license to the individual named on the order and, if a license has been issued:

(1) record the suspension of the license in the licensing authority's records;

(2) report the suspension as appropriate; and

(3) demand surrender of the suspended license if required by law for other cases in which a license is suspended.

(b) A licensing authority shall implement the terms of a final order suspending license without additional review or hearing. The authority may provide notice as appropriate to the license holder or to others concerned with the license.

(c) A licensing authority may not modify, remand, reverse, vacate, or stay an order suspending license issued under this chapter and may not review, vacate, or reconsider the terms of a final order suspending license.

(d) An individual who is the subject of a final order suspending license is not entitled to a refund for any fee or deposit paid to the licensing authority.

(e) An individual who continues to engage in the business, occupation, profession, or other licensed activity after the implementation of the order suspending license by the licensing authority is liable for the same civil and criminal penalties provided for engaging in the licensed activity without a license or while a license is suspended that apply to any other license holder of that licensing authority.

(f) A licensing authority is exempt from liability to a license holder for any act authorized under this chapter performed by the authority.

(g) Except as provided by this chapter, an order suspending license or dismissing a petition for the suspension of a license does not affect the power of a licensing authority to grant, deny, suspend, revoke, terminate, or renew a license.

(h) The denial or suspension of a driver's license under this chapter is governed by this chapter and not by the general licensing provisions of Chapter 521, Transportation Code.

(i) An order issued under this chapter to suspend a license applies to each license issued by the licensing authority subject to the order for which the obligor is eligible. The licensing authority may not issue or renew any other license for the obligor until the court or the Title IV–D agency renders an order vacating or staying an order suspending license.

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Sec. 232.012. Motion to Revoke Stay.

(a) The obligee, support enforcement agency, court, or Title IV–D agency may file a motion to revoke the stay of an order suspending license if the individual who is subject of an order suspending license does not comply with:

(1) the terms of a reasonable repayment plan entered into by the individual;

(2) the requirements of a reissued subpoena; or

(3) the terms of any court order pertaining to the possession of or access to a child.

(b) Notice to the individual of a motion to revoke stay under this section may be given by personal service or by mail to the address provided by the individual, if any, in the order suspending license. The notice must include a notice of hearing. The notice must be provided to the individual not less than 10 days before the date of the hearing.

(c) A motion to revoke stay must allege the manner in which the individual failed to comply with the repayment plan, the reissued subpoena, or the court order pertaining to possession of or access to a child.

(d) If the court or Title IV–D agency finds that the individual is not in compliance with the terms of the repayment plan, reissued subpoena, or court order pertaining to possession of or access to a child, the court or agency shall revoke the stay of the order suspending license and render a final order suspending license.

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Sec. 232.013. Vacating or Staying Order Suspending License.

(a) The court or Title IV–D agency may render an order vacating or staying an order suspending an individual's license if:

(1) the individual has:

(A) paid all delinquent child support or has established a satisfactory payment record;

(B) complied with the requirements of a reissued subpoena; or

(C) complied with the terms of any court order providing for the possession of or access to a child; or

(2) the court or Title IV–D agency determines that good cause exists for vacating or staying the order.

(b) The clerk of the court or Title IV–D agency shall promptly deliver an order vacating or staying an order suspending license to the appropriate licensing authority. The clerk shall collect from an obligor a fee of $5 for each order mailed.

(c) On receipt of an order vacating or staying an order suspending license, the licensing authority shall promptly issue the affected license to the individual if the individual is otherwise qualified for the license.

(d) An order rendered under this section does not affect the right of the child support agency or obligee to any other remedy provided by law, including the right to seek relief under this chapter. An order rendered under this section does not affect the power of a licensing authority to grant, deny, suspend, revoke, terminate, or renew a license as otherwise provided by law.

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Sec. 232.0135. Denial of License Issuance or Renewal.

(a) A child support agency, as defined by Section 101.004, may provide notice to a licensing authority concerning an obligor who has failed to pay child support under a support order for six months or more that requests the authority to refuse to approve an application for issuance of a license to the obligor or renewal of an existing license of the obligor.

(b) A licensing authority that receives the information described by Subsection (a) shall refuse to approve an application for issuance of a license to the obligor or renewal of an existing license of the obligor until the authority is notified by the child support agency that the obligor has:

(1) paid all child support arrearages;

(2) made an immediate payment of not less than $200 toward child support arrearages owed and established with the agency a satisfactory repayment schedule for the remainder or is in compliance with a court order for payment of the arrearages;

(3) been granted an exemption from this subsection as part of a court–supervised plan to improve the obligor's earnings and child support payments; or

(4) successfully contested the denial of issuance or renewal of license under Subsection (d).

(c) On providing a licensing authority with the notice described by Subsection (a), the child support agency shall send a copy to the obligor by first class mail and inform the obligor of the steps the obligor must take to permit the authority to approve the obligor's application for license issuance or renewal.

