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CHAPTER 231. TITLE IV-D SERVICES

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FAMILY CODETITLE 5. THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP AND THE SUIT AFFECTING THEPARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIPSUBTITLE D. ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICESCHAPTER 231. TITLE IV-D SERVICESSUBCHAPTER A. ADMINISTRATION OF TITLE IV-D PROGRAMSec. 231.001.DESIGNATION OF TITLE IV-D AGENCY.The office ofthe attorney general is designated as the state's Title IV-Dagency.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 231.0011.DEVELOPMENT OF STATEWIDE INTEGRATED SYSTEM FORCHILD SUPPORT AND MEDICAL SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT.(a)The TitleIV-D agency shall have final approval authority on any contractor proposal for delivery of Title IV-D services under thissection and in coordination with the Texas Judicial Council, theOffice of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System, thefederal Office of Child Support Enforcement, and state, county,and local officials, shall develop and implement a statewideintegrated system for child support and medical supportenforcement, employing federal, state, local, and privateresources to:(1)unify child support registry functions;(2)record and track all child support orders entered in thestate;(3)establish an automated enforcement process which will usedelinquency monitoring, billing, and other enforcement techniquesto ensure the payment of current support;(4)incorporate existing enforcement resources into the systemto obtain maximum benefit from state and federal funding; and(5)ensure accountability for all participants in the process,including state, county, and local officials, privatecontractors, and the judiciary.(b)Counties and other providers of child support services shallbe required, as a condition of participation in the unifiedsystem, to enter into a contract with the Title IV-D agency, tocomply with all federal requirements for the Title IV-D program,and to maintain at least the current level of funding foractivities which are proposed to be included in the integratedchild support system.(c)The Title IV-D agency may contract with any county meetingtechnical system requirements necessary to comply with federallaw for provision of Title IV-D services in that county. All newcases in which support orders are entered in such county afterthe effective date of a monitoring contract shall be Title IV-Dcases. Any other case in the county, subject to federalrequirements and the agreement of the county and the Title IV-Dagency, may be included as a Title IV-D case. Any obligee under asupport order may refuse Title IV-D enforcement services unlessrequired to accept such services pursuant to other law.(d)Counties participating in the unified enforcement systemshall monitor all child support registry cases and on delinquencymay, subject to the approval of the Title IV-D agency, provideenforcement services through:(1)direct provision of services by county personnel;(2)subcontracting all or portions of the services to privateentities or attorneys; or(3)such other methods as may be approved by the Title IV-Dagency.(e)The Title IV-D agency may phase in the integrated childsupport registry and enforcement system, and the requirement toimplement the system shall be contingent on the receipt oflocally generated funds and federal reimbursement. Locallygenerated funds include but are not limited to funds contributedby counties and cities.(f)The Title IV-D agency shall adopt rules to implement thissection.(g)Participation in the statewide integrated system for childsupport and medical support enforcement by a county is voluntary,and nothing in this section shall be construed to mandateparticipation.(h)This section does not limit the ability of the Title IV-Dagency to enter into an agreement with a county for the provisionof services as authorized under Section 231.002.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1,1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 702, Sec. 12, eff.Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 50, eff. Sept.1, 1999.Sec. 231.0012.CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT MANAGEMENT.The personappointed by the attorney general as the person responsible formanaging the Title IV-D agency's child support enforcement dutiesshall report directly to the attorney general.Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1,1997.Sec. 231.0013.DEDICATION OF FUNDS.Appropriations made to theTitle IV-D agency for child support enforcement may be expendedonly for the purposes for which the money was appropriated.Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1,1997.Sec. 231.002.POWERS AND DUTIES.(a)The Title IV-D agencymay:(1)accept, transfer, and expend funds, subject to the GeneralAppropriations Act, made available by the federal or stategovernment or by another public or private source for the purposeof carrying out this chapter;(2)adopt rules for the provision of child support services;(3)initiate legal actions needed to implement this chapter; and(4)enter into contracts or agreements necessary to administerthis chapter.(b)The Title IV-D agency may perform the duties and functionsnecessary for locating children under agreements with the federalgovernment as provided by 42 U.S.C. Section 663.(c)The Title IV-D agency may enter into agreements or contractswith federal, state, or other public or private agencies orindividuals for the purpose of carrying out the agency'sresponsibilities under federal or state law. The agreements orcontracts between the agency and other state agencies orpolitical subdivisions of this or another state, including aconsortia of multiple states, and agreements or contracts withvendors for the delivery of program services are not subject toChapter 771 or 783, Government Code.(d)Consistent with federal law and any international treaty orconvention to which the United States is a party and that hasbeen ratified by the United States Congress, the Title IV-Dagency may:(1)on approval by and in cooperation with the governor, pursuenegotiations and enter into reciprocal arrangements with thefederal government, another state, or a foreign country or apolitical subdivision of the federal government, state, orforeign country to:(A)establish and enforce child support obligations; and(B)establish mechanisms to enforce an order providing forpossession of or access to a child rendered under Chapter 153;(2)spend money appropriated to the agency for child supportenforcement to engage in international child support enforcement;and(3)spend other money appropriated to the agency necessary forthe agency to conduct the agency's activities under Subdivision(1).(e)The Title IV-D agency may take the following administrativeactions with respect to the location of a parent, thedetermination of parentage, and the establishment, modification,and enforcement of child support and medical support ordersrequired by 42 U.S.C. Section 666(c), without obtaining an orderfrom any other judicial or administrative tribunal:(1)issue an administrative subpoena, as provided by Section231.303, to obtain financial or other information;(2)order genetic testing for parentage determination, asprovided by Chapter 233;(3)order income withholding, as provided by Chapter 233, andissue an administrative writ of withholding, as provided byChapter 158; and(4)take any action with respect to execution, collection, andrelease of a judgment or lien for child support necessary tosatisfy the judgment or lien, as provided by Chapter 157.(f)The Title IV-D agency shall recognize and enforce theauthority of the Title IV-D agency of another state to takeactions similar to the actions listed in this section.(g)The Title IV-D agency shall develop and use procedures forthe administrative enforcement of interstate cases meeting therequirements of 42 U.S.C. Section 666(a)(14) under which theagency:(1)shall promptly respond to a request made by another statefor assistance in a Title IV-D case; and(2)may, by electronic or other means, transmit to another statea request for assistance in a Title IV-D case.(h)Repealed by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 164, Sec. 3,eff. May 26, 2009.(i)The Title IV-D agency may provide a release or satisfactionof a judgment for all or part of the amount of the arrearagesassigned to the Title IV-D agency under Section 231.104(a).Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 874, Sec. 1, eff.Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 68, eff. Sept.1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 6.27, eff. Sept. 1,1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1, 1999;Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 310, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.Amended by:Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.164, Sec. 3, eff. May 26, 2009.Sec. 231.003.FORMS AND PROCEDURES.The Title IV-D agency shallby rule promulgate any forms and procedures necessary to complyfully with the intent of this chapter.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 231.005.BIENNIAL REPORT REQUIRED.(a)The Title IV-Dagency shall report to the legislature each biennium on:(1)the effectiveness of the agency's child support enforcementactivity in reducing the state's public assistance obligations;(2)the use and effectiveness of all enforcement toolsauthorized by state or federal law or otherwise available to theagency; and(3)the progress and impact of the Title IV-D agency's effortsto use private contractors to perform Title IV-D programfunctions.(b)The agency shall develop a method for estimating the costsand benefits of the child support enforcement program and theeffect of the program on appropriations for public assistance.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff.Sept. 1, 1999.Sec. 231.006.INELIGIBILITY TO RECEIVE STATE GRANTS OR LOANS ORRECEIVE PAYMENT ON STATE CONTRACTS.(a)A child support obligorwho is more than 30 days delinquent in paying child support and abusiness entity in which the obligor is a sole proprietor,partner, shareholder, or owner with an ownership interest of atleast 25 percent is not eligible to:(1)receive payments from state funds under a contract toprovide property, materials, or services; or(2)receive a state-funded grant or loan.(a-1)Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 972, Sec.65(1), eff. September 1, 2007.(b)A child support obligor or business entity ineligible toreceive payments under Subsection (a) remains ineligible until:(1)all arrearages have been paid;(2)the obligor is in compliance with a written repaymentagreement or court order as to any existing delinquency; or(3)the court of continuing jurisdiction over the child supportorder has granted the obligor an exemption from Subsection (a) aspart of a court-supervised effort to improve earnings and childsupport payments.(c)A bid or an application for a contract, grant, or loan paidfrom state funds must include the name and social security numberof the individual or sole proprietor and each partner,shareholder, or owner with an ownership interest of at least 25percent of the business entity submitting the bid or application.(d)A contract, bid, or application subject to the requirementsof this section must include the following statement:"Under Section 231.006, Family Code, the vendor or applicantcertifies that the individual or business entity named in thiscontract, bid, or application is not ineligible to receive thespecified grant, loan, or payment and acknowledges that thiscontract may be terminated and payment may be withheld if thiscertification is inaccurate."(e)If a state agency determines that an individual or businessentity holding a state contract is ineligible to receive paymentunder Subsection (a), the contract may be terminated.(f)If the certificate required under Subsection (d) is shown tobe false, the vendor is liable to the state for attorney's fees,the costs necessary to complete the contract, including the costof advertising and awarding a second contract, and any otherdamages provided by law or contract.(g)This section does not create a cause of action to contest abid or award of a state grant, loan, or contract. This sectiondoes not impose a duty on the Title IV-D agency to collectinformation to send to the comptroller to withhold a payment to abusiness entity. The Title IV-D agency and other affectedagencies are encouraged to develop a system by which the TitleIV-D agency may identify a business entity that is ineligible toreceive a state payment under Subsection (a) and to ensure that astate payment to the entity is not made. This system should beimplemented using existing funds and only if the Title IV-Dagency, comptroller, and other affected agencies determine thatit will be cost-effective.(h)This section does not apply to a contract betweengovernmental entities.(i)The Title IV-D agency may adopt rules or prescribe forms toimplement any provision of this section.(j)A state agency may accept a bid that does not include theinformation required under Subsection (c) if the state agencycollects the information before the contract, grant, or loan isexecuted.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 82, eff.Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 28, Sec. 1, eff. Sept.1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 437, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1015, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.Amended by:Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.972, Sec. 45, eff. September 1, 2007.Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.972, Sec. 65(1), eff. September 1, 2007.Sec. 231.007.DEBTS TO STATE.(a)A person obligated to paychild support in a case in which the Title IV-D agency isproviding services under this chapter who does not pay therequired support is indebted to the state for the purposes ofSection 403.055, Government Code, if the Title IV-D agency hasreported the person to the comptroller under that sectionproperly.(b)The amount of a person's indebtedness to the state underSubsection (a) is equal to the sum of:(1)the amount of the required child support that has not beenpaid; and(2)any interest, fees, court costs, or other amounts owed bythe person because the person has not paid the support.(c)The Title IV-D agency is the sole assignee of all payments,including payments of compensation, by the state to a personindebted to the state under Subsection (a).(d)On request of the Title IV-D agency:(1)the comptroller shall make payable and deliver to the agencyany payments for which the agency is the assignee underSubsection (c), if the comptroller is responsible for issuingwarrants or initiating electronic funds transfers to make thosepayments; and(2)a state agency shall make payable and deliver to the TitleIV-D agency any payments for which the Title IV-D agency is theassignee under Subsection (c) if the comptroller is notresponsible for issuing warrants or initiating electronic fundstransfers to make those payments.(e)A person indebted to the state under Subsection (a) mayeliminate the debt by:(1)paying the entire amount of the debt; or(2)resolving the debt in a manner acceptable to the Title IV-Dagency.(f)The comptroller or a state agency may rely on arepresentation by the Title IV-D agency that:(1)a person is indebted to the state under Subsection (a); or(2)a person who was indebted to the state under Subsection (a)has eliminated the debt.(g)Except as provided by Subsection (h), the payment ofworkers' compensation benefits to a person indebted to the stateunder Subsection (a) is the same for the purposes of this sectionas any other payment made to the person by the state.Notwithstanding Section 408.203, Labor Code, an order or writ towithhold income from workers' compensation benefits is notrequired before the benefits are withheld or assigned under thissection.(h)The amount of weekly workers' compensation benefits that maybe withheld or assigned under this section may not exceed 50percent of the person's weekly compensation benefits. Thecomptroller or a state agency may rely on a representation by theTitle IV-D agency that a withholding or assignment under thissection would not violate this subsection.(i)Section 403.055(d), Government Code, does not authorize thecomptroller to issue a warrant or initiate an electronic fundstransfer to pay the compensation or remuneration of an individualwho is indebted to the state under Subsection (a).(j)Section 2107.008(h), Government Code, does not authorize astate agency to pay the compensation or remuneration of anindividual who is indebted to the state under Subsection (a).(k)In this section, "compensation," "state agency," and "stateofficer or employee" have the meanings assigned by Section403.055, Government Code.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 83, eff.Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.19, eff.Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1467, Sec. 1.07, eff.Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1158, Sec. 6, eff. June15, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1,2003.Sec. 231.008.DISPOSITION OF FUNDS.(a)The Title IV-D agencyshall deposit money received under assignments or as fees in aspecial fund in the state treasury. The agency may spend money inthe fund for the administration of this chapter, subject to theGeneral Appropriations Act.(b)All other money received under this chapter shall bedeposited in a special fund in the state treasury.(c)Sections 403.094 and 403.095, Government Code, do not applyto a fund described by this section.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 231.009.PAYMENT OF PENALTIES.From funds appropriated forthe Title IV-D agency, the agency shall reimburse the TexasDepartment of Human Services for any penalty assessed under TitleIV-A of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 etseq.) that is assessed because of the agency's administration ofthis chapter.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 231.010.COOPERATION WITH DEPARTMENT OF PROTECTIVE ANDREGULATORY SERVICES.(a)In this section, "department" meansthe Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.(b)To the extent possible, the Title IV-D agency shall:(1)provide to the department access to all of the Title IV-Dagency's available child support locating resources;(2)allow the department to use the Title IV-D agency's childsupport enforcement system to track child support payments and tohave access to the agency's management reports that show paymentsmade;(3)make reports on Title IV-E, Social Security Act (42 U.S.C.Section 670 et seq.), foster care collections available to thedepartment in a timely manner; and(4)work with the department to obtain child support paymentsfor protective services cases in which the department isresponsible for providing care for children under temporary andfinal orders.Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 228, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,1999. Renumbered from Family Code Sec. 231.011 by Acts 2003, 78thLeg., ch. 1275, Sec. 2(53), eff. Sept. 1, 2003.Sec. 231.012.CHILD SUPPORT WORK GROUP.(a)The director ofthe Title IV-D agency may convene a work group representingpublic and private entities with an interest in child supportenforcement in this state to work with the director in developingstrategies to improve child support enforcement in this state.(b)The director of the Title IV-D agency shall appoint themembers of the work group after consulting with appropriatepublic and private entities.(c)The work group shall meet as convened by the director of theTitle IV-D agency and consult with the director on mattersrelating to child support enforcement in this state, includingthe delivery of Title IV-D services.(d)A work group member or the member's designee may not receivecompensation but is entitled to reimbursement for actual andnecessary expenses incurred in performing the member's dutiesunder this section.(e)The work group is not an advisory committee as defined bySection 2110.001, Government Code. Chapter 2110, Government Code,does not apply to the work group.Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1,1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1258, Sec. 25, eff.Sept. 1, 2003.Amended by:Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.972, Sec. 46, eff. September 1, 2007.Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.972, Sec. 47, eff. September 1, 2007.Sec. 231.013.INFORMATION RESOURCES STEERING COMMITTEE.(a)The Title IV-D agency shall create an information resourcessteering committee to:(1)oversee information resource project development for theTitle IV-D agency;(2)make strategic prioritization recommendations;(3)facilitate development of accurate information for thedirector of the Title IV-D agency; and(4)perform other functions as determined by the director of theTitle IV-D agency.(b)The steering committee must include a senior managementexecutive representing each significant function of the TitleIV-D agency. The steering committee may include a personrepresenting:(1)counties; or(2)a vendor contracting with the Title IV-D agency.(c)The director of the Title IV-D agency shall appoint themembers of the steering committee after consulting with theDepartment of Information Resources.Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1,1999.Sec. 231.014.PERSONNEL.The director of the Title IV-D agencyshall provide to the employees of the Title IV-D agency, as oftenas necessary, information regarding the requirements foremployment under this title, including information regarding aperson's responsibilities under applicable laws relating tostandards of conduct for state employees.Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1,1999.Sec. 231.015.INSURANCE REPORTING PROGRAM.(a)In consultationwith the Texas Department of Insurance and representatives of theinsurance industry in this state, including insurance tradeassociations, the Title IV-D agency by rule shall operate aprogram to improve the enforcement of child support, includingthe use of child support liens under Chapter 157.The programshall provide for procedures, including data matches, under whichinsurance companies shall cooperate with the Title IV-D agency inidentifying obligors who owe child support arrearages or who aresubject to liens for child support arrearages to interceptcertain liability insurance settlements or awards for claims insatisfaction of the arrearage amounts.(b)An insurance company that provides information or respondsto a notice of child support lien or levy under Subchapter G,Chapter 157, or acts in good faith to comply with proceduresestablished by the Title IV-D agency under this section is notliable for those acts under any law to any person.Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1023, Sec. 52, eff. Sept. 1,2001.Amended by:Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.767, Sec. 27, eff. June 19, 2009.SUBCHAPTER B. SERVICES PROVIDED BY TITLE IV-D PROGRAMSec. 231.101.TITLE IV-D CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES.(a)The TitleIV-D agency may provide all services required or authorized to beprovided by Part D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act(42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.), including:(1)parent locator services;(2)paternity determination;(3)child support and medical support establishment;(4)review and adjustment of child support orders;(5)enforcement of child support and medical support orders; and(6)collection and distribution of child support payments.(b)At the request of either the obligee or obligor, the TitleIV-D agency shall review a child support order once every threeyears and, if appropriate, adjust the support amount to meet therequirements of the child support guidelines under Chapter 154.(c)Except as notice is included in the child support order, aparty subject to a support order shall be provided notice notless than once every three years of the party's right to requestthat the Title IV-D agency review and, if appropriate, adjust theamount of ordered support.(d)The Title IV-D agency may review a support order at any timeon a showing of a material and substantial change incircumstances, taking into consideration the best interests ofthe child.(e)The Title IV-D agency shall distribute a child supportpayment received by the agency from an employer within twoworking days after the date the agency receives the payment.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 702, Sec. 13, eff.Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 69, eff. Sept.1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 19.01(22), eff. Sept.1, 1999.Sec. 231.102.ELIGIBILITY FOR CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES.The TitleIV-D agency on application or as otherwise authorized by law mayprovide services for the benefit of a child without regard towhether the child has received public assistance.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 231.103.APPLICATION AND SERVICE FEES.(a)The Title IV-Dagency may:(1)charge a reasonable application fee;(2)charge a $25 annual service fee; and(3)to the extent permitted by federal law, recover costs forthe services provided in a Title IV-D case.(b)An application fee may not be charged in a case in which theTitle IV-D agency provides services because the family receivespublic assistance.(c)An application fee may not exceed a maximum amountestablished by federal law.(d)Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 972, Sec. 65(3),eff. September 1, 2007.(e)The Title IV-D agency may impose and collect a fee asauthorized by federal law for each request for parent locatorservices under Section 231.101(a).(f)The state disbursement unit established and operated by theTitle IV-D agency under Chapter 234 may collect a monthly servicefee of $3 in each case in which support payments are processedthrough the unit.(g)The Title IV-D agency by rule shall establish procedures forthe imposition of fees and recovery of costs authorized underthis section.(g-1)A fee authorized under this section for providing childsupport enforcement services is part of the child supportobligation if the obligor is responsible for the fee, and may beenforced against the obligor through any method available for theenforcement of child support, including contempt.(h)The attorney general child support application and servicefee account is an account in the general revenue fund in thestate treasury. The account consists of all fees and costscollected under this section. The Title IV-D agency may only usethe money in the account for agency program expenditures.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1262, Sec. 2, 3, eff.Sept. 1, 2003.Amended by:Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.972, Sec. 48, eff. September 1, 2007.Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.972, Sec. 65(3), eff. September 1, 2007.Sec. 231.104.ASSIGNMENT OF RIGHT TO SUPPORT.(a)To theextent authorized by federal law, the approval of an applicationfor or the receipt of financial assistance as provided by Chapter31, Human Resources Code, constitutes an assignment to the TitleIV-D agency of any rights to support from any other person thatthe applicant or recipient may have personally or for a child forwhom the applicant or recipient is claiming assistance.(b)An application for child support services is an assignmentof support rights to enable the Title IV-D agency to establishand enforce child support and medical support obligations, but anassignment is not a condition of eligibility for services.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 70, eff.Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1023, Sec. 53, eff.Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, Sec. 14, eff. Sept.1, 2003.Sec. 231.105.NOTICE OF CHANGE OF PAYEE.(a)Child supportpayments for the benefit of a child whose support rights havebeen assigned to the Title IV-D agency under Section 231.104shall be made payable to the Title IV-D agency and transmitted tothe state disbursement unit as provided by Chapter 234.(b)If a court has ordered support payments to be made to anapplicant for or recipient of financial assistance or to anapplicant for or recipient of Title IV-D services, the Title IV-Dagency shall, on providing notice to the obligee and the obligor,direct the obligor or other payor to make support paymentspayable to the Title IV-D agency and to transmit the payments tothe state disbursement unit. The Title IV-D agency shall file acopy of the notice with the court ordering the payments and withthe child support registry. The notice must include:(1)a statement that the child is an applicant for or recipientof financial assistance, or a child other than a recipient childfor whom Title IV-D services are provided;(2)the name of the child and the caretaker for whom support hasbeen ordered by the court;(3)the style and cause number of the case in which support wasordered; and(4)instructions for the payment of ordered support to theagency.(c)On receipt of a copy of the notice under Subsection (b), theclerk of the court shall file the notice in the appropriate casefile.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 71, eff.Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1023, Sec. 54, eff.Sept. 1, 2001.Sec. 231.106.NOTICE OF TERMINATION OF ASSIGNMENT.(a)Ontermination of support rights to the Title IV-D agency, the TitleIV-D agency shall, after providing notice to the obligee and theobligor, send a notice of termination of assignment to theobligor or other payor, which may direct that all or a portion ofthe payments be made payable to the agency and to other personswho are entitled to receive the payments.(b)The Title IV-D agency shall send a copy of the notice oftermination of assignment to the court ordering the support andto the child support registry, and on receipt of the notice theclerk of the court shall file the notice in the appropriate casefile. The clerk may not require an order of the court toterminate the assignment and direct support payments to theperson entitled to receive the payment.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 72, eff.Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 52, eff. Sept.1, 1999.Sec. 231.107.CERTIFICATE OF ASSIGNMENT OR OF TERMINATION OFASSIGNMENT.If an abstract of judgment or a child support lienon support amounts assigned to the Title IV-D agency under thischapter has previously been filed of record, the agency shallfile for recordation, with the county clerk of each county inwhich such abstract or lien has been filed, a certificate that anotice of change of payee or a notice of termination ofassignment has been issued by the agency.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 73, eff.Sept. 1, 1997.Sec. 231.108.CONFIDENTIALITY OF RECORDS AND PRIVILEGEDCOMMUNICATIONS.(a)Except as provided by Subsection (c), allfiles and records of services provided under this chapter,including information concerning a custodial parent, noncustodialparent, child, and an alleged or presumed father, areconfidential.(b)Except as provided by Subsection (c), all communicationsmade by a recipient of financial assistance under Chapter 31,Human Resources Code, or an applicant for or recipient ofservices under this chapter are privileged.(c)The Title IV-D agency may use or release information fromthe files and records, including information that results from acommunication made by a recipient of financial assistance underChapter 31, Human Resources Code, or by an applicant for orrecipient of services under this chapter, for purposes directlyconnected with the administration of the child support, paternitydetermination, parent locator, or aid to families with dependentchildren programs. The Title IV-D agency may release informationfrom the files and records to a consumer reporting agency inaccordance with Section 231.114.(d)The Title IV-D agency by rule may provide for the release ofinformation to public officials.(e)The Title IV-D agency may not release information on thephysical location of a person if:(1)a protective order has been entered with respect to theperson; or(2)there is reason to believe that the release of informationmay result in physical or emotional harm to the person.(f)The Title IV-D agency, by rule, may provide for the releaseof information to persons for purposes not prohibited by federallaw.(g)The final order in a suit adjudicating parentage isavailable for public inspection as provided by Section 160.633.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.08, eff.Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 74, eff. Sept.1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 53, eff. Sept. 1,1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.Sec. 231.109.ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING STATE.(a)Attorneysemployed by the Title IV-D agency may represent this state oranother state in an action brought under the authority of federallaw or this chapter.(b)The Title IV-D agency may contract with private attorneys,other private entities, or political subdivisions of the state toprovide services in Title IV-D cases.(c)The Title IV-D agency shall provide copies of all contractsentered into under this section to the Legislative Budget Boardand the Governor's Office of Budget and Planning, along with awritten justification of the need for each contract, within 60days after the execution of the contract.(d)An attorney employed to provide Title IV-D servicesrepresents the interest of the state and not the interest of anyother party. The provision of services by an attorney under thischapter does not create an attorney-client relationship betweenthe attorney and any other party. The agency shall, at the timean application for child support services is made, inform theapplicant that neither the Title IV-D agency nor any attorney whoprovides services under this chapter is the applicant's attorneyand that the attorney providing services under this chapter doesnot provide legal representation to the applicant.(e)An attorney employed by the Title IV-D agency or asotherwise provided by this chapter may not be appointed or act asan amicus attorney or attorney ad litem for a child or anotherparty.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.02, eff.Sept. 1, 1995.Amended by:Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch.172, Sec. 21, eff. September 1, 2005.Sec. 231.110.AUTHORIZATION OF SERVICE.The provision ofservices by the Title IV-D agency under this chapter or Part D ofTitle IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section651 et seq.) does not authorize service on the agency of anylegal notice that is required to be served on any party otherthan the agency.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 231.111.DISQUALIFICATION OF AGENCY.A court shall notdisqualify the Title IV-D agency in a legal action filed underthis chapter or Part D of Title IV of the federal Social SecurityAct (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.) on the basis that the agencyhas previously provided services to a party whose interests maynow be adverse to the relief requested.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 231.112.INFORMATION ON PATERNITY ESTABLISHMENT.Onnotification by the state registrar under Section 192.005(d),Health and Safety Code, that the items relating to the child'sfather are not completed on a birth certificate filed with thestate registrar, the Title IV-D agency may provide to:(1)the child's mother and, if possible, the man claiming to bethe child's biological father written information necessary forthe man to complete an acknowledgment of paternity as provided byChapter 160; and(2)the child's mother written information:(A)explaining the benefits of having the child's paternityestablished; and(B)regarding the availability of paternity establishment andchild support enforcement services.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff.Sept. 1, 1999.Sec. 231.113.ENFORCEMENT OF SUPPORT OBLIGATIONS IN PUBLICASSISTANCE CASES.To the extent possible, the Title IV-D agencyshall enforce a child support obligation in a case involving achild who receives financial assistance under Chapter 31, HumanResources Code, not later than the first anniversary of the datethe agency receives from the Texas Department of Human Servicesthe information the department is required to provide to assistin the enforcement of that obligation.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.03, eff. Sept. 1,1995.Sec. 231.114.REPORTS OF CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS TO CONSUMERREPORTING AGENCIES.(a)The Title IV-D agency shall makeinformation available in accordance with this section to aconsumer reporting agency regarding the amount of child supportowed and the amount paid by an obligor in a Title IV-D case.(b)Before disclosing the information to consumer reportingagencies, the Title IV-D agency shall send the obligor a noticeby mail to the obligor's last known address. The notice mustinclude:(1)the information to be released, including the amount of theobligor's child support obligation and delinquency, if any, thatwill be reported;(2)the procedure available for the obligor to contest theaccuracy of the information; and(3)a statement that the information will be released if theobligor fails to contest the disclosure before the 30th day afterthe date of mailing of the notice.(c)If the obligor does not contest the disclosure within theperiod specified by Subsection (b), the Title IV-D agency shallmake the information available to the consumer reporting agency.(d)The Title IV-D agency shall regularly update the informationreleased to a consumer reporting agency under this section toensure the accuracy of the released information.(e)The Title IV-D agency may charge a consumer reporting agencya reasonable fee for making information available under thissection, including all applicable mailing costs.