H.R. 3892 (103rd): Child Support Enhancement Act of 1994

103rd Congress, 1993–1994. Text as of Feb 24, 1994 (Introduced).

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HR 3892 IH

103d CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 3892

To improve the child support system.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

FEBRUARY 24, 1994

Mr. ANDREWS of Texas introduced the following bill; which was referred jointly to the Committees on Ways and Means, the Judiciary, Education and Labor, and Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs


A BILL

To improve the child support system.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Child Support Enhancement Act of 1994’.

TITLE I--NATIONAL REGISTRY OF CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS

SEC. 101. NATIONAL CHILD SUPPORT ORDER REGISTRY.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall establish a national registry of all child support orders the information in which shall be accessible in the form of a computerized database.

      (2) CHILD SUPPORT ORDER DEFINED- As used in this section, the term ‘child support order’ means an order, issued or modified by a State court or an administrative process established under State law, that requires an individual to make payments for support and maintenance of a child or of a child and the parent with whom the child is living.

    (b) TRANSMISSION OF COPIES OF CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS TO THE NATIONAL REGISTRY- Section 466(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 666(a)) is amended by inserting after paragraph (11) the following:

      ‘(12) Procedures to ensure that a copy of each child support order issued or modified in the State is transmitted to the national registry of child support orders established under section 2(a) of the Child Support Enhancement Act of 1994.’.

    (c) PROVISION OF CHILD SUPPORT INFORMATION TO EMPLOYERS- Upon receipt from an employer of a W-4 form completed by an employee, the national registry shall--

      (1) compare the child support information reported on the W-4 form with the information in the national registry on the child support obligations of the employee; and

      (2) report to the employer such information as the national registry may have as to--

        (A) whether the employee is required to make payments pursuant to a child support order; and

        (B) if so, the aggregate amount required to be so paid (and to whom) by the employee on a monthly basis.

TITLE II--ENFORCEMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS THROUGH EMPLOYER WITHHOLDING

SEC. 201. REPORTING OF CHILD SUPPORT INFORMATION.

    (a) W-4 REPORTING REQUIREMENT-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, shall require all employees to file a new W-4 form with their employers within 5 calendar days after the later of the effective date of this subsection or the date the employee is hired, and require all employers to provide a copy of every employee’s W-4 form to the national child support order registry established under section 101(a) of this Act.

      (2) EXPANDED USE OF FORM- The Secretary of the Treasury shall modify the W-4 form to be completed by an employee to enable the employee to indicate on the form--

        (A) whether the employee owes child support, and if so--

          (i) to whom the support is payable and the amount of the support payable; and

          (ii) whether the support is to be paid through wage withholding; and

        (B) whether health care insurance is available to the new employee, and, if so, whether the employee has obtained such insurance for the dependent children of the employee.

    (b) EMPLOYER WITHHOLDING OBLIGATION-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Subtitle C of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to employment taxes) is amended by inserting after chapter 24 the following new chapter:

‘CHAPTER 24A--COLLECTION OF CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATIONS AT SOURCE ON WAGES

‘Sec. 3411. Child support obligations collected at source.

‘SEC. 3411. CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATIONS COLLECTED AT SOURCE.

    ‘(a) REQUIREMENT OF WITHHOLDING- Every employer making payment of wages shall deduct and withhold upon such wages a specified child support obligation amount.

    ‘(b) SPECIFIED CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION AMOUNT- For purposes of this chapter, the specified child support obligation amount with respect to any employee shall be determined based on--

      ‘(1) information provided by the employee, or

      ‘(2) if the national registry of child support orders established under section 101 of the Child Support Enhancement Act of 1994 notifies the employer that such information is inaccurate, information provided by the registry.

    ‘(c) LIABILITY FOR PAYMENT- The employer shall be liable for the payment of the specified child support obligation amount to the person entitled to such amount, as determined based on the information referred to in subsection (b).

    ‘(d) SPECIAL RULES- For purposes of this chapter (and so much of subtitle F as relates to this chapter), any specified child support obligation amount shall be treated as if it were a tax withheld under chapter 24 and rules similar to the rules of such chapter shall apply.’