(d) An obligor receiving notice under Subsection (c) may request a review by the child support agency to resolve any issue in dispute regarding the identity of the obligor or the existence or amount of child support arrearages. The agency shall promptly provide an opportunity for a review, either by telephone or in person, as appropriate to the circumstances. After the review, if appropriate, the agency may notify the licensing authority that it may approve the obligor's application for issuance or renewal of license. If the agency and the obligor fail to resolve any issue in dispute, the obligor, not later than the 30th day after the date of receiving notice of the agency's determination from the review, may file a motion with the court to direct the agency to withdraw the notice under Subsection (a) and request a hearing on the motion. The obligor's application for license issuance or renewal may not be approved by the licensing authority until the court rules on the motion. If, after a review by the agency or a hearing by the court, the agency withdraws the notice under Subsection (a), the agency shall reimburse the obligor the amount of any fee charged the obligor under Section 232.014.

(e) If an obligor enters into a repayment agreement with the child support agency under this section, the agency may incorporate the agreement in an order to be filed with and confirmed by the court in the manner provided for agreed orders under Chapter 233.

(f) In this section, "licensing authority" does not include the State Securities Board.

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Sec. 232.014. Fee by Licensing Authority.

(a) A licensing authority may charge a fee to an individual who is the subject of an order suspending license or of an action of a child support agency under Section 232.0135 to deny issuance or renewal of license in an amount sufficient to recover the administrative costs incurred by the authority under this chapter.

(b) A fee collected by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles shall be deposited to the credit of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles fund. A fee collected by the Department of Public Safety shall be deposited to the credit of the state highway fund.

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Sec. 232.015. Cooperation Between Licensing Authorities and Title IV–D Agency.

(a) The Title IV–D agency may request from each licensing authority the name, address, social security number, license renewal date, and other identifying information for each individual who holds, applies for, or renews a license issued by the authority.

(b) A licensing authority shall provide the requested information in the form and manner identified by the Title IV–D agency.

(c) The Title IV–D agency may enter into a cooperative agreement with a licensing authority to administer this chapter in a cost–effective manner.

(d) The Title IV–D agency may adopt a reasonable implementation schedule for the requirements of this section.

(e) The Title IV–D agency, the comptroller, and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission shall by rule specify additional prerequisites for the suspension of licenses relating to state taxes collected under Title 2, Tax Code. The joint rules must be adopted not later than March 1, 1996.

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Sec. 232.016. Rules, Forms, and Procedures. The Title IV–D agency by rule shall prescribe forms and procedures for the implementation of this chapter.

Ch. 233. Child Support Review Process to Establish or Enforce Support Obligations

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Sec. 233.001. Purpose.

(a) The purpose of the procedures specified in the child support review process authorized by this chapter is to enable the Title IV–D agency to take expedited administrative actions to establish, modify, and enforce child support and medical support obligations, to determine parentage, or to take any other action authorized or required under Part D, Title IV, of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.), and Chapter 231.

(b) A child support review order issued under this chapter and confirmed by a court constitutes an order of the court and is enforceable by any means available for the enforcement of child support obligations under this code, including withholding income, filing a child support lien, and suspending a license under Chapter 232.

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Sec. 233.002. Agreements Encouraged. To the extent permitted by this chapter, the Title IV–D agency shall encourage agreement of the parties.

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Sec. 233.003. Bilingual Forms Required. A notice or other form used to implement administrative procedures under this chapter shall be printed in both Spanish and English.

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Sec. 233.004. Interpreter Required. If a party participating in an administrative proceeding under this chapter does not speak English or is hearing impaired, the Title IV–D agency shall provide for interpreter services at no charge to the party.

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Sec. 233.005. Initiating Administrative Actions. An administrative action under this chapter may be initiated by issuing a notice of child support review under Section 233.006 or a notice of proposed child support review order under Section 233.009 or 233.0095 to each party entitled to notice.

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Sec. 233.006. Contents of Notice of Child Support Review.

(a) The notice of child support review issued by the Title IV–D agency must:

(1) describe the procedure for a child support review, including the procedures for requesting a negotiation conference;

(2) inform the recipient that the recipient may be represented by legal counsel during the review process or at a court hearing; and

(3) inform the recipient that the recipient may refuse to participate or cease participation in the child support review process, but that the refusal by the recipient to participate will not prevent the completion of the process or the filing of a child support review order.

(b) In addition to the information required by Subsection (a), the notice of child support review may inform the recipient that:

(1) an affidavit of financial resources included with the notice must be executed by the recipient and returned to the Title IV–D agency not later than the 15th day after the date the notice is received or delivered; and

(2) if the requested affidavit of financial resources is not returned as required, the agency may:

(A) proceed with the review using the information that is available to the agency; and

(B) file a legal action without further notice to the recipient, except as otherwise required by law.