(f)In this section:(1)"Consumer reporting agency" means any person that regularlyengages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling orevaluating consumer credit information or other information onconsumers for monetary fees, for dues, or on a cooperativenonprofit basis, to furnish consumer reports to third parties.(2)"Obligor" means any person required to make payments underthe terms of a support order for a child.(3)"Title IV-D case" means a case in which services are beingprovided by the Title IV-D agency under Part D of Title IV of thefederal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.)seeking to locate an absent parent, determine parentage, orestablish, modify, enforce, or monitor a child supportobligation.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.03, eff. Sept. 1,1995.Sec. 231.115.NONCOOPERATION BY RECIPIENT OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE.(a)The failure by a person who is a recipient of publicassistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, to provideaccurate information as required by Section 31.0315, HumanResources Code, shall serve as the basis for a determination bythe Title IV-D agency that the person did not cooperate with theTitle IV-D agency.(b)The Title IV-D agency shall:(1)identify the actions or failures to act by a recipient ofpublic assistance that constitute noncooperation with the TitleIV-D agency;(2)adopt rules governing noncompliance; and(3)send noncompliance determinations to the Texas Department ofHuman Services for immediate imposition of sanctions.(c)In adopting rules under this section that establish thebasis for determining that a person has failed to cooperate withthe Title IV-D agency, the Title IV-D agency shall considerwhether:(1)good cause exists for the failure to cooperate;(2)the person has failed to disclose the name and location ofan alleged or probable parent of the child, if known by theperson, at the time of applying for public assistance or at asubsequent time; and(3)the person named a man as the alleged father and the man wassubsequently excluded by parentage testing as being the father ifthe person has previously named another man as the child'sfather.Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 75, eff. Sept. 1,1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff.Sept. 1, 1999.Sec. 231.116.INFORMATION ON INTERNET.The Title IV-D agencyshall place on the Internet for public access child supportinformation to assist the public in child support matters,including application forms, child support collection in otherstates, and profiles of certain obligors who are in arrears inpaying child support.Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 18, eff. Sept. 1,1997.Sec. 231.1165.INFORMATION ON SERVICE OF CITATION.The TitleIV-D agency shall update the agency's child support automatedsystem to inform the parties in a suit of the service of citationin the suit not later than the first business day after the datethe agency receives notice that citation has been served. Theinformation required by this section must be available bytelephone and on the Internet.Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 141, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,2001.Sec. 231.117.UNEMPLOYED AND UNDEREMPLOYED OBLIGORS.(a)TheTitle IV-D agency shall refer to appropriate state and localentities that provide employment services any unemployed orunderemployed obligor who is in arrears in court-ordered childsupport payments.(b)A referral under Subsection (a) may include:(1)skills training and job placement through:(A)the Texas Workforce Commission; or(B)the agency responsible for the food stamp employment andtraining program (7 U.S.C. Section 2015(d));(2)referrals to education and literacy classes; and(3)counseling regarding:(A)substance abuse;(B)parenting skills;(C)life skills; and(D)mediation techniques.(c)The Title IV-D agency may require an unemployed orunderemployed obligor to complete the training, classes, orcounseling to which the obligor is referred under this section.The agency shall suspend under Chapter 232 the license of anobligor who fails to comply with the requirements of thissubsection.(d)A court or the Title IV-D agency may issue an order thatrequires the parent to either work, have a plan to pay overduechild support, or participate in work activities appropriate topay the overdue support.Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.20(a), eff. Sept.1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1072, Sec. 5, eff.Sept. 1, 1999. Renumbered from Sec. 231.115 by Acts 1999, 76thLeg., ch. 62, Sec. 19.01(23), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Renumbered fromSec. 231.115 and amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec.54, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.Sec. 231.118.SERVICE OF CITATION.(a)The Title IV-D agencymay contract with private process servers to serve a citation, asubpoena, an order, or any other document required or appropriateunder law to be served a party.(b)For the purposes of Rule 103 of the Texas Rules of CivilProcedure, a person who serves a citation or any other documentunder this section is authorized to serve the document without awritten court order authorizing the service.(c)Issuance and return of the process shall be made inaccordance with law and shall be verified by the person servingthe document.Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff. Sept. 1,1999.Sec. 231.119.OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM.(a)The Title IV-D agencyshall establish an ombudsman program to process and trackcomplaints against the Title IV-D agency. The director of theTitle IV-D agency shall:(1)designate an employee to serve as chief ombudsman to managethe ombudsman program; and(2)designate an employee in each field office to act as theombudsman for the office.(b)The Title IV-D agency shall develop and implement a uniformprocess for receiving and resolving complaints against the TitleIV-D agency throughout the state. The process shall includestatewide procedures to inform the public and recipients of TitleIV-D services of the right to file a complaint against the TitleIV-D agency, including the mailing addresses and telephonenumbers of appropriate Title IV-D agency personnel responsiblefor receiving complaints and providing related assistance.(c)The ombudsman in each field office shall ensure that anemployee in the field office responds to and attempts to resolveeach complaint that is filed with the field office. If acomplaint cannot be resolved at the field office level, theombudsman in the field office shall refer the complaint to thechief ombudsman.(d)The Title IV-D agency shall maintain a file on each writtencomplaint filed with the Title IV-D agency. The file mustinclude:(1)the name of the person who filed the complaint;(2)the date the complaint is received by the Title IV-D agency;(3)the subject matter of the complaint;(4)the name of each person contacted in relation to thecomplaint;(5)a summary of the results of the review or investigation ofthe complaint; and(6)an explanation of the reason the file was closed, if theagency closed the file without taking action other than toinvestigate the complaint.(e)The Title IV-D agency, at least quarterly until finaldisposition of the complaint, shall notify the person filing thecomplaint and each person who is a subject of the complaint ofthe status of the investigation of the complaint unless thenotice would jeopardize an undercover investigation.(f)The Title IV-D agency shall provide to the person filing thecomplaint and to each person who is a subject of the complaint acopy of the Title IV-D agency's policies and procedures relatingto complaint investigation and resolution.Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff. Sept. 1,1999.Sec. 231.120.TOLL-FREE TELEPHONE NUMBER FOR EMPLOYERS.TheTitle IV-D agency shall maintain a toll-free telephone number atwhich personnel are available during normal business hours toanswer questions from employers responsible for withholding childsupport. The Title IV-D agency shall inform employers about thetoll-free telephone number.Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff. Sept. 1,1999.Sec. 231.121.AVAILABILITY OF BROCHURES.The Title IV-D agencyshall ensure that all Title IV-D brochures published by theagency are available to the public at courthouses where familylaw cases are heard in the state.Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 141, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1,2001.Sec. 231.122.MONITORING CHILD SUPPORT CASES; ENFORCEMENT.TheTitle IV-D agency shall monitor each Title IV-D case from thedate the agency begins providing services on the case.If achild support obligor in a Title IV-D case becomes more than 60days delinquent in paying child support, the Title IV-D agencyshall expedite the commencement of an action to enforce the childsupport order.Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch.268, Sec. 1.10, eff. September 1, 2005.Sec. 231.123.COOPERATION WITH VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCEPROGRAMS.(a)In order to maximize the amount of any tax refundto which an obligor may be entitled and which may be applied tochild support and medical support obligations, the Title IV-Dagency shall cooperate with volunteer income tax assistanceprograms in the state in informing obligors of the availabilityof the programs.(b)The Title IV-D agency shall publicize the services of thevolunteer income tax assistance programs by distributing printedmaterials regarding the programs and by placing informationregarding the programs on the agency's Internet website.(c)The Title IV-D agency is not responsible for producing orpaying the costs of producing the printed materials distributedin accordance with Subsection (b).Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch.925, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.Renumbered from Family Code, Section 231.122 by Acts 2007, 80thLeg., R.S., Ch.921, Sec. 17.001(22), eff. September 1, 2007.SUBCHAPTER C. PAYMENT OF FEES AND COSTSSec. 231.201.DEFINITIONS.In this subchapter:(1)"Federal share" means the portion of allowable expenses forfees and other costs that will be reimbursed by the federalgovernment under federal law and regulations regarding theadministration of the Title IV-D program.(2)"State share" means the portion of allowable expenses forfees and other costs that remain after receipt of the federalshare of reimbursement and that is to be reimbursed by the stateor may be contributed by certified public expenditure by acounty.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 231.202.AUTHORIZED COSTS AND FEES IN TITLE IV-D CASES.Ina Title IV-D case filed under this title, including a case filedunder Chapter 159, the Title IV-D agency shall pay only thefollowing costs and fees:(1)filing fees and fees for issuance and service of process asprovided by Chapter 110 of this code and by Sections51.317(b)(1), (2), and (3) and (b-1), 51.318(b)(2), and51.319(2), Government Code;(2)fees for transfer as provided by Chapter 110;(3)fees for the issuance and delivery of orders and writs ofincome withholding in the amounts provided by Chapter 110;(4)the fee for services provided by sheriffs and constables,including:(A)a fee authorized under Section 118.131, Local GovernmentCode, for serving each item of process to each individual on whomservice is required, including service by certified or registeredmail; and(B)a fee authorized under Section 157.103(b) for serving acapias;(5)the fee for filing an administrative writ of withholdingunder Section 158.503(d);(6)the fee for issuance of a subpoena as provided by Section51.318(b)(1), Government Code; and(7)a fee authorized under a local rule for the electronicfiling of documents with a clerk.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.04, eff.Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.21(a), eff.Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 116, Sec. 2, eff. Sept.1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1217, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,2003.Amended by:Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.972, Sec. 49, eff. September 1, 2007.Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.767, Sec. 28, eff. September 1, 2009.Sec. 231.2025.CONTINGENCY FEES.The Title IV-D agency may paya contingency fee in a contract or agreement between the agencyand a private agency or individual authorized under Section231.002(c).Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 19, eff. Sept. 1,1997.Sec. 231.203.STATE EXEMPTION FROM BOND NOT AFFECTED.Thissubchapter does not affect, nor is this subchapter affected by,the exemption from bond provided by Section 6.001, Civil Practiceand Remedies Code.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 231.204.PROHIBITED FEES IN TITLE IV-D CASES.Except asprovided by this subchapter, an appellate court, a clerk of anappellate court, a district or county clerk, sheriff, constable,or other government officer or employee may not charge the TitleIV-D agency or a private attorney or political subdivision thathas entered into a contract to provide Title IV-D services anyfees or other amounts otherwise imposed by law for servicesrendered in, or in connection with, a Title IV-D case, including:(1)a fee payable to a district clerk for:(A)performing services related to the estates of deceasedpersons or minors;(B)certifying copies; or(C)comparing copies to originals;(2)a court reporter fee, except as provided by Section 231.209;(3)a judicial fund fee;(4)a fee for a child support registry, enforcement office, ordomestic relations office;(5)a fee for alternative dispute resolution services; and(6)a filing fee or other costs payable to a clerk of anappellate court.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 55, eff.Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1023, Sec. 55, eff.Sept. 1, 2001.Sec. 231.205.LIMITATIONS ON LIABILITY OF ATTORNEY GENERAL FORAUTHORIZED FEES AND COSTS.(a)The Title IV-D agency is liablefor a fee or cost under this subchapter only to the extent thatan express, specific appropriation is made to the agencyexclusively for that purpose. To the extent that state funds arenot available, the amount of costs and fees that are notreimbursed by the federal government and that represent the stateshare shall be paid by certified public expenditure by the countythrough the clerk of the court, sheriff, or constable. Thissection does not prohibit the agency from spending other fundsappropriated for child support enforcement to provide the initialexpenditures necessary to qualify for the federal share.(b)The Title IV-D agency is liable for the payment of thefederal share of reimbursement for fees and costs under thissubchapter only to the extent that the federal share is received,and if an amount is paid by the agency and that amount isdisallowed by the federal government or the federal share is nototherwise received, the clerk of the court, sheriff, or constableto whom the payment was made shall return the amount to theagency not later than the 30th day after the date on which noticeis given by the agency.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 231.206.RESTRICTION ON FEES FOR CHILD SUPPORT OR REGISTRYSERVICES IN TITLE IV-D CASES.A district clerk, a county childsupport registry or enforcement office, or a domestic relationsoffice may not assess or collect fees for processing childsupport payments or for child support services from the TitleIV-D agency, a managing conservator, or a possessory conservatorin a Title IV-D case, except as provided by this subchapter.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 231.207.METHOD OF BILLING FOR ALLOWABLE FEES.(a)To beentitled to reimbursement under this subchapter, the clerk of thecourt, sheriff, or constable must submit one monthly billing tothe Title IV-D agency.(b)The monthly billing must be in the form and mannerprescribed by the Title IV-D agency and be approved by the clerk,sheriff, or constable.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 231.208.AGREEMENTS FOR REIMBURSEMENT IN LIEU OF FEES.(a)The Title IV-D agency and a qualified county may enter into awritten agreement under which reimbursement for salaries andcertain other actual costs incurred by the clerk, sheriff, orconstable in Title IV-D cases is provided to the county.(b)A county may not enter into an agreement for reimbursementunder this section unless the clerk, sheriff, or constableproviding service has at least two full-time employees eachdevoted exclusively to providing services in Title IV-D cases.(c)Reimbursement made under this section is in lieu of allcosts and fees provided by this subchapter.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 231.209.PAYMENT FOR SERVICES NOT AFFECTED BY THISSUBCHAPTER.Without regard to this subchapter and specificallySection 231.205, the Title IV-D agency may pay the costs for:(1)the services of an official court reporter for thepreparation of statements of facts;(2)the costs for the publication of citation served bypublication; and(3)mileage or other reasonable travel costs incurred by asheriff or constable when traveling out of the county to executean outstanding warrant or capias, to be reimbursed at a rate notto exceed the rate provided for mileage or other costs incurredby state employees in the General Appropriations Act.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.05, eff.Sept. 1, 1995.Sec. 231.210.AUTHORITY TO PAY LITIGATION EXPENSES.(a)TheTitle IV-D agency may pay all fees, expenses, costs, and billsnecessary to secure evidence and to take the testimony of awitness, including advance payments or purchases fortransportation, lodging, meals, and incidental expenses ofcustodians of evidence or witnesses whose transportation isnecessary and proper for the production of evidence or the takingof testimony in a Title IV-D case.(b)In making payments under this section, the Title IV-D agencyshall present vouchers to the comptroller that have been sworn toby the custodian or witness and approved by the agency. Thevoucher shall be sufficient to authorize payment without thenecessity of a written contract.(c)The Title IV-D agency may directly pay a commercialtransportation company or commercial lodging establishment forthe expense of transportation or lodging of a custodian orwitness.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,1995.Sec. 231.211.AWARD OF COST AGAINST NONPREVAILING PARTY IN TITLEIV-D CASE.(a)At the conclusion of a Title IV-D case, thecourt may assess attorney's fees and all court costs asauthorized by law against the nonprevailing party, except thatthe court may not assess those amounts against the Title IV-Dagency or a private attorney or political subdivision that hasentered into a contract under this chapter or any party to whomthe agen
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  • FAMILY CODE

