Presentation on theme: "Child Support Enforcement IPAC New Prosecutor Training Ethan C. McKinney, St. Joseph County William Welch, IPAC."— Presentation transcript:
Child Support Enforcement IPAC New Prosecutor Training Ethan C. McKinney, St. Joseph County William Welch, IPAC
Federal Performance Measures Paternity Establishment Ratio Support Order Establishment Ratio Current Support Collections Cases Paying on Arrears
Current Support Collections The percentage of your cases that are paying full current support. What this tells you? How good of a job does your office do at collecting the support that is due. This is by far the toughest performance measure to improve.
Cases Paying on Arrears This is merely the percentage of all your cases that paid at least $1.00 towards their arrears in the fiscal year. What does this tell you? How well your office is doing to get people to address arrears owed. This stat can be quickly improved by working reports. 1 payment on the arrears of a minimum of $1.00 is enough to qualify. Arrears only cases are easy. Current support cases must pay the full monthly amount due plus $1.00 on arrears to count.
Enforcement Prosecutor has discretion to use either administrative or judicial enforcement tools. Administrative Enforcement Civil Judicial Enforcement Contempt Power Proceedings Supplemental Felony Non-Support Bill Welch
Administrative Enforcement Collection Calls Non-Payment Letters Driver’s License Suspension Vehicle Liens Property Liens Professional License Suspension Passport Suspension Federal and State Tax Offset Liens on proceeds of lawsuits In office review hearings – Administrative Hearings
Judicial Enforcement Civil Contempt: DPAs must remember we serve a dual role here, yes we are arguing for jail, but the goal is to get money paid for the children. Make sure all your child support DPAs have read: Marks v. Tolliver – IN Case: If NCP is indigent they are eligible for PD before Civil Contempt Hearing Turner v. Rogers – US Supreme Court Case: Attorney not always required if adequate safeguards in place.
Civil Contempt to Enforce Child Support Use of jail is to “coerce compliance” with the order, not to punish. Can be used on all current support cases. Can only be used on arrears only cases if child is still a minor and the money would go into the home for direct support during minority. This could be a zero dollar order case. Corbridge v. Corbridge, 230 Ind, 201 (1952 Ind.) Can not be used when case is arrears-only and no natural duty of support exists any longer.
Authority for Contempt Specific Child Support Contempt Statute: IC § 31-16-12-1 and 31-16-12-6 Alternatively you can file under IC § 34-47-3-1 General Civil Contempt.
Case Screening Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement issued AT-12-01 based on Turner Each case should be reviewed individually Individual review shall examine the actual and present ability to comply- is this realistic? Each office should develop their own plan for case screening prior to filing contempt. What is realistic for you? Caseload Size Staffing Limits Other duties
Administrative Review Hearing We created these prior to Turner and AT-12- 01 to address two main concerns: First: Limited Court Time for Contempt Hearings had us booking court 3-6 months out. Second: We speculated some cases may pay without need of Contempt if we let them know we were considering that step. Now this also serves as our “case screening.”
Admin Review Hearing (Cont) DPAs meet individually with NCP to assess and screen the case. Three Types: Early Intervention, Pre-Contempt and Arrears Only. Advise NCP that this is a voluntary process, we are attorneys for State and they can consult with an attorney prior to speaking with us. Some want attorney, vast majority comfortable talking with us. Questions about ability to pay, work history, criminal history, other cases, other court ordered obligations, etc. This info can then be used by DPAs for case review and case building in court.
Contempt Process Caseworkers create an enforcement checklist of all steps prior to filing for contempt. Document all communication with the NCP. Document all enforcement steps with the NCP. Prep the attorneys for court by reviewing the enforcement checklist. Our Caseworkers prepare a “Prep Sheet” for DPAs.
Information for Rule to Show Cause Information and Rule to Show Cause must include: The Contempt Allegations Failure to pay Child Support Allegations When the Court Issued the Order Party’s History of Child Support Payments Date and Time to appear to answer The Arrearage Owed Must be a “verified” pleading. DPA review prior to filing and put their name on it as the person who verifies information is correct.
Post Turner Safe-Guards Notice that “ability to pay” is a critical issue. Providing a form or the equivalent that can be used to elicit relevant financial information. Opportunity to respond to statements or questions about his/her financial status. An express finding by the court that the non- custodial parent has the ability to pay based upon the individual facts of the case.
Filing the Information Streamlined forms that comply with your local rules. Do they provide the obligor with notice the “Ability to Pay” is a critical issue? We use Quest so we have custom documents, however: ISETS Letter Genie has generic forms your staff can use. Accurate arrearage calculations. Confirm the support order is correct. Confirm the arrears are correct. In cases with private attorneys be sure to request court orders as private bar sometimes forgets to update the clerk. We also issue Notice of Hearing to custodial parent so he/she can appear if they want to. It is our hearing but they may participate in hearing.
Contempt Proceeding Attorney or PD? Information for the Court (Opening Statement) Questions of the NCP Argument for Sentence (Closing Statement) Sentence (Immediate or Suspended) If suspended, further hearing on imposition or right to request immediate execution.
Court Inquiry for Public Defender Court will have questions to justify appointing PD. The same as in a criminal case. DPA to note questions and answers for useful information. Is NCP working? Does NCP have property of value? Who is NCP living with? How is NCP paying rent? DPA use the answers against NCP during Contempt Hearing. Make sure DPA makes a clean record for the Court in case one of your contempt findings is appealed.