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Sec. 233.007. Service of Notice.

(a) A notice required in an administrative action under this chapter may be delivered by personal service or first class mail on each party entitled to citation or notice as provided by Chapter 102.

(b) This section does not apply to notice required on filing of a child support review order or to later judicial actions.

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Sec. 233.008. Administrative Subpoena in Child Support Review. In a child support review under this chapter, the Title IV–D agency may issue an administrative subpoena authorized under Chapter 231 to any individual or organization believed to have financial or other information needed to establish, modify, or enforce a support order.

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Sec. 233.009. Notice of Proposed Child Support Review Order; Negotiation Conference.

(a) After an investigation and assessment of financial resources, the Title IV–D agency may serve on the parties a notice of proposed child support review order in enforcing or modifying an existing order.

(b) The notice of proposed child support review order shall state:

(1) the amount of periodic payment of child support due, the amount of any overdue support that is owed as an arrearage as of the date of the notice, and the amounts that are to be paid by the obligor for current support due and in payment on the arrearage owed;

(2) that the person identified in the notice as the party responsible for payment of the support amounts may contest the notice order on the grounds that:

(A) the respondent is not the responsible party;

(B) the dependent child is no longer entitled to child support; or

(C) the amount of monthly support or arrearage is incorrectly stated; and

(3) that, if the person identified in the notice as the party responsible for payment of the support amounts does not contest the notice in writing or request a negotiation conference to discuss the notice not later than the 15th day after the date the notice was delivered, the Title IV–D agency may file a child support review order for child support and for medical support for the child as provided by Chapter 154 according to the information available to the agency.

(c) The Title IV–D agency may schedule a negotiation conference without a request from a party.

(d) The Title IV–D agency shall schedule a negotiation conference on the timely request of a party.

(e) The agency may conduct a negotiation conference, or any part of a negotiation conference, by telephone conference call, by video conference, as well as in person and may adjourn the conference for a reasonable time to permit mediation of issues that cannot be resolved by the parties and the agency.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, if the parties have agreed to the terms of a proposed child support review order and each party has signed the order, including a waiver of the right to service of process as provided by Section 233.018, the Title IV–D agency may immediately present the order and waiver to the court for confirmation without conducting a negotiation conference or requiring the production of financial information.

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Sec. 233.0095. Notice of Proposed Child Support Review Order in Cases of Acknowledged Paternity.

(a) If an individual has signed the acknowledgment of paternity as the father of the child or executed a statement of paternity, the Title IV–D agency may serve on the parties a notice of proposed child support review order.

(b) The notice of proposed child support review order shall state:

(1) the amount of periodic payment of child support due;

(2) that the person identified in the notice as the party responsible for payment of the support amounts may only contest the amount of monthly support; and

(3) that, if the person identified in the notice as the party responsible for payment of the support amounts does not contest the notice in writing or request a negotiation conference to discuss the notice not later than the 15th day after the date the notice was delivered, the Title IV–D agency may file the child support order for child support and for medical support for the child as provided by Chapter 154 according to the information available to the agency.

(c) The Title IV–D agency may schedule a negotiation conference without a request from a party.

(d) The Title IV–D agency shall schedule a negotiation conference on the timely request of a party.

(e) The Title IV–D agency may conduct a negotiation conference, or any part of a negotiation conference, by telephone conference call, by video conference, or in person and may adjourn the conference for a reasonable time to permit mediation of issues that cannot be resolved by the parties and the agency.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, if paternity has been acknowledged, the parties have agreed to the terms of a proposed child support review order, and each party has signed the order, including a waiver of the right to service of process as provided by Section 233.018, the Title IV–D agency may immediately present the order and waiver to the court for confirmation without conducting a negotiation conference or requiring the production of financial information.

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Sec. 233.010. Notice of Negotiation Conference; Failure to Attend Conference.

(a) The Title IV–D agency shall notify all parties entitled to notice of the negotiation conference of the date, time, and place of the conference not later than the 10th day before the date of the conference.

(b) If a party fails to attend the scheduled conference, the agency may proceed with the review and file a child support review order according to the information available to the agency.

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Sec. 233.011. Rescheduling Negotiation Conference; Notice Required.

(a) The Title IV–D agency may reschedule or adjourn a negotiation conference on the request of any party.

(b) The Title IV–D agency shall give all parties notice of a rescheduled conference not later than the third day before the date of the rescheduled conference.