    TITLE 5. THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP AND THE SUIT AFFECTING THE

    PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP

    SUBTITLE D. ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES

    CHAPTER 231. TITLE IV-D SERVICES

    SUBCHAPTER A. ADMINISTRATION OF TITLE IV-D PROGRAM

    Sec. 231.001. DESIGNATION OF TITLE IV-D AGENCY. The office of

    the attorney general is designated as the state's Title IV-D

    agency.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.0011. DEVELOPMENT OF STATEWIDE INTEGRATED SYSTEM FOR

    CHILD SUPPORT AND MEDICAL SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT. (a) The Title

    IV-D agency shall have final approval authority on any contract

    or proposal for delivery of Title IV-D services under this

    section and in coordination with the Texas Judicial Council, the

    Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System, the

    federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, and state, county,

    and local officials, shall develop and implement a statewide

    integrated system for child support and medical support

    enforcement, employing federal, state, local, and private

    resources to:

    (1) unify child support registry functions;

    (2) record and track all child support orders entered in the

    state;

    (3) establish an automated enforcement process which will use

    delinquency monitoring, billing, and other enforcement techniques

    to ensure the payment of current support;

    (4) incorporate existing enforcement resources into the system

    to obtain maximum benefit from state and federal funding; and

    (5) ensure accountability for all participants in the process,

    including state, county, and local officials, private

    contractors, and the judiciary.