      (2) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of chapters of subtitle C of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 24 the following new item:

‘CHAPTER 24A. Child support obligations collected at source.’

    (c) WITHHELD CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATIONS REPORTED ON W-2 FORMS- Subsection (a) of section 6051 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to receipts for employees) is amended by striking ‘and’ at the end of paragraph (8), by striking the period at the end of paragraph (9) and inserting ‘, and’, and by inserting after paragraph (9) the following new paragraph:

      ‘(10) the total amount of specified child support obligations withheld under section 3411.’

TITLE III--ENFORCEMENT OF CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR FLIGHT TO AVOID PAYMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT

SEC. 301. ADDITIONAL AUTHORIZATION FOR ENFORCEMENT.

    There are authorized to be appropriated to the Attorney General for each of fiscal years 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998 the amount of $50,000,000 for the enforcement of section 228 of title 18, United States Code.

TITLE IV--CREDIT BUREAU REPORTING

SEC. 401. REPORTS TO CREDIT BUREAUS ON PERSONS DELINQUENT IN CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Section 466(a)(7) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 666(a)(7)) is amended to read as follows:

      ‘(7) Procedures requiring the State to provide to each consumer reporting agency (as defined in section 603(f) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act information regarding the amount of overdue support owed by any absent parent who resides in the State.’.

    (b) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendment made by subsection (a) shall take effect on October 1, 1994.

TITLE V--NATIONAL JURISDICTION

SEC. 501. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

    (a) The Congress finds that--

      (1) there are a large and growing number of child support cases annually involving disputes between parents or alleged parents who reside in different States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territories and possessions of the United States, and Indian country;

      (2) the laws by which the courts of these jurisdictions determining their jurisdiction to adjudicate parentage and establish child support orders are not uniform;

      (3) these nonuniform laws, along with the limits imposed by a Federal system on the authority of each jurisdiction to take certain actions outside its own boundaries, contribute to the pressing problem of parties moving to avoid jurisdiction, to inequities based solely on choice of domicile, to a disregard of court orders resulting in massive arrearages nationwide, to excessive relitigation of cases, to the establishment of conflicting orders by the courts of various jurisdictions, and to interstate travel and communication that is so expensive and time consuming as to disrupt parties’ occupations and commercial activities;

      (4) among the results of these conditions are the failure of the courts of such jurisdictions to give full faith and credit to the judicial proceedings of the other jurisdictions, the deprivation of rights of liberty and property without due process of law, burdens of commerce among such jurisdictions, and harm to the welfare of children and their parents and other custodians;

      (5) the child’s best interests should play a decisive role in the determination of jurisdiction in actions arising from domestic relations;

      (6) it is in the child’s best interest to expand the forums available in which a contestant can validly assert personal jurisdiction over a nonresident contestant in an action to adjudicate parentage or make a child support order;

      (7) a State has an interest in the financial stability of its children citizens;

      (8) it is reasonably foreseeable for a parent or presumed parent to be required to support his or her child wherever that child is domiciled;

      (9) if a parent fails to fulfill his or her support obligations to a child, it is the State where the child is domiciled that may incur public expenditures on behalf of that child; and

      (10) the domicile of a child to whom a support obligation is owed or presumed to be owed is a sufficient connection between a parent or presumed parent and the child’s State to make it fair to require the parent to defend the action in the child’s State of domicile.

    (b) For these reasons it is necessary to establish national standards under which the courts of such jurisdictions will determine their jurisdiction to adjudicate parentage and to establish a child support order and the effect to be given by each jurisdiction to such decisions by the courts of other jurisdictions.

    (c) The purposes of this title are to--

      (1) expand the forums available to adjudicate parentage and to establish a child support order so that such actions may be heard in the State which has the strongest interest in the child’s financial security;

      (2) promote and expand the exchange of information and other forms of mutual assistance between States which are concerned with the same child;

      (3) facilitate the enforcement of support decrees of sister States;

      (4) discourage continuing interstate controversies over child support in the interest of greater financial stability and secure family relationships for the child; and

      (5) avoid jurisdictional competition and conflict between State courts in matters of adjudication of parentage and establishment of child support order which have in the past resulted in the movement of parties among the States and a low percentage of interstate cases with support orders, adversely affecting children’s well-being.