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Sec. 233.012. Information Required to Be Provided at Negotiation Conference. At the beginning of the negotiation conference, the child support review officer shall review with the parties participating in the conference information provided in the notice of child support review and inform the parties that:

(1) the purpose of the negotiation conference is to provide an opportunity to reach an agreement on a child support order;

(2) if the parties reach an agreement, the review officer will prepare an agreed review order to be effective immediately on being confirmed by the court, as provided by Section 233.024;

(3) a party does not have to sign a review order prepared by the child support review officer but that the Title IV–D agency may file a review order without the agreement of the parties;

(4) the parties may sign a waiver of the right to service of process;

(5) a party may file a request for a court hearing on a nonagreed order not later than the 20th day after the date a copy of the petition for confirmation of the order is delivered to the party; and

(6) a party may file a motion for a new trial not later than the 30th day after an order is confirmed by the court.

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Sec. 233.013. Determining Support Amount; Modification.

(a) The Title IV–D agency may use any information obtained by the agency from the parties or any other source and shall apply the child support guidelines provided by this code to determine the appropriate amount of child support. In determining the appropriate amount of child support, the agency may consider evidence of the factors a court is required to consider under Section 154.123(b), and, if the agency deviates from the guidelines in determining the amount of monthly child support, with or without the agreement of the parties, the child support review order must include the findings required to be made by a court under Section 154.130(b).

(b) If grounds exist for modification of a child support order under Subchapter E, Chapter 156, the Title IV–D agency may file an appropriate child support review order, including an order that has the effect of modifying an existing court or administrative order for child support without the necessity of filing a motion to modify.

(c) Notwithstanding Subsection (b), the Title IV–D agency may, at any time and without a showing of material and substantial change in the circumstances of the parties, file a child support review order that has the effect of modifying an existing order for child support to provide medical support for a child if the existing order does not provide health care coverage for the child as required under Section 154.182.

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Sec. 233.014. Record of Proceedings.

(a) For the purposes of this chapter, documentary evidence relied on by the child support review officer, including an affidavit of a party, together with the child support review order is a sufficient record of the proceedings.

(b) The Title IV–D agency is not required to make any other record or transcript of the negotiation conference.

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Sec. 233.015. Issuance of Child Support Review Order or Finding that No Order Should Be Issued; Effect.

(a) If a negotiation conference does not result in agreement by all parties to the child support review order, the Title IV–D agency shall render a final decision in the form of a child support review order or a determination that the agency should not issue a child support review order not later than the fifth day after the date of the negotiation conference.

(b) If the Title IV–D agency determines that the agency should not issue a child support order, the agency shall immediately provide each party with notice of the determination by personal delivery or by first class mail.

(c) A determination that a child support order should not be issued must include a statement of the reasons that an order is not being issued and a statement that the agency's determination does not affect the right of the Title IV–D agency or a party to request any other remedy provided by law.

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Sec. 233.016. Vacating Child Support Review Order.

(a) The Title IV–D agency may vacate a child support review order at any time before the order is filed with the court.

(b) A new negotiation conference, with notice to all parties, may be scheduled or the Title IV–D agency may make a determination that a child support review order should not be issued and give notice of that determination as provided by this chapter.

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Sec. 233.017. Contents of Child Support Review Order.

(a) An order issued under this chapter must be reviewed and signed by an attorney of the Title IV–D agency and must contain all provisions that are appropriate for an order under this title, including current child support, medical support, a determination of any arrearages or retroactive support, and, if not otherwise ordered, income withholding.

(b) A child support review order providing for the enforcement of an order may not contain a provision that imposes incarceration or a fine or contains a finding of contempt.

(c) [Repealed]

(d) A child support review order that is not agreed to by all the parties may specify and reserve for the court at the confirmation hearing unresolved issues relating to conservatorship or possession of a child.

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Sec. 233.018. Additional Contents of Agreed Child Support Review Order.

(a) If a negotiation conference results in an agreement of the parties, each party must sign the child support review order and the order must contain as to each party:

(1) a waiver by the party of the right to service of process and a court hearing;

(2) the mailing address of the party; and

(3) the following statement printed on the order in boldfaced type, in capital letters, or underlined:

"I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND THIS CHILD SUPPORT REVIEW ORDER. I UNDERSTAND THAT IF I SIGN THIS ORDER, IT WILL BE CONFIRMED BY THE COURT WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE TO ME. I KNOW THAT I HAVE A RIGHT TO REQUEST THAT A COURT RECONSIDER THE ORDER BY FILING A MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL AT ANY TIME BEFORE THE 30TH DAY AFTER THE DATE OF THE CONFIRMATION OF THE ORDER BY THE COURT. I KNOW THAT IF I DO NOT OBEY THE TERMS OF THIS ORDER I MAY BE HELD IN CONTEMPT OF COURT."

(b) If a negotiation conference results in an agreement on some but not all issues in the case, the parties may sign a waiver of service along with an agreement to appear in court at a specified date and time for a determination by the court of all unresolved issues. Notice of the hearing is not required.

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Sec. 233.019. Filing of Agreed Review Order.