    (b) Counties and other providers of child support services shall

    be required, as a condition of participation in the unified

    system, to enter into a contract with the Title IV-D agency, to

    comply with all federal requirements for the Title IV-D program,

    and to maintain at least the current level of funding for

    activities which are proposed to be included in the integrated

    child support system.

    (c) The Title IV-D agency may contract with any county meeting

    technical system requirements necessary to comply with federal

    law for provision of Title IV-D services in that county. All new

    cases in which support orders are entered in such county after

    the effective date of a monitoring contract shall be Title IV-D

    cases. Any other case in the county, subject to federal

    requirements and the agreement of the county and the Title IV-D

    agency, may be included as a Title IV-D case. Any obligee under a

    support order may refuse Title IV-D enforcement services unless

    required to accept such services pursuant to other law.

    (d) Counties participating in the unified enforcement system

    shall monitor all child support registry cases and on delinquency

    may, subject to the approval of the Title IV-D agency, provide

    enforcement services through:

    (1) direct provision of services by county personnel;

    (2) subcontracting all or portions of the services to private

    entities or attorneys; or

    (3) such other methods as may be approved by the Title IV-D

    agency.

    (e) The Title IV-D agency may phase in the integrated child

    support registry and enforcement system, and the requirement to

    implement the system shall be contingent on the receipt of

    locally generated funds and federal reimbursement. Locally

    generated funds include but are not limited to funds contributed

    by counties and cities.

    (f) The Title IV-D agency shall adopt rules to implement this

    section.

    (g) Participation in the statewide integrated system for child

    support and medical support enforcement by a county is voluntary,

    and nothing in this section shall be construed to mandate

    participation.

    (h) This section does not limit the ability of the Title IV-D

    agency to enter into an agreement with a county for the provision

    of services as authorized under Section 231.002.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 702, Sec. 12, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 50, eff. Sept.

    1, 1999.

    Sec. 231.0012. CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT MANAGEMENT. The person

    appointed by the attorney general as the person responsible for

    managing the Title IV-D agency's child support enforcement duties

    shall report directly to the attorney general.

    Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1,

    1997.

    Sec. 231.0013. DEDICATION OF FUNDS. Appropriations made to the

    Title IV-D agency for child support enforcement may be expended

    only for the purposes for which the money was appropriated.

    Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1,

    1997.

    Sec. 231.002. POWERS AND DUTIES. (a) The Title IV-D agency

    may:

    (1) accept, transfer, and expend funds, subject to the General

    Appropriations Act, made available by the federal or state

    government or by another public or private source for the purpose

    of carrying out this chapter;

    (2) adopt rules for the provision of child support services;

    (3) initiate legal actions needed to implement this chapter; and

    (4) enter into contracts or agreements necessary to administer

    this chapter.

    (b) The Title IV-D agency may perform the duties and functions

    necessary for locating children under agreements with the federal

    government as provided by 42 U.S.C. Section 663.

    (c) The Title IV-D agency may enter into agreements or contracts

    with federal, state, or other public or private agencies or

    individuals for the purpose of carrying out the agency's

    responsibilities under federal or state law. The agreements or

    contracts between the agency and other state agencies or

    political subdivisions of this or another state, including a

    consortia of multiple states, and agreements or contracts with

    vendors for the delivery of program services are not subject to

    Chapter 771 or 783, Government Code.

    (d) Consistent with federal law and any international treaty or

    convention to which the United States is a party and that has

    been ratified by the United States Congress, the Title IV-D

    agency may:

    (1) on approval by and in cooperation with the governor, pursue

    negotiations and enter into reciprocal arrangements with the

    federal government, another state, or a foreign country or a

    political subdivision of the federal government, state, or

    foreign country to:

    (A) establish and enforce child support obligations; and

    (B) establish mechanisms to enforce an order providing for

    possession of or access to a child rendered under Chapter 153;

    (2) spend money appropriated to the agency for child support

    enforcement to engage in international child support enforcement;

    and

    (3) spend other money appropriated to the agency necessary for

    the agency to conduct the agency's activities under Subdivision

    (1).

    (e) The Title IV-D agency may take the following administrative

    actions with respect to the location of a parent, the

    determination of parentage, and the establishment, modification,

    and enforcement of child support and medical support orders

    required by 42 U.S.C. Section 666(c), without obtaining an order

    from any other judicial or administrative tribunal:

    (1) issue an administrative subpoena, as provided by Section

    231.303, to obtain financial or other information;

    (2) order genetic testing for parentage determination, as

    provided by Chapter 233;

    (3) order income withholding, as provided by Chapter 233, and

    issue an administrative writ of withholding, as provided by

    Chapter 158; and

    (4) take any action with respect to execution, collection, and

    release of a judgment or lien for child support necessary to

    satisfy the judgment or lien, as provided by Chapter 157.

    (f) The Title IV-D agency shall recognize and enforce the

    authority of the Title IV-D agency of another state to take

    actions similar to the actions listed in this section.

    (g) The Title IV-D agency shall develop and use procedures for

    the administrative enforcement of interstate cases meeting the

    requirements of 42 U.S.C. Section 666(a)(14) under which the

    agency:

    (1) shall promptly respond to a request made by another state

    for assistance in a Title IV-D case; and

    (2) may, by electronic or other means, transmit to another state

    a request for assistance in a Title IV-D case.

    (h) Repealed by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 164, Sec. 3,

    eff. May 26, 2009.

    (i) The Title IV-D agency may provide a release or satisfaction

    of a judgment for all or part of the amount of the arrearages

    assigned to the Title IV-D agency under Section 231.104(a).

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 874, Sec. 1, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 68, eff. Sept.

    1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 6.27, eff. Sept. 1,

    1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1, 1999;

    Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 310, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts

    2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

    164, Sec. 3, eff. May 26, 2009.

    Sec. 231.003. FORMS AND PROCEDURES. The Title IV-D agency shall

    by rule promulgate any forms and procedures necessary to comply

    fully with the intent of this chapter.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.005. BIENNIAL REPORT REQUIRED. (a) The Title IV-D

    agency shall report to the legislature each biennium on:

    (1) the effectiveness of the agency's child support enforcement

    activity in reducing the state's public assistance obligations;

    (2) the use and effectiveness of all enforcement tools

    authorized by state or federal law or otherwise available to the

    agency; and

    (3) the progress and impact of the Title IV-D agency's efforts

    to use private contractors to perform Title IV-D program

    functions.

    (b) The agency shall develop a method for estimating the costs

    and benefits of the child support enforcement program and the

    effect of the program on appropriations for public assistance.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1999.

    Sec. 231.006. INELIGIBILITY TO RECEIVE STATE GRANTS OR LOANS OR

    RECEIVE PAYMENT ON STATE CONTRACTS. (a) A child support obligor

    who is more than 30 days delinquent in paying child support and a

    business entity in which the obligor is a sole proprietor,

    partner, shareholder, or owner with an ownership interest of at

    least 25 percent is not eligible to:

    (1) receive payments from state funds under a contract to

    provide property, materials, or services; or

    (2) receive a state-funded grant or loan.

    (a-1) Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 972, Sec.

    65(1), eff. September 1, 2007.

    (b) A child support obligor or business entity ineligible to

    receive payments under Subsection (a) remains ineligible until:

    (1) all arrearages have been paid;

    (2) the obligor is in compliance with a written repayment

    agreement or court order as to any existing delinquency; or

    (3) the court of continuing jurisdiction over the child support

    order has granted the obligor an exemption from Subsection (a) as

    part of a court-supervised effort to improve earnings and child

    support payments.

    (c) A bid or an application for a contract, grant, or loan paid

    from state funds must include the name and social security number

    of the individual or sole proprietor and each partner,

    shareholder, or owner with an ownership interest of at least 25

    percent of the business entity submitting the bid or application.

    (d) A contract, bid, or application subject to the requirements

    of this section must include the following statement:

    "Under Section 231.006, Family Code, the vendor or applicant

    certifies that the individual or business entity named in this

    contract, bid, or application is not ineligible to receive the

    specified grant, loan, or payment and acknowledges that this

    contract may be terminated and payment may be withheld if this

    certification is inaccurate."

    (e) If a state agency determines that an individual or business

    entity holding a state contract is ineligible to receive payment

    under Subsection (a), the contract may be terminated.

    (f) If the certificate required under Subsection (d) is shown to

    be false, the vendor is liable to the state for attorney's fees,

    the costs necessary to complete the contract, including the cost

    of advertising and awarding a second contract, and any other

    damages provided by law or contract.

    (g) This section does not create a cause of action to contest a

    bid or award of a state grant, loan, or contract. This section

    does not impose a duty on the Title IV-D agency to collect

    information to send to the comptroller to withhold a payment to a

    business entity. The Title IV-D agency and other affected

    agencies are encouraged to develop a system by which the Title

    IV-D agency may identify a business entity that is ineligible to

    receive a state payment under Subsection (a) and to ensure that a

    state payment to the entity is not made. This system should be

    implemented using existing funds and only if the Title IV-D

    agency, comptroller, and other affected agencies determine that

    it will be cost-effective.

    (h) This section does not apply to a contract between

    governmental entities.

    (i) The Title IV-D agency may adopt rules or prescribe forms to

    implement any provision of this section.

    (j) A state agency may accept a bid that does not include the

    information required under Subsection (c) if the state agency

    collects the information before the contract, grant, or loan is

    executed.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 82, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 28, Sec. 1, eff. Sept.

    1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 437, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

    2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1015, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    972, Sec. 45, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    972, Sec. 65(1), eff. September 1, 2007.

    Sec. 231.007. DEBTS TO STATE. (a) A person obligated to pay

    child support in a case in which the Title IV-D agency is

    providing services under this chapter who does not pay the

    required support is indebted to the state for the purposes of

    Section 403.055, Government Code, if the Title IV-D agency has

    reported the person to the comptroller under that section

    properly.

    (b) The amount of a person's indebtedness to the state under

    Subsection (a) is equal to the sum of:

    (1) the amount of the required child support that has not been

    paid; and

    (2) any interest, fees, court costs, or other amounts owed by

    the person because the person has not paid the support.

    (c) The Title IV-D agency is the sole assignee of all payments,

    including payments of compensation, by the state to a person

    indebted to the state under Subsection (a).

    (d) On request of the Title IV-D agency:

    (1) the comptroller shall make payable and deliver to the agency

    any payments for which the agency is the assignee under

    Subsection (c), if the comptroller is responsible for issuing

    warrants or initiating electronic funds transfers to make those

    payments; and

    (2) a state agency shall make payable and deliver to the Title

    IV-D agency any payments for which the Title IV-D agency is the

    assignee under Subsection (c) if the comptroller is not

    responsible for issuing warrants or initiating electronic funds

    transfers to make those payments.

    (e) A person indebted to the state under Subsection (a) may

    eliminate the debt by:

    (1) paying the entire amount of the debt; or

    (2) resolving the debt in a manner acceptable to the Title IV-D

    agency.

    (f) The comptroller or a state agency may rely on a

    representation by the Title IV-D agency that:

    (1) a person is indebted to the state under Subsection (a); or

    (2) a person who was indebted to the state under Subsection (a)

    has eliminated the debt.

