Author; Karma Dixon & Emma Chacon
Utah Code Ann. subsection 62A-11-403 and 78-45-7.1 requires that whenever a child support order is issued or modified in the State of Utah, the obligor's income is subject to immediate income withholding. In addition, state law requires that all child support orders issued by a court or administrative body after January 1, 1994 must contain a provision for immediate income withholding unless the court finds good cause for not requiring the withholding or the court has approved an alternate arrangement between the parties. The court must make a written finding of good cause or approval of an alternative arrangement. In addition, if for any reason a specific provision is not included in the child support order, the obligor's income is nevertheless subject to immediate income withholding. Income withholding has dramatically increased the payment of support for children.
Income withholding can be commenced by:
1. The Office of Recovery Services under Title 62A Chapter 11 Part 400 if either party to the order applies for full child support with ORS, or;
2. The court under Title 62A Chapter 11 Part 500.
In order to have the Office of Recovery Services (ORS), initiate income withholding to collect child support, it is necessary to have an open case for full child support services with ORS.
If you prefer to have the court initiate income withholding, state law still requires that all payments be processed through a state distribution unit (SDU) designated in statute. The designated SDU for Utah is the Office of Recovery Services. In these cases, ORS provides only the withholding record keeping. Full child support services cannot be provided in these cases, but the accounting function will be done without charge. These cases are called Non-IV-D income withholding because they are not subject to many of the child support program requirements established in Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.
How Does Non IV-D Income Withholding Work?
If you have a judicial or administrative order for child support that is subject to income withholding you may go directly to the clerk of the District court and file an ex parte motion for income withholding. The forms are available from the clerk. Once the motion has been granted and signed by the judge, the requesting party must:
* Mail a copy of the Notice of Income Withholding to the non-custodial parent's employer
* Mail a copy of the notice to the non-requesting party
* Mail a copy of the notice to the Office of Recovery Services - Attn: T-59
The notice instructs the employer to forward withheld support to ORS. ORS is responsible to document and distribute the child support payments to the custodial parent. Either party to the order may request this service through the clerk of the court.
Non IV-D case services are limited in nature and not subject to many of the requirements or benefits associated with full IV-D child support services. Since the services provided under the Non IV-D program are limited, the program may not meet the needs of everyone. Listed below are some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with the Non IV-D program.
Advantages of Non IV-D Services
* ORS does not charge a fee for Non IV-D services
* ORS acts as a clearinghouse for all payments received on Non IV-D cases. Payments received are processed, recorded, and disbursed to the child support recipient within two days of receipt
* ORS plays a minimal role in the child support collection process
* Either party to the order may open a full IV-D services case with ORS at any point by completing an application for services. There is no application fee.
Disadvantages of Non IV-D Services
* Since Non IV-D services are limited in nature, ORS cannot do the following on Non IV-D cases:
* Engage in locate activities to find non-custodial parents, their income or assets
* Issue, modify, or terminate Notices to Withhold for income withholding
* Make adjustments to the amount of ongoing child support or the withholding amount as children emancipate
* Provide any other enforcement action such as tax intercept, levy on assets, etc.
* Review or initiate modification of judicial or administrative orders for child support
* Monitor cases for monthly payment delinquencies
* Collections are limited to current child and spousal support only. Non IV-D services do not allow for the collection of medical, day care, or other arrears debts that may be owed.
Responsibilities of Non IV-D Parties
The responsibilities of the requesting party who is taking advantage of Non IV-D services are outlined in Utah Code Ann. subsection 62A-11-502, and in the Utah Administrative Code, Rule R527-301. The responsibilities of the requesting party include:
* Establishing, modifying, or terminating income withholding through the clerk of the court. Specifically, this requirement places the responsibility of making these changes with the non-custodial and custodial parent. ORS cannot provide these services.
* Providing copies of income withholding to all parties involved (employer, non-requesting party, and ORS).
Criteria for Successful Non IV-D Cases
Clearly, Non IV-D child support services are not for everyone. The following criteria may be useful in deciding if your case might be appropriate for Non IV-D services:
* The non-custodial parent has a stable employment history.
* You want to keep ORS involvement to a minimum.
* Both parties are willing to resolve any future issues regarding child support directly through the court.
More information regarding this subject is available on the web at www.ors.utah.gov or www.utahbar.org/sections/familylaw or by contacting your local clerk of court or the Office of Recovery Services at (801) 536-8500 or 1-800 662-8525.