(a) The Title IV–D agency shall file an agreed child support review order and a waiver of service signed by the parties with the clerk of the court having continuing jurisdiction of the child who is the subject of the order.

(b) If there is not a court of continuing jurisdiction, the Title IV–D agency shall file the agreed review order with the clerk of a court having jurisdiction under this title.

(c) If applicable, an acknowledgment of paternity or a written report of a parentage testing expert and any documentary evidence relied upon by the agency shall be filed with the agreed review order as an exhibit to the order.

(d) A child support order issued by a tribunal of another state and filed with an agreed review order as an exhibit to the agreed review order shall be treated as a confirmed order without the necessity of registration under Subchapter G, Chapter 159.

(e) If a party timely files a motion for a new trial for reconsideration of an agreed review order and the court grants the motion, the agreed review order filed with the clerk constitutes a sufficient pleading by the Title IV–D agency for relief on any issue addressed in the order.

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Sec. 233.020. Contents of Petition for Confirmation of Nonagreed Order.

(a) A petition for confirmation of a child support review order not agreed to by the parties:

(1) must include the final review order as an attachment to the petition; and

(2) may include a waiver of service executed under Section 233.018

(b) and an agreement to appear in court for a hearing.

(b) Documentary evidence relied on by the Title IV–D agency, including, if applicable, an acknowledgment of paternity or a written report of a parentage testing expert, shall be filed with the clerk as exhibits to the petition, but are not required to be served on the parties. The petition must identify the exhibits that are filed with the clerk.

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Sec. 233.021. Duties of Clerk of Court.

(a) On the filing of an agreed child support review order or of a petition for confirmation of a nonagreed order issued by the Title IV–D agency, the clerk of court shall endorse on the order or petition the date and time the order or petition is filed.

(b) In an original action, the clerk shall endorse the appropriate court and cause number on the agreed review order or on the petition for confirmation of a nonagreed order.

(c) The clerk shall deliver by personal service a copy of the petition for confirmation of a nonagreed review order and a copy of the order, to each party entitled to service who has not waived service.

(d) A clerk of a district court is entitled to collect in a child support review case the fees authorized in a Title IV–D case by Chapter 231.

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Sec. 233.022. Form to Request A Court Hearing on Nonagreed Order.

(a) A court shall consider any responsive pleading that is intended as an objection to confirmation of a child support review order not agreed to by the parties, including a general denial, as a request for a court hearing.

(b) The Title IV–D agency shall:

(1) make available to each clerk of court copies of the form to request a court hearing on a nonagreed review order; and

(2) provide the form to request a court hearing to a party to the child support review proceeding on request of the party.

(c) The clerk shall furnish the form to a party to the child support review proceeding on the request of the party.

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Sec. 233.023. Time to Request A Court Hearing. A party may file a request for a court hearing not later than the 20th day after the date the petition for confirmation of a nonagreed child support review order is delivered to the party.

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Sec. 233.024. Confirmation of Agreed Order.

(a) On the filing of an agreed child support review order signed by all parties, together with waiver of service, the court shall sign the order not later than the third day after the filing of the order. The court may sign the order before filing the order, but the signed order shall immediately be filed.

(b) On confirmation by the court, the Title IV–D agency shall immediately deliver to each party a copy of the signed agreed review order.

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Sec. 233.025. Effect of Request for Hearing on Nonagreed Order; Pleading.

(a) A request for hearing or an order setting a hearing on confirmation of a nonagreed child support review order stays confirmation of the order pending the hearing.

(b) At a hearing on confirmation, any issues in dispute shall be heard in a trial de novo.

(c) The petition for confirmation and the child support review order constitute a sufficient pleading by the Title IV–D agency for relief on any issue addressed in the petition and order.

(d) The request for hearing may limit the scope of the de novo hearing by specifying the issues that are in dispute.

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Sec. 233.026. Time for Court Hearing.

(a) When a timely request for a court hearing has been filed as provided by Section 233.023, the court shall hold a hearing on the confirmation of a child support review order that has not been agreed to by the parties not later than the 30th day after the date the request was filed.

(b) A court may not hold a hearing on the confirmation of a nonagreed child support review order if a party does not timely request a hearing as provided by Section 233.023.

(c) If the court resets the time of the hearing, the reset hearing shall be held not later than the 30th day after the date set for the initial hearing.

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Sec. 233.027. Nonagreed Order After Hearing.

(a) After the hearing on the confirmation of a nonagreed child support review order, the court shall:

(1) if the court finds that the nonagreed order should be confirmed, immediately sign the nonagreed order and enter the order as a final order of the court;

(2) if the court finds that the relief granted in the nonagreed child support review order is inappropriate, sign an appropriate order at the conclusion of the hearing or as soon after the conclusion of the hearing as is practical and enter the order as an order of the court; or

(3) if the court finds that all relief should be denied, enter an order that denies relief and includes specific findings explaining the reasons that relief is denied.