    (g) Except as provided by Subsection (h), the payment of

    workers' compensation benefits to a person indebted to the state

    under Subsection (a) is the same for the purposes of this section

    as any other payment made to the person by the state.

    Notwithstanding Section 408.203, Labor Code, an order or writ to

    withhold income from workers' compensation benefits is not

    required before the benefits are withheld or assigned under this

    section.

    (h) The amount of weekly workers' compensation benefits that may

    be withheld or assigned under this section may not exceed 50

    percent of the person's weekly compensation benefits. The

    comptroller or a state agency may rely on a representation by the

    Title IV-D agency that a withholding or assignment under this

    section would not violate this subsection.

    (i) Section 403.055(d), Government Code, does not authorize the

    comptroller to issue a warrant or initiate an electronic funds

    transfer to pay the compensation or remuneration of an individual

    who is indebted to the state under Subsection (a).

    (j) Section 2107.008(h), Government Code, does not authorize a

    state agency to pay the compensation or remuneration of an

    individual who is indebted to the state under Subsection (a).

    (k) In this section, "compensation," "state agency," and "state

    officer or employee" have the meanings assigned by Section

    403.055, Government Code.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 83, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.19, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1467, Sec. 1.07, eff.

    Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1158, Sec. 6, eff. June

    15, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1,

    2003.

    Sec. 231.008. DISPOSITION OF FUNDS. (a) The Title IV-D agency

    shall deposit money received under assignments or as fees in a

    special fund in the state treasury. The agency may spend money in

    the fund for the administration of this chapter, subject to the

    General Appropriations Act.

    (b) All other money received under this chapter shall be

    deposited in a special fund in the state treasury.

    (c) Sections 403.094 and 403.095, Government Code, do not apply

    to a fund described by this section.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.009. PAYMENT OF PENALTIES. From funds appropriated for

    the Title IV-D agency, the agency shall reimburse the Texas

    Department of Human Services for any penalty assessed under Title

    IV-A of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et

    seq.) that is assessed because of the agency's administration of

    this chapter.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.010. COOPERATION WITH DEPARTMENT OF PROTECTIVE AND

    REGULATORY SERVICES. (a) In this section, "department" means

    the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.

    (b) To the extent possible, the Title IV-D agency shall:

    (1) provide to the department access to all of the Title IV-D

    agency's available child support locating resources;

    (2) allow the department to use the Title IV-D agency's child

    support enforcement system to track child support payments and to

    have access to the agency's management reports that show payments

    made;

    (3) make reports on Title IV-E, Social Security Act (42 U.S.C.

    Section 670 et seq.), foster care collections available to the

    department in a timely manner; and

    (4) work with the department to obtain child support payments

    for protective services cases in which the department is

    responsible for providing care for children under temporary and

    final orders.

    Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 228, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

    1999. Renumbered from Family Code Sec. 231.011 by Acts 2003, 78th

    Leg., ch. 1275, Sec. 2(53), eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

    Sec. 231.012. CHILD SUPPORT WORK GROUP. (a) The director of

    the Title IV-D agency may convene a work group representing

    public and private entities with an interest in child support

    enforcement in this state to work with the director in developing

    strategies to improve child support enforcement in this state.

    (b) The director of the Title IV-D agency shall appoint the

    members of the work group after consulting with appropriate

    public and private entities.

    (c) The work group shall meet as convened by the director of the

    Title IV-D agency and consult with the director on matters

    relating to child support enforcement in this state, including

    the delivery of Title IV-D services.

    (d) A work group member or the member's designee may not receive

    compensation but is entitled to reimbursement for actual and

    necessary expenses incurred in performing the member's duties

    under this section.

    (e) The work group is not an advisory committee as defined by

    Section 2110.001, Government Code. Chapter 2110, Government Code,

    does not apply to the work group.

    Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1,

    1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1258, Sec. 25, eff.

    Sept. 1, 2003.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    972, Sec. 46, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    972, Sec. 47, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Sec. 231.013. INFORMATION RESOURCES STEERING COMMITTEE. (a)

    The Title IV-D agency shall create an information resources

    steering committee to:

    (1) oversee information resource project development for the

    Title IV-D agency;

    (2) make strategic prioritization recommendations;

    (3) facilitate development of accurate information for the

    director of the Title IV-D agency; and

    (4) perform other functions as determined by the director of the

    Title IV-D agency.

    (b) The steering committee must include a senior management

    executive representing each significant function of the Title

    IV-D agency. The steering committee may include a person

    representing:

    (1) counties; or

    (2) a vendor contracting with the Title IV-D agency.

    (c) The director of the Title IV-D agency shall appoint the

    members of the steering committee after consulting with the

    Department of Information Resources.

    Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1,

    1999.

    Sec. 231.014. PERSONNEL. The director of the Title IV-D agency

    shall provide to the employees of the Title IV-D agency, as often

    as necessary, information regarding the requirements for

    employment under this title, including information regarding a

    person's responsibilities under applicable laws relating to

    standards of conduct for state employees.

    Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1,

    1999.

    Sec. 231.015. INSURANCE REPORTING PROGRAM. (a) In consultation

    with the Texas Department of Insurance and representatives of the

    insurance industry in this state, including insurance trade

    associations, the Title IV-D agency by rule shall operate a

    program to improve the enforcement of child support, including

    the use of child support liens under Chapter 157. The program

    shall provide for procedures, including data matches, under which

    insurance companies shall cooperate with the Title IV-D agency in

    identifying obligors who owe child support arrearages or who are

    subject to liens for child support arrearages to intercept

    certain liability insurance settlements or awards for claims in

    satisfaction of the arrearage amounts.

    (b) An insurance company that provides information or responds

    to a notice of child support lien or levy under Subchapter G,

    Chapter 157, or acts in good faith to comply with procedures

    established by the Title IV-D agency under this section is not

    liable for those acts under any law to any person.

    Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1023, Sec. 52, eff. Sept. 1,

    2001.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

    767, Sec. 27, eff. June 19, 2009.

    SUBCHAPTER B. SERVICES PROVIDED BY TITLE IV-D PROGRAM

    Sec. 231.101. TITLE IV-D CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES. (a) The Title

    IV-D agency may provide all services required or authorized to be

    provided by Part D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act

    (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.), including:

    (1) parent locator services;

    (2) paternity determination;

    (3) child support and medical support establishment;

    (4) review and adjustment of child support orders;

    (5) enforcement of child support and medical support orders; and

    (6) collection and distribution of child support payments.

    (b) At the request of either the obligee or obligor, the Title

    IV-D agency shall review a child support order once every three

    years and, if appropriate, adjust the support amount to meet the

    requirements of the child support guidelines under Chapter 154.

    (c) Except as notice is included in the child support order, a

    party subject to a support order shall be provided notice not

    less than once every three years of the party's right to request

    that the Title IV-D agency review and, if appropriate, adjust the

    amount of ordered support.

    (d) The Title IV-D agency may review a support order at any time

    on a showing of a material and substantial change in

    circumstances, taking into consideration the best interests of

    the child.

    (e) The Title IV-D agency shall distribute a child support

    payment received by the agency from an employer within two

    working days after the date the agency receives the payment.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 702, Sec. 13, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 69, eff. Sept.

    1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 19.01(22), eff. Sept.

    1, 1999.

    Sec. 231.102. ELIGIBILITY FOR CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES. The Title

    IV-D agency on application or as otherwise authorized by law may

    provide services for the benefit of a child without regard to

    whether the child has received public assistance.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.103. APPLICATION AND SERVICE FEES. (a) The Title IV-D

    agency may:

    (1) charge a reasonable application fee;

    (2) charge a $25 annual service fee; and

    (3) to the extent permitted by federal law, recover costs for

    the services provided in a Title IV-D case.

    (b) An application fee may not be charged in a case in which the

    Title IV-D agency provides services because the family receives

    public assistance.

    (c) An application fee may not exceed a maximum amount

    established by federal law.

    (d) Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 972, Sec. 65(3),

    eff. September 1, 2007.

    (e) The Title IV-D agency may impose and collect a fee as

    authorized by federal law for each request for parent locator

    services under Section 231.101(a).

    (f) The state disbursement unit established and operated by the

    Title IV-D agency under Chapter 234 may collect a monthly service

    fee of $3 in each case in which support payments are processed

    through the unit.

    (g) The Title IV-D agency by rule shall establish procedures for

    the imposition of fees and recovery of costs authorized under

    this section.

    (g-1) A fee authorized under this section for providing child

    support enforcement services is part of the child support

    obligation if the obligor is responsible for the fee, and may be

    enforced against the obligor through any method available for the

    enforcement of child support, including contempt.

    (h) The attorney general child support application and service

    fee account is an account in the general revenue fund in the

    state treasury. The account consists of all fees and costs

    collected under this section. The Title IV-D agency may only use

    the money in the account for agency program expenditures.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1262, Sec. 2, 3, eff.

    Sept. 1, 2003.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    972, Sec. 48, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    972, Sec. 65(3), eff. September 1, 2007.

    Sec. 231.104. ASSIGNMENT OF RIGHT TO SUPPORT. (a) To the

    extent authorized by federal law, the approval of an application

    for or the receipt of financial assistance as provided by Chapter

    31, Human Resources Code, constitutes an assignment to the Title

    IV-D agency of any rights to support from any other person that

    the applicant or recipient may have personally or for a child for

    whom the applicant or recipient is claiming assistance.

    (b) An application for child support services is an assignment

    of support rights to enable the Title IV-D agency to establish

    and enforce child support and medical support obligations, but an

    assignment is not a condition of eligibility for services.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 70, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1023, Sec. 53, eff.

    Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, Sec. 14, eff. Sept.

    1, 2003.

    Sec. 231.105. NOTICE OF CHANGE OF PAYEE. (a) Child support

    payments for the benefit of a child whose support rights have

    been assigned to the Title IV-D agency under Section 231.104

    shall be made payable to the Title IV-D agency and transmitted to

    the state disbursement unit as provided by Chapter 234.

    (b) If a court has ordered support payments to be made to an

    applicant for or recipient of financial assistance or to an

    applicant for or recipient of Title IV-D services, the Title IV-D

    agency shall, on providing notice to the obligee and the obligor,

    direct the obligor or other payor to make support payments

    payable to the Title IV-D agency and to transmit the payments to

    the state disbursement unit. The Title IV-D agency shall file a

    copy of the notice with the court ordering the payments and with

    the child support registry. The notice must include:

    (1) a statement that the child is an applicant for or recipient

    of financial assistance, or a child other than a recipient child

    for whom Title IV-D services are provided;

    (2) the name of the child and the caretaker for whom support has

    been ordered by the court;

    (3) the style and cause number of the case in which support was

    ordered; and

    (4) instructions for the payment of ordered support to the

    agency.

    (c) On receipt of a copy of the notice under Subsection (b), the

    clerk of the court shall file the notice in the appropriate case

    file.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 71, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1023, Sec. 54, eff.

    Sept. 1, 2001.

    Sec. 231.106. NOTICE OF TERMINATION OF ASSIGNMENT. (a) On

    termination of support rights to the Title IV-D agency, the Title

    IV-D agency shall, after providing notice to the obligee and the

    obligor, send a notice of termination of assignment to the

    obligor or other payor, which may direct that all or a portion of

    the payments be made payable to the agency and to other persons

    who are entitled to receive the payments.