SEC. 502. FULL FAITH AND CREDIT GIVEN TO CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS.

    Chapter 115 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 1738A the following:

‘SEC. 1738B. FULL FAITH AND CREDIT GIVEN TO CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS.

    ‘(a) The appropriate authorities of every State shall enforce according to its terms, and shall not modify except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, any child support order made consistently with the provisions of this section by a court of another State.

    ‘(b) As used in this section, the term--

      ‘(1) ‘child’ means any person under the age of 18; and includes an individual 18 or more years of age for whom a child support order can be made under the rendering State’s law;

      ‘(2) ‘child’s State’ means the State in which the child is currently domiciled with a parent, or a person acting as a parent;

      ‘(3) ‘child support order’ means a judgment, decree or order of a court requiring the payment of money, whether in periodic amounts or lump sum, for the support of a child and includes permanent and temporary orders, initial orders and modifications, ongoing support and arrearages;

      ‘(4) ‘contestant’ means a person, including a parent, who claims a right to receive child support or is under an order to pay child support. ‘Contestant’ includes States and political subdivisions to whom support rights have been assigned;

      ‘(5) ‘court’ means a court, administrative process or quasijudicial process of a State which is authorized to adjudicate parentage, establish the amount of support payable by a contestant, or modify the amount of support payable by a contestant;

      ‘(6) ‘domicile’ means physical residence accompanied by an intent to indefinitely remain there;

      ‘(7) ‘home State’ means a State in which, immediately preceding the time involved, the child lived with his parents, a parent, or a person acting as parent, for at least 6 consecutive months, and in the case of a child less than 6 months old, the State in which the child lived from birth with any of such persons. Periods of temporary absence of any of such persons are counted as part of the 6-month or other period;

      ‘(8) ‘modification’ and ‘modify’ refer to a child support order which modifies, replaces, supersedes, or otherwise is made subsequent to, a prior child support order concerning the same child, whether made by the same court or not;

      ‘(9) ‘person acting as a parent’ means a child, other than a parent, who has physical custody of a child and who has either been awarded custody by a court or claims a right to custody; and

      ‘(10) ‘State’ means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a territory or possession of the United States, or an Indian tribe.

    ‘(c) A child support order made by a court of a State is consistent with the provisions of this section only if such court had personal jurisdiction of the contestants. A court has personal jurisdiction over a nonresident contestant if one or more of the following factors are met--

      ‘(1) the individual is personally served with a citation, summons, or notice in the State;

      ‘(2) the individual submits to the jurisdiction of the State by consent, by entering a general appearance, or by filing a responsive document having the effect of waiving any contest to personal jurisdiction;

      ‘(3) the individual resided with the child in the State;

      ‘(4) the individual resided in the State and provided prenatal expenses or support for the child;

      ‘(5) the child resides in the State as a result of the acts or directives of the individual;

      ‘(6) the individual engaged in sexual intercourse in the State and the child may have been conceived by that act of intercourse;

      ‘(7) the individual asserted parentage in the putative father registry maintained in the State by the appropriate agency; or

      ‘(8) there is any other basis consistent with the constitutions of the State and the United States for the exercise of personal jurisdiction.

    ‘(d) A court of a State which has made a child support order consistently with the provisions of this section has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction for so long as such State remains the child’s State or the residence of any contestant.

    ‘(e) Before a child support order is made, reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard shall be given to the contestants.

    ‘(f) A court of a State may modify a child support order for the same child made by a court of another State, if--

      ‘(1) it has jurisdiction to make such a child support order; and

      ‘(2) the court of the other State no longer has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction because such State no longer is the child’s State or the residence of any contestant, or each individual party has filed written consent for the State to modify the order and assume continuing exclusive jurisdiction.