(b) [Repealed]

(c) If the party who requested the hearing fails to appear at the hearing, the court shall sign the nonagreed order and enter the order as an order of the court.

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Sec. 233.0271. Confirmation of Nonagreed Order Without Hearing.

(a) If a request for hearing has not been timely received, the court shall confirm and sign a nonagreed child support review order not later than the 30th day after the date the petition for confirmation was delivered to the last party entitled to service.

(b) The Title IV–D agency shall immediately deliver a copy of the confirmed nonagreed review order to each party, together with notice of right to file a motion for a new trial not later than the 30th day after the date the order was confirmed by the court.

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Sec. 233.028. Special Child Support Review Procedures Relating to Establishment of Parentage.

(a) If the parentage of a child has not been established, the notice of child support review delivered to the parties must include an allegation that the recipient is a biological parent of the child. The notice shall inform the parties that:

(1) not later than the 15th day after the date of delivery of the notice, the alleged parent of the child shall either sign a statement of paternity or an acknowledgment of paternity or deny in writing that the alleged parent is the biological parent of the child;

(2) either party may request that scientifically accepted parentage testing be conducted to assist in determining the identities of the child's parents;

(3) if the alleged parent timely denies parentage of the child, the Title IV–D agency shall order parentage testing; and

(4) if the alleged parent does not deny parentage of the child, the Title IV–D agency may conduct a negotiation conference.

(b) If all parties agree to the child's parentage, the agency may file an agreed child support review order as provided by this chapter.

(c) If a party denies parentage of a child whose parentage has not previously been acknowledged or adjudicated, the Title IV–D agency shall order parentage testing and give each party notice of the time and place of testing. If either party fails or refuses to participate in administrative parentage testing, the Title IV–D agency may file a child support review order resolving the question of parentage against that party. The court shall confirm the child support review order as a temporary or final order of the court only after an opportunity for parentage testing has been provided.

(d) If genetic testing identifies the alleged parent as the parent of the child and the results of a verified written report of a genetic testing expert meet the requirements of Chapter 160 for issuing a temporary order, the Title IV–D agency may conduct a negotiation conference to resolve any issues of support and file with the court a child support review order.

(e) If the results of parentage testing exclude an alleged parent from being the biological parent of the child, the Title IV–D agency shall issue and provide to each party a child support review order that declares that the excluded person is not a parent of the child.

(f) Any party may file a petition for confirmation of a child support review order issued under this section.

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Sec. 233.029. Administrative Procedure Law Not Applicable. The child support review process under this chapter is not governed by Chapter 2001, Government Code.

Ch. 234. State Case Registry, Disbursement Unit, and Directory of New Hires

Subch. A. Unified State Case Registry and Disbursement Unit

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Sec. 234.001. Establishment and Operation of State Case Registry and State Disbursement Unit.

(a) The Title IV–D agency shall establish and operate a state case registry and state disbursement unit meeting the requirements of 42 U.S.C. Sections 654a(e) and 654b and this subchapter.

(b) The state case registry shall maintain records of child support orders in Title IV–D cases and in other cases in which a child support order has been established or modified in this state on or after October 1, 1998.

(c) The state disbursement unit shall:

(1) receive, maintain, and furnish records of child support payments in Title IV–D cases and other cases as authorized by law;

(2) forward child support payments as authorized by law;

(3) maintain records of child support payments made through the state disbursement unit; and

(4) make available to a local registry each day in a manner determined by the Title IV–D agency the following information:

(A) the cause number of the suit under which withholding is required;

(B) the payor's name and social security number;

(C) the payee's name and, if available, social security number;

(D) the date the disbursement unit received the payment;

(E) the amount of the payment; and

(F) the instrument identification information.

(d) A certified child support payment record produced by the state disbursement unit is admissible as evidence of the truth of the information contained in the record and does not require further authentication or verification.

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Sec. 234.002. integrated system for Child Support and Medical Support Enforcement. The statewide integrated system for child support and medical support enforcement under Chapter 231 shall be part of the state case registry and state disbursement unit authorized by this subchapter.

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Sec. 234.004. Contracts and Cooperative Agreements.

(a) The Title IV–D agency may enter into contracts and cooperative agreements as necessary to establish and operate the state case registry and state disbursement unit authorized under this subchapter.

(b) To the extent funds are available for this purpose, the Title IV–D agency may enter into contracts or cooperative agreements to process through the state disbursement unit child support collections in cases not otherwise eligible under 42 U.S.C. Section 654b.

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Sec. 234.006. Rulemaking. The Title IV–D agency may adopt rules in compliance with federal law for the operation of the state case registry and the state disbursement unit.

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Sec. 234.007. Notice of Place of Payment.

