Information for Attorneys

Issues for Family Law Attorneys to Be Aware Of When Dealing With The Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA)

  1. Application for Services
    1. Applications must be completed and signed before the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) can provide services.
    2. If no application is received, the CSEA will only process the support payments sent to the agency.
    3. Once an application is completed, additional requests for specific services such as a request for modification should be made in writing.
  2. Release of Information
    1. Because the CSEA’s records are confidential, information cannot be released without the written permission of the parties. The CSEA may request that a signed authorization allowing information to be released be provided to the agency.
    2. Information on one party will not be provided to another party unless it is required by law or it is necessary for the CSEA to establish, modify, enforce, or terminate child support.
    3. The CSEA should be notified when representation ends.
    4. Information may be released to the Family Court for any case pending before the court.
  3. Orders
    1. The requirements of §571-52.6 (provisions for providing information to the state case registry and liability for accident and sickness insurance coverage) and §571-84.5 (social security numbers being placed in the records) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes should be followed.
    2. Because the CSEA can only disburse support payments based upon the terms of the court or administrative order, it is important to ensure that the information necessary for the agency to process the order is included.
      1. The child or children’s name and date of birth must be included.
      2. The address of the payee must be provided.
    3. Current Child Support
      1. The child support amount should be specified in the order. It should not be established by reference to the guidelines or by the income withholding order. If the intent is for the payor to pay only 1/2 of the support amount (or anything other than the full amount) for the first month, that should be specified. The CSEA will charge the full amount of the support for the month if it is not specific.
      2. The CSEA will set up the child support obligation as “per child” unless the order specifically indicates that it is not meant to be “per child”.
      3. The date that the payor is to commence paying to the CSEA should be specified. If it is not specified, the CSEA will use the file date of the order as the commence date. Also, the CSEA will not monitor the cases to determine when the income withholding went into effect (pay direct until Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support (OIW) in effect language).
      4. If the order says to pay through the CSEA, do not instruct your clients to pay directly to the other party.
      5. If custody is changed, appropriate language to terminate any existing child support obligation should be included in the order.
      6. In situations where child support is being offset because of a split custody situation (at least one child resides with each parent), the language in the order should be clear as to what happens when child support ends for one of the children. The parties need to be informed that they should contact the CSEA when child support ends for a child in this situation so that proper action can be taken to ensure that the correct amount of child support is being charged on a monthly basis.
    4. Arrears
      1. The specific dates during which the arrears accrued should be indicated. If not, the CSEA will use the file date of the order as the date the arrears accrued through even though the hearing date may have been months before.
      2. The order should specify whether the payment of the arrears is to be made directly to the payee or through the CSEA.
      3. Arrears owed for the periods that the child or children receive public assistance should not be adjudicated unless the CSEA or the Deputy Attorney General assigned to the agency has been notified.
  4. Direct Payment of Support (top)
    1. If support is to be paid directly between the parties, the provisions that are required under §576D-10(e) and (f) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes should be included in the order.
    2. If there is a prior support order, §576D-10(d) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes requires that there be no arrears owed. If the CSEA receives an order for support that has direct pay language, the agency will zero out any arrears owed (other than arrears owed to the state).
    3. If the CSEA receives an order for support that has direct pay language, the agency will also change its case type (if applicable) to indicate that no CSEA services are to be provided to the parties. If services become necessary in the future, the party requesting services must reapply by filling out an application.
    4. The CSEA will not collect or enforce arrears owed during the direct pay period unless there is a court order establishing the amount owed and specifying that the amount is to be paid through the CSEA.
  5. Orders/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support (OIW)
    1. The OIW should include only child support and spousal support (if spousal support is being ordered in conjunction with child support) amounts. The CSEA is not able to collect and disburse other obligations such as child care costs, private schooling expenses, medical costs not covered by medical insurance, etc.
    2. The amount to be withheld by the employer on the OIW should match with the amounts to be paid on the required obligations in the support order.
    3. The date that the employer is served with the OIW should be provided to the CSEA.
    4. If child support is terminated, any existing OIW should also be terminated.
  6. Orders in Related Dockets
    1. Appropriate action should be taken to resolve any existing orders in related dockets. For example, if an adoption is taking place, the support order (including the OIW) in a related paternity or divorce case should be terminated.
    2. If there are any child support orders issued by another state or if all parties (including the subject children) under a Hawaii child support order no longer reside in this state, the provisions of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Action (UIFSA), §576B of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, must be followed when child support is being addressed.
  7. Payments Received for Support
    1. Payments are disbursed based upon a court or administrative order. If the CSEA receives an amount other than what is ordered or other than what the CSEA by law is able to collect and disburse, the full amount may not be disbursed and the difference may be returned to the payor.
    2. Payment should include payor name (first, middle initial, last, and modifier, if applicable) and payor social security number. Please note that if the payor has multiple cases, there are federal regulations that require that payments be applied to current support across all the payor’s cases.
  8. Credit for Support Not Paid Through the CSEA
    1. If credit is to be given when the support order required payment to be made through the CSEA, the order should include the specific amount and the time period that the credit covers. The CSEA will only credit up to the amount due for the applicable period or the current amount due, whichever is less. An overpayment situation will not be created in the CSEA’s records because of direct payments made to the custodial parent.
    2. Where the order required payment to be made through the CSEA, credit for payment(s) made directly to the payee during a period that the child or children received public assistance will not be given unless the payee reported receiving such payment(s) to the Department of Human Services.
  9. Contacting the CSEA
    1. An attorney wishing to speak to a CSEA representative during public office hours can do so by calling the CSEA’s public access telephone number and saying “Special Contacts” and “Attorney” when prompted by the recorded message.
    2. Correspondence and copies of order may be faxed directly to any of the CSEA’s branch offices.
    3. For the telephone and fax number, please go to Office Locations.