2000-H 7579 am
Enacted 7/13/2000

A  N     A   C   T


Introduced By:  Representatives Quick and Kelley Date Introduced:  February 3, 2000

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 15-23.1-906 of the General Laws in Chapter 15-23.1 entitled "Uniform Interstate Family Support Act" is hereby amended to read as follows:

15-23.1-906. Legal counsel -- In any proceeding under this chapter, legal counsel for the department of administration division of taxation, child support enforcement, shall represent the obligee.

(a) Whether acting on its own behalf or on behalf of the obligee, obligor, or child, the department of administration, division of taxation, child support enforcement, and its attorneys served the public interest in ensuring that children are supported by their parents. The department does not represent the interests of any individual person, and its attorneys represent only the department. An attorney client relationship is not created between department attorneys and any person or entity other than the department of administration, division of taxation, child support enforcement, or when acting on behalf of the department of children, youth and families pursuant to section 15-9-3 or the department of human services pursuant to section 15-13-2, or another state child support agency pursuant to section 15-23.1-1 et. seq. The obligee, obligor, and child may obtain the services offered by the department but will not be legally represented by the attorneys for the department. Nothing herein shall preclude any party from retaining the services of a private attorney to legally represent their interests. The existence or appearance of a private attorney as counsel of record for the obligee, obligor, or child does not affect the department's right to act or provide services. The department is not required to provide a private attorney nor reimburse either the obligee, obligor, guardian or child for the services of private counsel.

(b) The department has the power of attorney to act in the name of any obligee to endorse and cash any drafts, checks, money orders, or other negotiable instruments received by the department on behalf of a child.

(c)(1) If the department is providing IV-D services, the department must be afforded notice and an opportunity to participate as an independent party in any proceeding, relating to paternity, to establishment, enforcement or modification of a support or medical obligation, whether initiated by the obligee, the obligor, or the child.

(2) The notice must reasonably inform the department of the issues to be determined in the proceeding, the names of the parties and the child, and the identity and location of the tribunal in which the issues will be determined. The notice is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for procedures necessary under the Rhode Island Rules of Civil Procedure to establish personal jurisdiction over the parties and department. If the department is not given notice, an agreement, judgment, decree, or order is void as to any interest of the department that is or may be affected by the agreement, judgment, decree, or order.

SECTION 2. Chapter 15-23.1 of the General Laws entitled "Uniform Interstate Family Support Act" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

15-23.1-908. Department of Administration , division of taxation, child support enforcement -- Powers and duties . -- (a) The department may take action to establish paternity, establish, enforce and modify child support orders under the provisions of appropriate sections under title 15 and in accordance with IV-D of the Social Security Act, and other appropriate state and federal statutes if the department:

(1) receives a referral on behalf of a child receiving benefits from the family independence program;

(2) receives a referral on behalf of a child in the care of the department of children, youth and families pursuant to section 15-9-1;

(3) receives an interstate referral under the provisions of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act;

(4) receives an application for services from a custodial parent, noncustodial parent, guardian of a child, or from the child. Provided, however, that all applicants shall receive a rights and responsibilities statement, a disclosure of representation statement and sign an acknowledgment of nonrepresentation prior to services being rendered. The notice shall inform the individual of his or her right to retain private counsel and of any free legal services that are available.

SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon passage.

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