    ‘(g) A court of a State shall not exercise jurisdiction in any proceeding for a child support order commenced during the pendency of a proceeding in a court of another State where such court of that other State is exercising jurisdiction consistently with the provisions of this section to make a child support order unless--

      ‘(1) the proceeding in the State is filed before the expiration of the time allowed in the other State for filing a responsive pleading challenging the exercise of jurisdiction by the other State;

      ‘(2) the contesting party timely challenges the exercise of jurisdiction in the other State; and

      ‘(3) if applicable, the State is the home State of the child.’.

SEC. 503. REQUIRED STATE LONG ARM JURISDICTION.

    Section 466(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 666(a)), as amended by sections 101(b) and 201(b) of this Act, is amended by inserting after paragraph (13) the following:

      ‘(14) Effective January 1, 1994, procedures under which the State may validly assert personal jurisdiction over a nonresident contestant for purposes of adjudicating parentage and/or establishing a child support order if one or more of the following factors are met--

        ‘(A) the individual is personally served with a citation, summons, or notice in the State;

        ‘(B) the individual submits to the jurisdiction of the State by consent, by entering a general appearance, or by filing a responsive document having the effect of waiving any contest to personal jurisdiction;

        ‘(C) the individual resided with the child in the State;

        ‘(D) the individual resided in the State and provided prenatal expenses or support for the child;

        ‘(E) the child resides in the State as a result of the acts or directives of the individual;

        ‘(F) the individual engaged in sexual intercourse in the State and the child may have been conceived by that act of intercourse;

        ‘(G) the individual asserted parentage in the putative father registry maintained in the State by the appropriate agency; or

        ‘(H) there is any other basis consistent with the constitutions of the State and the United States for the exercise of personal jurisdiction.’.

SEC. 504. DUE PROCESS.

    Based on the findings set forth in section 501, Congress pursuant to its powers to enforce the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Commerce Clause, the General Welfare Clause, and the Full Faith and Credit Clause declares that due process is satisfied when a child’s State of domicile asserts personal jurisdiction over a nonresident contestant who is the parent or presumed parent as defined by that State’s law of that child in an action to adjudicate parentage or establish a child support order.

SEC. 505. DURATION OF CHILD SUPPORT.

    (a) Subject to subsections (b) and (c), one or both parents may be ordered to pay child support for a child, until the later of the following occurs:

      (1) the child reaches the age of 18 and is no longer enrolled as a student in an accredited secondary school or its vocational or private equivalent; or

      (2) the child, enrolled at the time of reaching the age of 18 as a student working toward fulfilling requirements to receive a high school diploma or its vocational or private equivalent, subsequently--

        (A) graduates; or

        (B) reaches the maximum age permitted under State law for enrollment in public secondary education in that State.

    (b)(1) A child support duty may be extended to cover any of the following occurrences:

      (A) A child’s disability, if the child becomes disabled during the period he or she would qualify for support under subsection (a), for the period for which the child suffers a mental, physical, or emotional impairment that is so severe as to make improbable the ability of the child to live financially independently on a long-term basis, whether institutionalized or not, for as long as the impairment inhibits financial independence; an action under this paragraph may be brought only by a natural or adoptive parent of the child, or by the child or his or her guardian ad litem, entitlement to which cannot be assigned to any person or government agency, except to the State child support agency as defined under section 452 of title IV-D of the Social Security Act.

      (B) A child’s enrollment in an accredited postsecondary educational or vocational school, college, or institute if the child has not attained the age of 22; for the purpose of this section, a child is and continues to be an enrolled student during all regularly scheduled or approved school breaks including summer recess; the trier of fact shall decide whether any intervals in attendance between secondary and postsecondary education and any intervals between enrollments in postsecondary educational or vocational schools, college, or institutes require the continuation of the obligation of providing support during those intervals.

      (C) If a written, voluntary agreement, executed by the parents of the child or oral, voluntary confirmed by both parents of a child, extends the duty until the child reaches a certain age or until a specified event occurs.

    (2) Child support ordered under this subsection may follow the State’s guidelines for determining support or may deviate without need of special justification if the order states the reasoning behind the amount set and the calculations therefor.