    (b) The Title IV-D agency shall send a copy of the notice of

    termination of assignment to the court ordering the support and

    to the child support registry, and on receipt of the notice the

    clerk of the court shall file the notice in the appropriate case

    file. The clerk may not require an order of the court to

    terminate the assignment and direct support payments to the

    person entitled to receive the payment.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 72, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 52, eff. Sept.

    1, 1999.

    Sec. 231.107. CERTIFICATE OF ASSIGNMENT OR OF TERMINATION OF

    ASSIGNMENT. If an abstract of judgment or a child support lien

    on support amounts assigned to the Title IV-D agency under this

    chapter has previously been filed of record, the agency shall

    file for recordation, with the county clerk of each county in

    which such abstract or lien has been filed, a certificate that a

    notice of change of payee or a notice of termination of

    assignment has been issued by the agency.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 73, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1997.

    Sec. 231.108. CONFIDENTIALITY OF RECORDS AND PRIVILEGED

    COMMUNICATIONS. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (c), all

    files and records of services provided under this chapter,

    including information concerning a custodial parent, noncustodial

    parent, child, and an alleged or presumed father, are

    confidential.

    (b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), all communications

    made by a recipient of financial assistance under Chapter 31,

    Human Resources Code, or an applicant for or recipient of

    services under this chapter are privileged.

    (c) The Title IV-D agency may use or release information from

    the files and records, including information that results from a

    communication made by a recipient of financial assistance under

    Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, or by an applicant for or

    recipient of services under this chapter, for purposes directly

    connected with the administration of the child support, paternity

    determination, parent locator, or aid to families with dependent

    children programs. The Title IV-D agency may release information

    from the files and records to a consumer reporting agency in

    accordance with Section 231.114.

    (d) The Title IV-D agency by rule may provide for the release of

    information to public officials.

    (e) The Title IV-D agency may not release information on the

    physical location of a person if:

    (1) a protective order has been entered with respect to the

    person; or

    (2) there is reason to believe that the release of information

    may result in physical or emotional harm to the person.

    (f) The Title IV-D agency, by rule, may provide for the release

    of information to persons for purposes not prohibited by federal

    law.

    (g) The final order in a suit adjudicating parentage is

    available for public inspection as provided by Section 160.633.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.08, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 74, eff. Sept.

    1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 53, eff. Sept. 1,

    1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

    Sec. 231.109. ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING STATE. (a) Attorneys

    employed by the Title IV-D agency may represent this state or

    another state in an action brought under the authority of federal

    law or this chapter.

    (b) The Title IV-D agency may contract with private attorneys,

    other private entities, or political subdivisions of the state to

    provide services in Title IV-D cases.

    (c) The Title IV-D agency shall provide copies of all contracts

    entered into under this section to the Legislative Budget Board

    and the Governor's Office of Budget and Planning, along with a

    written justification of the need for each contract, within 60

    days after the execution of the contract.

    (d) An attorney employed to provide Title IV-D services

    represents the interest of the state and not the interest of any

    other party. The provision of services by an attorney under this

    chapter does not create an attorney-client relationship between

    the attorney and any other party. The agency shall, at the time

    an application for child support services is made, inform the

    applicant that neither the Title IV-D agency nor any attorney who

    provides services under this chapter is the applicant's attorney

    and that the attorney providing services under this chapter does

    not provide legal representation to the applicant.

    (e) An attorney employed by the Title IV-D agency or as

    otherwise provided by this chapter may not be appointed or act as

    an amicus attorney or attorney ad litem for a child or another

    party.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.02, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1995.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch.

    172, Sec. 21, eff. September 1, 2005.

    Sec. 231.110. AUTHORIZATION OF SERVICE. The provision of

    services by the Title IV-D agency under this chapter or Part D of

    Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section

    651 et seq.) does not authorize service on the agency of any

    legal notice that is required to be served on any party other

    than the agency.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.111. DISQUALIFICATION OF AGENCY. A court shall not

    disqualify the Title IV-D agency in a legal action filed under

    this chapter or Part D of Title IV of the federal Social Security

    Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.) on the basis that the agency

    has previously provided services to a party whose interests may

    now be adverse to the relief requested.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.112. INFORMATION ON PATERNITY ESTABLISHMENT. On

    notification by the state registrar under Section 192.005(d),

    Health and Safety Code, that the items relating to the child's

    father are not completed on a birth certificate filed with the

    state registrar, the Title IV-D agency may provide to:

    (1) the child's mother and, if possible, the man claiming to be

    the child's biological father written information necessary for

    the man to complete an acknowledgment of paternity as provided by

    Chapter 160; and

    (2) the child's mother written information:

    (A) explaining the benefits of having the child's paternity

    established; and

    (B) regarding the availability of paternity establishment and

    child support enforcement services.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1999.

    Sec. 231.113. ENFORCEMENT OF SUPPORT OBLIGATIONS IN PUBLIC

    ASSISTANCE CASES. To the extent possible, the Title IV-D agency

    shall enforce a child support obligation in a case involving a

    child who receives financial assistance under Chapter 31, Human

    Resources Code, not later than the first anniversary of the date

    the agency receives from the Texas Department of Human Services

    the information the department is required to provide to assist

    in the enforcement of that obligation.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.03, eff. Sept. 1,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.114. REPORTS OF CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS TO CONSUMER

    REPORTING AGENCIES. (a) The Title IV-D agency shall make

    information available in accordance with this section to a

    consumer reporting agency regarding the amount of child support

    owed and the amount paid by an obligor in a Title IV-D case.

    (b) Before disclosing the information to consumer reporting

    agencies, the Title IV-D agency shall send the obligor a notice

    by mail to the obligor's last known address. The notice must

    include:

    (1) the information to be released, including the amount of the

    obligor's child support obligation and delinquency, if any, that

    will be reported;

    (2) the procedure available for the obligor to contest the

    accuracy of the information; and

    (3) a statement that the information will be released if the

    obligor fails to contest the disclosure before the 30th day after

    the date of mailing of the notice.

    (c) If the obligor does not contest the disclosure within the

    period specified by Subsection (b), the Title IV-D agency shall

    make the information available to the consumer reporting agency.

    (d) The Title IV-D agency shall regularly update the information

    released to a consumer reporting agency under this section to

    ensure the accuracy of the released information.

    (e) The Title IV-D agency may charge a consumer reporting agency

    a reasonable fee for making information available under this

    section, including all applicable mailing costs.

    (f) In this section:

    (1) "Consumer reporting agency" means any person that regularly

    engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or

    evaluating consumer credit information or other information on

    consumers for monetary fees, for dues, or on a cooperative

    nonprofit basis, to furnish consumer reports to third parties.

    (2) "Obligor" means any person required to make payments under

    the terms of a support order for a child.

    (3) "Title IV-D case" means a case in which services are being

    provided by the Title IV-D agency under Part D of Title IV of the

    federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.)

    seeking to locate an absent parent, determine parentage, or

    establish, modify, enforce, or monitor a child support

    obligation.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.03, eff. Sept. 1,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.115. NONCOOPERATION BY RECIPIENT OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE.

    (a) The failure by a person who is a recipient of public

    assistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, to provide

    accurate information as required by Section 31.0315, Human

    Resources Code, shall serve as the basis for a determination by

    the Title IV-D agency that the person did not cooperate with the

    Title IV-D agency.

    (b) The Title IV-D agency shall:

    (1) identify the actions or failures to act by a recipient of

    public assistance that constitute noncooperation with the Title

    IV-D agency;

    (2) adopt rules governing noncompliance; and

    (3) send noncompliance determinations to the Texas Department of

    Human Services for immediate imposition of sanctions.

    (c) In adopting rules under this section that establish the

    basis for determining that a person has failed to cooperate with

    the Title IV-D agency, the Title IV-D agency shall consider

    whether:

    (1) good cause exists for the failure to cooperate;

    (2) the person has failed to disclose the name and location of

    an alleged or probable parent of the child, if known by the

    person, at the time of applying for public assistance or at a

    subsequent time; and

    (3) the person named a man as the alleged father and the man was

    subsequently excluded by parentage testing as being the father if

    the person has previously named another man as the child's

    father.

    Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 75, eff. Sept. 1,

    1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1999.

    Sec. 231.116. INFORMATION ON INTERNET. The Title IV-D agency

    shall place on the Internet for public access child support

    information to assist the public in child support matters,

    including application forms, child support collection in other

    states, and profiles of certain obligors who are in arrears in

    paying child support.

    Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 18, eff. Sept. 1,

    1997.

    Sec. 231.1165. INFORMATION ON SERVICE OF CITATION. The Title

    IV-D agency shall update the agency's child support automated

    system to inform the parties in a suit of the service of citation

    in the suit not later than the first business day after the date

    the agency receives notice that citation has been served. The

    information required by this section must be available by

    telephone and on the Internet.

    Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 141, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

    2001.

    Sec. 231.117. UNEMPLOYED AND UNDEREMPLOYED OBLIGORS. (a) The

    Title IV-D agency shall refer to appropriate state and local

    entities that provide employment services any unemployed or

    underemployed obligor who is in arrears in court-ordered child

    support payments.

    (b) A referral under Subsection (a) may include:

    (1) skills training and job placement through:

    (A) the Texas Workforce Commission; or

    (B) the agency responsible for the food stamp employment and

    training program (7 U.S.C. Section 2015(d));

    (2) referrals to education and literacy classes; and

    (3) counseling regarding:

    (A) substance abuse;

    (B) parenting skills;

    (C) life skills; and

    (D) mediation techniques.

    (c) The Title IV-D agency may require an unemployed or

    underemployed obligor to complete the training, classes, or

    counseling to which the obligor is referred under this section.

    The agency shall suspend under Chapter 232 the license of an

    obligor who fails to comply with the requirements of this

    subsection.

    (d) A court or the Title IV-D agency may issue an order that

    requires the parent to either work, have a plan to pay overdue

    child support, or participate in work activities appropriate to

    pay the overdue support.

    Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.20(a), eff. Sept.

    1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1072, Sec. 5, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1999. Renumbered from Sec. 231.115 by Acts 1999, 76th

    Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 19.01(23), eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Renumbered from

    Sec. 231.115 and amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec.

    54, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

    Sec. 231.118. SERVICE OF CITATION. (a) The Title IV-D agency

    may contract with private process servers to serve a citation, a

    subpoena, an order, or any other document required or appropriate

    under law to be served a party.

    (b) For the purposes of Rule 103 of the Texas Rules of Civil

    Procedure, a person who serves a citation or any other document

    under this section is authorized to serve the document without a

    written court order authorizing the service.

    (c) Issuance and return of the process shall be made in

    accordance with law and shall be verified by the person serving

    the document.

    Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff. Sept. 1,

    1999.

    Sec. 231.119. OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM. (a) The Title IV-D agency

    shall establish an ombudsman program to process and track

    complaints against the Title IV-D agency. The director of the

    Title IV-D agency shall:

    (1) designate an employee to serve as chief ombudsman to manage

    the ombudsman program; and

    (2) designate an employee in each field office to act as the

    ombudsman for the office.

