Enforcement of Support Order

What is income withholding? How does it work?

An income withholding order requires the employer to deduct child support from the employee’s paycheck. An Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support is sent to the non-custodial parent’s employer and tells the employer when to begin, how much to deduct, and where to send the support amount withheld.

If you are an employer, the Hawaii Employers’ Guide to Income Withholding provides a brief summary of your legal responsibility under the Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 571-52, Section 576E-1, and Section 576E-16.

Can Federal income tax refunds be taken to collect past-due child support?

Yes. The amount owed to the custodial parent must be $500 or more, while the amount owed to the State is $150 or more. The State balance accrued during periods when public assistance benefits were paid to the family.

As the non-custodial parent, what happens if I have remarried, and part of the Federal income tax refund belongs to my new spouse?

Depending on State laws regarding community property, all or part of your spouse’s Federal tax refund may be taken to pay your child support obligation.

If you and your new spouse (called “injured” spouse) file a joint income tax return, your spouse may be able to get back his or her share of the refund. Your spouse may file a request for an Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation of a joint return with the IRS, to claim his or her portion of any refund due. Form 8379 (Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation) can be obtained from the IRS Website. The IRS encourages the injured spouse to file the claim at the same time the tax return is filed.

If the State child support agency is aware that you have filed a joint IRS return with your new spouse, the State may hold part or all of the tax refund for up to six months, while waiting for IRS notification regarding the Injured Spouse Claim.

My children are no longer minors. Will the obligation still be submitted for Federal Tax Refund Offset?

Yes, as long as all the criteria for submission are met. Past-due child support amounts exceeding the thresholds will be submitted. The thresholds are:

•$500 or more for amounts owed to the custodial parent and the custodial parent’s address is known.
•$150 or more for amounts owed to the State for periods when public assistance benefits were paid to the family.

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 removed the restriction of submitting only the amounts owed to the custodial parent while the child was a minor. CSEA implemented the change effective October 1, 2007, resulting in an increase of 20% more obligors being submitted for Federal Tax Refund Offset.

The non-custodial parent refuses to pay child support, but is planning a vacation to Europe. Will the non-custodial parent’s passport be denied?

Under the Passport Denial Program, states certify cases in which the non-custodial parent (NCP) owes more than $2,500 in past due child support. The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) transmits the information to the Department of State so that a U.S. passport will not be issued or renewed to someone who is not supporting his or her children.

What steps should I take if my passport has been denied because of a child support debt?

You must contact your local child support agency to make satisfactory arrangements to pay your delinquent child support obligation. If more than one state reported a delinquency in excess of $2,500, you must reach an agreement with all states involved in order for the passport to be released.

Obligors are not automatically removed from the passport denial program when the debt drops below $2,500. The decision to remove an obligor is based on state policies and procedures. The Hawaii Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) has a policy that requires a $0 balance before allowing passport issuance to an individual who was previously in arrears.

I am a contractor who receives payments from the Federal Government. Why are my federal payments seized and sent to the Child Support Enforcement Agency?

The Administrative Offset Program allows for the interception of certain Federal payments in order to collect past-due child support. Based on the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA) of 1996, the process is managed by the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), through the Financial Management Service (FMS) of the Department of Treasury, in conjunction with the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program.

Types of payments that can be intercepted include payments to private vendors who perform work for a government agency, federal retirement payments, and relocation and travel reimbursements owed to federal employees.

Unlike Federal Tax Refund Offset, which is a program in which State child support enforcement agencies must participate, the Administrative Offset Program is an optional enforcement remedy.

Who gets the money collected through Administrative Offsets?

Administrative Offset funds are first applied to any debt owed to the family. Any remainder is kept by the state to pay a child support debt owed to the state because the family received public assistance.

What kinds of Federal payments are not eligible for Administrative Offset?

Some payments cannot be intercepted through this program. They include Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits, federal student loans, some Social Security payments, Railroad Retirement payments, Black Lung benefits, and payments made under certain programs based on financial need, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Can my State Tax Refund be taken to collect deliquent child support?

