General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 119A Child Support Enforcement - Section 3 Actions to enforce subrogation rights; notice

Section 3. (a) In enforcing the subrogation rights of the department of transitional assistance, the department of children and families and the division of medical assistance, the IV-D agency may file an action either in the name of the recipient of public assistance or in the name of the department or both. Upon the request of an individual who is not a recipient of public assistance, the IV-D agency may file an action in the name of the individual. The provision of IV-D services under this chapter, which shall include services by an attorney employed by, under contract to, or representing the IV-D agency, shall create an attorney-client relationship with the IV-D agency and not the individual who may benefit from the service; provided, however, that the confidentiality of information furnished by any such individual shall be protected from disclosure to the extent provided by federal and state law.

(b) The IV-D agency shall provide notice by first class mail to the address in the state case registry as set forth in rule 4(d)(2) of the Massachusetts Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure to individuals who have applied for or are receiving IV-D services, or who are parties to cases in which IV-D services are being provided, of all complaints and motions which the IV-D agency files or of proceedings of which the IV-D agency receives notice pursuant to court rule, in which support obligations might be established or modified, and the IV-D agency or the issuing court shall provide a copy of any order establishing or modifying a child support obligation, or, in the case of a request for modification made by either parent, a notice of determination that there should be no change in the amount of the child support award, within 14 days after issuance of such order or determination.

(c) The IV-D agency may use any method available to a private party to collect support, including the following:

(1) if no support order is outstanding, the IV-D agency may seek to obtain a support order on any outstanding complaint for divorce, separate support, paternity or support or on any petition filed pursuant to section 24 of chapter 119;

(2) the IV-D agency may seek to obtain a modification of any outstanding court order for support, including health care coverage, on a complaint or judgment of divorce, separate support, paternity or support or may modify the order pursuant to section 3B;

(3) the IV-D agency may institute contempt proceedings under section 34A of chapter 215 to compel compliance with a court order or may institute proceedings to seek entry of a qualified domestic relations order pursuant to the Employee Retirement Security Act, 29 U.S.C. section 1056;

(4) the IV-D agency may intervene or appear in actions for divorce, separate support, paternity, support, appointment as guardian of a minor, care and protection or proceedings supplemental thereto, and in trust proceedings in which an obligor has a beneficial interest, for the purpose of advising the court as to the financial interest of the commonwealth in the action, when either or both of the parties or their child is receiving public assistance or has received public assistance or is receiving IV-D services or for the purpose of seeking a qualified domestic relations order, pursuant to said Employee Retirement Income Security Act, if an arrearage is owed to the IV-D agency pursuant to an existing court order or judgment for support;

(5) if no action is pending or has been adjudicated, the IV-D agency may file an action to establish paternity and support pursuant to chapter 209C or a civil action to establish support pursuant to section 32F of chapter 209 or the IV-D agency may act to enforce a support order that has previously been issued by a court of competent jurisdiction by contempt or other proceedings;

(6) the IV-D agency may apply for a complaint under chapter 273;

(7) the IV-D agency may file a petition or register an order under chapter 209D;

(8) the IV-D agency may file a petition under chapter 203 for the purpose of distribution of trust income; and

(9) the IV-D agency may file a complaint under chapter 109A alleging a fraudulent transfer by an obligor on the basis of evidence showing a prima facie case that an obligor has transferred income or property to avoid payment of a support obligation.

(d) Whenever the IV-D agency seeks to establish or enforce payment of any arrearage for past failure to pay support, it shall not seek an order which would directly or indirectly result in a decrease in the amount of the current support paid to or on behalf of the child or spouse to whom, or on whose behalf, it is owed. In an action to enforce payment of arrears or determine the current support obligation, the existence or amount of any arrears shall not be a basis for rebutting the current support obligation determined under the child support guidelines promulgated by the chief justice of the trial court.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015