(a) A court that orders income to be withheld for child support shall order that all income ordered withheld for child support shall be paid to the state disbursement unit.

(b) In order to redirect payments to the state disbursement unit, the Title IV–D agency shall issue a notice of place of payment informing the obligor, obligee, and employer that income withheld for child support is to be paid to the state disbursement unit and may not be remitted to a local registry, the obligee, or any other person or agency. If withheld support has been paid to a local registry, the Title IV–D agency shall send the notice to the registry to redirect any payments to the state disbursement unit.

(c) A copy of the notice under Subsection (b) shall be filed with the court of continuing jurisdiction.

(d) The notice under Subsection (b) must include:

(1) the name of the child for whom support is ordered and of the person to whom support is ordered by the court to be paid;

(2) the style and cause number of the case in which support is ordered; and

(3) instructions for the payment of ordered support to the state disbursement unit.

(e) On receipt of a copy of the notice under Subsection (b), the clerk of the court shall file the notice in the appropriate case file.

(f) The notice under Subsection (b) may be used by the Title IV–D agency to redirect child support payments from the state disbursement unit of this state to the state disbursement unit of another state.

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Sec. 234.008. Deposit, Distribution, and Issuance of Payments.

(a) Not later than the second business day after the date the state disbursement unit receives a child support payment, the state disbursement unit shall distribute the payment to the Title IV–D agency or the obligee.

(b) The state disbursement unit shall deposit daily all child support payments in a trust fund with the state comptroller. Subject to the agreement of the comptroller, the state disbursement unit may issue checks from the trust fund.

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Sec. 234.009. Official Child Support Payment Record.

(a) The record of child support payments maintained by a local registry is the official record of a payment received directly by the local registry.

(b) The record of child support payments maintained by the state disbursement unit is the official record of a payment received directly by the unit.

(c) After the date child support payments formerly received by a local registry are redirected to the state disbursement unit, a local registry may accept a record of payments furnished by the state disbursement unit and may add the payments to the record of payments maintained by the local registry so that a complete payment record is available for use by the court.

(d) If the local registry does not add payments received by the state disbursement unit to the record maintained by the registry as provided by Subsection (c), the official record of child support payments consists of the record maintained by the local registry for payments received directly by the registry and the record maintained by the state disbursement unit for payments received directly by the unit.

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Sec. 234.0091. Administrative Review of Child Support Payment Record.

(a) On request, the state disbursement unit shall provide to an obligor or obligee a copy of the record of child support payments maintained by the unit. The record must include the amounts and dates of all payments received from or on behalf of the obligor and disbursed to the obligee.

(b) An obligor or obligee may request that the Title IV–D agency investigate an alleged discrepancy between the child support payment record provided by the state disbursement unit under Subsection (a) and the payment records maintained by the obligor or obligee. The obligor or obligee making the request must provide to the Title IV–D agency documentation of the alleged discrepancy, including a canceled check or other evidence of a payment or disbursement at issue.

(c) The Title IV–D agency shall respond to a request under Subsection (b) not later than the 20th day after the date the agency receives the request. If, after an investigation, the agency determines that the child support payment record maintained by the state disbursement unit should be amended, the state disbursement unit shall immediately make the required amendment to the record and notify the obligor or obligee who made the request under Subsection (b) of that amendment.

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Sec. 234.010. Direct Deposit and Electronic Benefits Transfer of Child Support Payments.

(a) The state disbursement unit authorized under this chapter may make a direct deposit of a child support payment to an obligee by electronic funds transfer into an account with a financial institution maintained by the obligee. It is the responsibility of the obligee to notify the state disbursement unit of:

(1) the existence of an account;

(2) the appropriate routing information for direct deposit by electronic funds transfer into an account; and

(3) any modification to account information previously provided to the state disbursement unit, including information that an account has been closed.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (d), the state disbursement unit shall deposit a child support payment by electronic funds transfer into a debit card account established for the obligee by the Title IV–D agency if the obligee:

(1) does not maintain an account with a financial institution;

(2) fails to notify the state disbursement unit of the existence of an account maintained with a financial institution; or

(3) closes an account maintained with a financial institution previously used to accept direct deposit of a child support payment without establishing a new account and notifying the state disbursement unit of the new account in accordance with Subsection (a).

(c) The Title IV–D agency shall:

(1) issue a debit card to each obligee for whom a debit card account is established under Subsection (b); and

(2) provide the obligee with instructions for activating and using the debit card.

(c–1) Chapter 604, Business & Commerce Code, does not apply to a debit card issued under Subsection (c).

(d) An obligee may decline in writing to receive child support payments by electronic funds transfer into an account with a financial institution or a debit card account and request that payments be provided by paper warrants if the obligee alleges that receiving payments by electronic funds transfer would impose a substantial hardship.