Section 231-51 through 231-53 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes permits the retention of Hawaii state income tax refund to satisfy part or all of the child support debt.

As the non-custodial parent, what happens if I have remarried, and part of the State income tax refund belongs to my new spouse?

Withholding for delinquent child support can only be made against the person responsible for the payment of the support. The non-debtor spouse (NDS) may request a refund of his/her portion of the tax refund by writing to CSEA at one of the branch locations. Since the agency will calculate the NDS portion of the tax refund, a copy of the filed Hawaii income tax return must be included with the request.

Are payers who are delinquent referred to the credit bureau?

Section 576D-6 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes and Title 5-31-29 of the Hawaii Administrative Rules provides the Child Support Enforcement Agency with the authority to give information regarding delinquent accounts to any consumer reporting agency (credit bureau).

How does the Child Support Enforcement Agency insure that the Non-Custodial Parent provide medical support for their children?

Federal and state law now requires that the Hawaii Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) notify non-custodial parents’ (NCP) employers to enroll the dependent children in health care coverage (medical insurance). The law requires employers to honor standardized federal National Medical Support Notice (NMSN). When medical support is ordered, CSEA will send the NMSN to the employer along with instructions for complying with the order. The notice:

•Is sent when an order is established and whenever the parents change employment.
•Directs an employer who has a family health care coverage option available to the parent who is an employee to enroll the children from this court case.
•Takes immediate effect.
•Will be sent to the parent’s current and subsequent employers.
•May be contested by requesting an administrative review, but only on the basis of whether or not the health care coverage is available at a reasonable cost.
•Requires that the custodial parent be notified of the enrollment or of the options available under the plan.
If you are an employer, the Employer’s Guide to Medical Support summarizes your legal responsibilities as an employer.

See – Medical Support Enforcement

I want to sell my property, but the Hawaii Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) has placed a lien on my property. What must I do to get it lifted?

A written request must be sent to the CSEA. If the request is not from the non-custodial parent (NCP), a signed authorization from the NCP to release information to the individual or company is required. The request must include a copy of the recorded documents that created the lien. Companies that are requesting a certificate of release on behalf of the NCP may include a lien statement or report to ensure that all liens needed to be released are provided and to confirm the recordation number and date of recording when faxed information is not clear

The certificate of release is filed by the CSEA with the Family Court of the circuit where the order was entered. Certified copies of the filed release are sent to the NCP and to the company requesting the release, as appropriate. The NCP is responsible for recording the release with the Bureau of Conveyances. Although in many instances, the escrow or title companies will record the release on behalf of the NCP.

See – Liens

When is the non-custodial parent considered for license suspension?

A non-custodial parent (NCP) who is delinquent in payment in an amount equal to or greater than the sum of payments for child support for a three-month period is subject to having his/her driver’s license and/or recreational license(s) suspended. If the NCP is delinquent in payment in an amount equal to or greater than the sum of payments for child support for a six-month period, his/her professional and/or vocational license(s) is subject to being suspended.

Can I make a payment plan so that my license will not be suspended?

If the non-custodial parent (NCP) makes a request to enter into a payment agreement, the CSEA worker will prepare the necessary documents to formalize the terms of the agreement. As long as the NCP is meeting the terms of the agreement, no further action is taken to suspend the NCP’s license(s).

See – License Suspension

What is the Multi-State Financial Institution Data Match (MSFIDM) Program?

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) assists States in conducting data matches with Multi-state financial Institutions (MSFI). A MSFI is defined as a financial institution operating (i.e. has offices – brick & mortar) in two or more states. If a bank or credit union does not have physical locations in two or more states it is then up to that particular financial institution’s legal/compliance division to determine whether the financial institution would qualify as a MSFI based on the applicable state laws and the types of financial transactions they perform.

What is the purpose of the Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM) program?

The purpose of FIDM is to identify financial assets belonging to delinquent child support obligors. Once identified, these assets may be frozen and seized by the Child Support Enforcement Agency.

See – Financial Institution Data Match