    (c) The duty to provide current child support terminates for a child at the time any one of the following events occurs:

      (1) The child dies.

      (2) The child marries.

      (3) The child’s parent who has a support duty has his or her parental rights terminated regarding that child; if another person has a duty to support the child, the other person’s support duty is not extinguished.

      (4) The child is emancipated by court order.

      (5) The child enlists in the armed forces and reports for active duty.

    (d) A child support duty shall continue after the death or permanent, total disability of one or both parents who owe a support duty until conditions under subsection (a), (b), or (c) are met, with said support having priority payment and distribution status above that belonging to all other non-Federal creditors.

    (e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), (b), (c), or (d), termination of a child support duty does not relieve the obligor of liability for past-due support.

    (f) Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, a child in foster care is entitled to parental support for as long as Federal and State law permit.

    (g) A child born out-of-wedlock whose parentage has been determined under law is entitled to the same duration of support as a child born to a marriage.

    (h) A child or his or her guardian ad litem has a right to bring an action under this section as does either one of the child’s parents or the State child support agency as defined in section 452 of title IV-D of the Social Security Act.

    (i) Nothing prohibits a State from enacting duration of support laws that provide a longer duration of support than that which this section provides.

TITLE VI--ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS

SEC. 601. ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS.

    Section 466(a)(2) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 666(a)(2)) is amended to read as follows:

      ‘(2) Procedures under which expedited administrative processes are used to establish paternity in contested paternity cases and to establish and enforce support orders in all cases.’.

TITLE VII--MEDICAL CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS ISSUED BY ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATORS

SEC. 701. TECHNICAL CORRECTION TO ERISA DEFINITION OF MEDICAL CHILD SUPPORT ORDER.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Section 609(a)(2)(B) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 1169(a)(2)(B)) is amended--

      (1) by striking ‘issued by a court of competent jurisdiction’;

      (2) by striking the period at the end of clause (ii) and inserting a comma; and

      (3) by adding, after and below clause (ii), the following:

        ‘if such judgment, decree, or order (I) is issued by a court of competent jurisdiction or (II) is issued by an administrative adjudicator and has the force and effect of law under applicable State law.’.

    (b) EFFECTIVE DATE-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The amendments made by this section shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.

      (2) PLAN AMENDMENTS NOT REQUIRED UNTIL JANUARY 1, 1995- Any amendment to a plan required to be made by an amendment made by this section shall not be required to be made before the first plan year beginning on or after January 1, 1995, if--

        (A) during the period after the date before the date of the enactment of this Act and before such first plan year, the plan is operated in accordance with the requirements of the amendments made by this section, and

        (B) such plan amendment applies retroactively to the period after the date before the date of the enactment of this Act and before such first plan year.

      A plan shall not be treated as failing to be operated in accordance with the provisions of the plan merely because it operates in accordance with this paragraph.

TITLE VIII--ELIMINATION OF OPERATING SUBSIDIES FOR VACANT PUBLIC HOUSING

SEC. 801. ELIMINATION OF OPERATING SUBSIDIES FOR VACANT PUBLIC HOUSING.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Section 9(a)(3)(B) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437g(a)(3)(B)) is amended--

      (1) in clause (iv), by striking ‘and’ at the end;

      (2) in clause (v), by striking the period at the end and inserting ‘; and’; and

      (3) by adding at the end the following new clause:

      ‘(vi) no payment may be provided under this section for any dwelling unit that has been vacant for a period of 180 days or more unless such unit is vacant because of comprehensive modernization, major reconstruction, demolition, or disposition activities that have been funded or approved.’.

    (b) ELIMINATION OF ANNUAL CONTRIBUTION RESERVE- Section 14(p) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437l(p)) is amended by striking paragraph (3).

    (c) RECAPTURE OF ANNUAL CONTRIBUTION RESERVE- The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall recapture any amounts reserved from annual contributions for public housing agencies and deposited in accounts established on behalf of the agencies pursuant to paragraph (3) of section 14(p) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (as in effect immediately before the date of the enactment of this Act).