(e) A child support payment disbursed by the state disbursement unit by electronic funds transfer into an account with a financial institution maintained by the obligee or into a debit card account established for the obligee under Subsection (b) is solely the property of the obligee.

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Sec. 234.012. Release of Information from State Case Registry. Unless prohibited by a court in accordance with Section 105.006(c), the state case registry shall, on request and to the extent permitted by federal law, provide the information required under Sections 105.006 and 105.008 in any case included in the registry under Section 234.001(b) to:

(1) any party to the proceeding;

(2) an amicus attorney;

(3) an attorney ad litem;

(4) a friend of the court;

(5) a guardian ad litem;

(6) a domestic relations office;

(7) a prosecuting attorney or juvenile court acting in a proceeding under Title 3; or

(8) a governmental entity or court acting in a proceeding under Chapter 262.

Subch. B. State Directory of New Hires

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Sec. 234.101. Definitions. In this subchapter:

(1) "Employee" means an individual who is an employee within the meaning of Chapter 24 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. Section 3401(c)) or an independent contractor as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. The term does not include an employee of a state agency performing intelligence or counterintelligence functions if the head of the agency has determined that reporting employee information under this subchapter could endanger the safety of the employee or compromise an ongoing investigation or intelligence activity.

(2) "Employer" has the meaning given that term by Section 3401

(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. Section 3401(d)) and includes a governmental entity and a labor organization, as that term is identified in Section 2

(5) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. Section 152(5)), including an entity, also known as a "hiring hall," used by the labor organization and an employer to carry out requirements of an agreement between the organization and an employer described in Section 8(f)(3) of that Act (29 U.S.C. Section 158(f)(3)).

(3) "Newly hired employee" means an employee who:

(A) has not been previously employed by the employer; or

(B) was previously employed by the employer but has been separated from that employment for at least 60 consecutive days.

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Sec. 234.102. Operation of New Hire Directory. In cooperation with the Texas Workforce Commission, the Title IV–D agency shall develop and operate a state directory to which employers in the state shall report each newly hired or rehired employee in accordance with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. Section 653a.

[Contents]

Sec. 234.103. Contracts and Cooperative Agreements. The Title IV–D agency may enter into cooperative agreements and contracts as necessary to create and operate the directory authorized under this subchapter.

[Contents]

Sec. 234.104. Procedures. The Title IV–D agency by rule shall establish procedures for reporting employee information and for operating a state directory of new hires meeting the requirements of federal law.

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Sec. 234.105. Civil Penalty.

(a) In addition to any other remedy provided by law, an employer who knowingly violates a procedure adopted under Section 234.104 for reporting employee information may be liable for a civil penalty as permitted by Section 453A(d) of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 653a).

(b) The amount of the civil penalty may not exceed:

(1) $25 for each occurrence in which an employer fails to report an employee; or

(2) $500 for each occurrence in which the conduct described by Subdivision (1) is the result of a conspiracy between the employer and an employee to not supply a required

(c) The attorney general may sue to collect the civil penalty. A penalty collected under this section shall be deposited in a special fund in the state treasury.

Ch. 236. Competitive Bidding for Child Support Collection Services

[Contents]

Sec. 236.001. Definition. In this chapter, "council" means the State Council on Competitive Government.

[Contents]

Sec. 236.002. Powers and Duties of Council.

(a) The council shall:

(1) establish an initiative called "Kids Can't Wait" to increase child support enforcement;

(2) identify child support enforcement functions performed by the Title IV–D agency that may be competitively bid;

(3) establish guidelines for referral of child support enforcement cases to a contractor;

(4) after consulting with the Title IV–D agency, make recommendations regarding competitive bidding of child support enforcement functions that are identified under Subdivision (2);

(5) consider the benefits of the state's participation in an electronic parent locator network or a similar national service designed to locate parents who owe child support;

(6) study the feasibility of cost recovery options in child support collection actions for children who do not receive public assistance; and

(7) engage in other activities necessary for the administration of this chapter.

(b) The Title IV–D agency shall coordinate with the council regarding competitive bidding of child support enforcement functions identified under this section.

(c) A member of the council may designate an employee of the state agency represented by the member to perform any of the member's powers or duties under this section.

(d) The Title IV–D agency shall cooperate with the council if requested by the council.

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Sec. 236.003. Child Support Collection Agreement. The Title IV–D agency or a contractor awarded a contract under this chapter to collect child support may enter into an agreement with a person liable for the payment of child support. The agreement may relate to any matter that may be adjudicated by a court, including:

(1) the determination of paternity;

(2) the determination of the amount of child support due;

(3) the method of making child support payments;

(4) the imposition of income garnishment or withholding;

(5) the payment of fees;

(6) the reimbursement of costs; and

(7) other child support enforcement matters permitted by state or federal law.

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