    (b) The Title IV-D agency shall develop and implement a uniform

    process for receiving and resolving complaints against the Title

    IV-D agency throughout the state. The process shall include

    statewide procedures to inform the public and recipients of Title

    IV-D services of the right to file a complaint against the Title

    IV-D agency, including the mailing addresses and telephone

    numbers of appropriate Title IV-D agency personnel responsible

    for receiving complaints and providing related assistance.

    (c) The ombudsman in each field office shall ensure that an

    employee in the field office responds to and attempts to resolve

    each complaint that is filed with the field office. If a

    complaint cannot be resolved at the field office level, the

    ombudsman in the field office shall refer the complaint to the

    chief ombudsman.

    (d) The Title IV-D agency shall maintain a file on each written

    complaint filed with the Title IV-D agency. The file must

    include:

    (1) the name of the person who filed the complaint;

    (2) the date the complaint is received by the Title IV-D agency;

    (3) the subject matter of the complaint;

    (4) the name of each person contacted in relation to the

    complaint;

    (5) a summary of the results of the review or investigation of

    the complaint; and

    (6) an explanation of the reason the file was closed, if the

    agency closed the file without taking action other than to

    investigate the complaint.

    (e) The Title IV-D agency, at least quarterly until final

    disposition of the complaint, shall notify the person filing the

    complaint and each person who is a subject of the complaint of

    the status of the investigation of the complaint unless the

    notice would jeopardize an undercover investigation.

    (f) The Title IV-D agency shall provide to the person filing the

    complaint and to each person who is a subject of the complaint a

    copy of the Title IV-D agency's policies and procedures relating

    to complaint investigation and resolution.

    Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff. Sept. 1,

    1999.

    Sec. 231.120. TOLL-FREE TELEPHONE NUMBER FOR EMPLOYERS. The

    Title IV-D agency shall maintain a toll-free telephone number at

    which personnel are available during normal business hours to

    answer questions from employers responsible for withholding child

    support. The Title IV-D agency shall inform employers about the

    toll-free telephone number.

    Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 54, eff. Sept. 1,

    1999.

    Sec. 231.121. AVAILABILITY OF BROCHURES. The Title IV-D agency

    shall ensure that all Title IV-D brochures published by the

    agency are available to the public at courthouses where family

    law cases are heard in the state.

    Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 141, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1,

    2001.

    Sec. 231.122. MONITORING CHILD SUPPORT CASES; ENFORCEMENT. The

    Title IV-D agency shall monitor each Title IV-D case from the

    date the agency begins providing services on the case. If a

    child support obligor in a Title IV-D case becomes more than 60

    days delinquent in paying child support, the Title IV-D agency

    shall expedite the commencement of an action to enforce the child

    support order.

    Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch.

    268, Sec. 1.10, eff. September 1, 2005.

    Sec. 231.123. COOPERATION WITH VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE

    PROGRAMS. (a) In order to maximize the amount of any tax refund

    to which an obligor may be entitled and which may be applied to

    child support and medical support obligations, the Title IV-D

    agency shall cooperate with volunteer income tax assistance

    programs in the state in informing obligors of the availability

    of the programs.

    (b) The Title IV-D agency shall publicize the services of the

    volunteer income tax assistance programs by distributing printed

    materials regarding the programs and by placing information

    regarding the programs on the agency's Internet website.

    (c) The Title IV-D agency is not responsible for producing or

    paying the costs of producing the printed materials distributed

    in accordance with Subsection (b).

    Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch.

    925, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

    Renumbered from Family Code, Section 231.122 by Acts 2007, 80th

    Leg., R.S., Ch.

    921, Sec. 17.001(22), eff. September 1, 2007.

    SUBCHAPTER C. PAYMENT OF FEES AND COSTS

    Sec. 231.201. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

    (1) "Federal share" means the portion of allowable expenses for

    fees and other costs that will be reimbursed by the federal

    government under federal law and regulations regarding the

    administration of the Title IV-D program.

    (2) "State share" means the portion of allowable expenses for

    fees and other costs that remain after receipt of the federal

    share of reimbursement and that is to be reimbursed by the state

    or may be contributed by certified public expenditure by a

    county.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.202. AUTHORIZED COSTS AND FEES IN TITLE IV-D CASES. In

    a Title IV-D case filed under this title, including a case filed

    under Chapter 159, the Title IV-D agency shall pay only the

    following costs and fees:

    (1) filing fees and fees for issuance and service of process as

    provided by Chapter 110 of this code and by Sections

    51.317(b)(1), (2), and (3) and (b-1), 51.318(b)(2), and

    51.319(2), Government Code;

    (2) fees for transfer as provided by Chapter 110;

    (3) fees for the issuance and delivery of orders and writs of

    income withholding in the amounts provided by Chapter 110;

    (4) the fee for services provided by sheriffs and constables,

    including:

    (A) a fee authorized under Section 118.131, Local Government

    Code, for serving each item of process to each individual on whom

    service is required, including service by certified or registered

    mail; and

    (B) a fee authorized under Section 157.103(b) for serving a

    capias;

    (5) the fee for filing an administrative writ of withholding

    under Section 158.503(d);

    (6) the fee for issuance of a subpoena as provided by Section

    51.318(b)(1), Government Code; and

    (7) a fee authorized under a local rule for the electronic

    filing of documents with a clerk.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.04, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.21(a), eff.

    Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 116, Sec. 2, eff. Sept.

    1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1217, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

    2003.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch.

    972, Sec. 49, eff. September 1, 2007.

    Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

    767, Sec. 28, eff. September 1, 2009.

    Sec. 231.2025. CONTINGENCY FEES. The Title IV-D agency may pay

    a contingency fee in a contract or agreement between the agency

    and a private agency or individual authorized under Section

    231.002(c).

    Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 420, Sec. 19, eff. Sept. 1,

    1997.

    Sec. 231.203. STATE EXEMPTION FROM BOND NOT AFFECTED. This

    subchapter does not affect, nor is this subchapter affected by,

    the exemption from bond provided by Section 6.001, Civil Practice

    and Remedies Code.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.204. PROHIBITED FEES IN TITLE IV-D CASES. Except as

    provided by this subchapter, an appellate court, a clerk of an

    appellate court, a district or county clerk, sheriff, constable,

    or other government officer or employee may not charge the Title

    IV-D agency or a private attorney or political subdivision that

    has entered into a contract to provide Title IV-D services any

    fees or other amounts otherwise imposed by law for services

    rendered in, or in connection with, a Title IV-D case, including:

    (1) a fee payable to a district clerk for:

    (A) performing services related to the estates of deceased

    persons or minors;

    (B) certifying copies; or

    (C) comparing copies to originals;

    (2) a court reporter fee, except as provided by Section 231.209;

    (3) a judicial fund fee;

    (4) a fee for a child support registry, enforcement office, or

    domestic relations office;

    (5) a fee for alternative dispute resolution services; and

    (6) a filing fee or other costs payable to a clerk of an

    appellate court.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 55, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1023, Sec. 55, eff.

    Sept. 1, 2001.

    Sec. 231.205. LIMITATIONS ON LIABILITY OF ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR

    AUTHORIZED FEES AND COSTS. (a) The Title IV-D agency is liable

    for a fee or cost under this subchapter only to the extent that

    an express, specific appropriation is made to the agency

    exclusively for that purpose. To the extent that state funds are

    not available, the amount of costs and fees that are not

    reimbursed by the federal government and that represent the state

    share shall be paid by certified public expenditure by the county

    through the clerk of the court, sheriff, or constable. This

    section does not prohibit the agency from spending other funds

    appropriated for child support enforcement to provide the initial

    expenditures necessary to qualify for the federal share.

    (b) The Title IV-D agency is liable for the payment of the

    federal share of reimbursement for fees and costs under this

    subchapter only to the extent that the federal share is received,

    and if an amount is paid by the agency and that amount is

    disallowed by the federal government or the federal share is not

    otherwise received, the clerk of the court, sheriff, or constable

    to whom the payment was made shall return the amount to the

    agency not later than the 30th day after the date on which notice

    is given by the agency.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.206. RESTRICTION ON FEES FOR CHILD SUPPORT OR REGISTRY

    SERVICES IN TITLE IV-D CASES. A district clerk, a county child

    support registry or enforcement office, or a domestic relations

    office may not assess or collect fees for processing child

    support payments or for child support services from the Title

    IV-D agency, a managing conservator, or a possessory conservator

    in a Title IV-D case, except as provided by this subchapter.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.207. METHOD OF BILLING FOR ALLOWABLE FEES. (a) To be

    entitled to reimbursement under this subchapter, the clerk of the

    court, sheriff, or constable must submit one monthly billing to

    the Title IV-D agency.

    (b) The monthly billing must be in the form and manner

    prescribed by the Title IV-D agency and be approved by the clerk,

    sheriff, or constable.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.208. AGREEMENTS FOR REIMBURSEMENT IN LIEU OF FEES. (a)

    The Title IV-D agency and a qualified county may enter into a

    written agreement under which reimbursement for salaries and

    certain other actual costs incurred by the clerk, sheriff, or

    constable in Title IV-D cases is provided to the county.

    (b) A county may not enter into an agreement for reimbursement

    under this section unless the clerk, sheriff, or constable

    providing service has at least two full-time employees each

    devoted exclusively to providing services in Title IV-D cases.

    (c) Reimbursement made under this section is in lieu of all

    costs and fees provided by this subchapter.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.209. PAYMENT FOR SERVICES NOT AFFECTED BY THIS

    SUBCHAPTER. Without regard to this subchapter and specifically

    Section 231.205, the Title IV-D agency may pay the costs for:

    (1) the services of an official court reporter for the

    preparation of statements of facts;

    (2) the costs for the publication of citation served by

    publication; and

    (3) mileage or other reasonable travel costs incurred by a

    sheriff or constable when traveling out of the county to execute

    an outstanding warrant or capias, to be reimbursed at a rate not

    to exceed the rate provided for mileage or other costs incurred

    by state employees in the General Appropriations Act.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 341, Sec. 1.05, eff.

    Sept. 1, 1995.

    Sec. 231.210. AUTHORITY TO PAY LITIGATION EXPENSES. (a) The

    Title IV-D agency may pay all fees, expenses, costs, and bills

    necessary to secure evidence and to take the testimony of a

    witness, including advance payments or purchases for

    transportation, lodging, meals, and incidental expenses of

    custodians of evidence or witnesses whose transportation is

    necessary and proper for the production of evidence or the taking

    of testimony in a Title IV-D case.

    (b) In making payments under this section, the Title IV-D agency

    shall present vouchers to the comptroller that have been sworn to

    by the custodian or witness and approved by the agency. The

    voucher shall be sufficient to authorize payment without the

    necessity of a written contract.

    (c) The Title IV-D agency may directly pay a commercial

    transportation company or commercial lodging establishment for

    the expense of transportation or lodging of a custodian or

    witness.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20,

    1995.

    Sec. 231.211. AWARD OF COST AGAINST NONPREVAILING PARTY IN TITLE

    IV-D CASE. (a) At the conclusion of a Title IV-D case, the

    court may assess attorney's fees and all court costs as

    authorized by law against the nonprevailing party, except that

    the court may not assess those amounts against the Title IV-D

    agency or a private attorney or political subdivision that has

    entered into a contract under this chapter or any party to whom

    the agen

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