Title 15
Domestic Relations

Chapter 21
Child Support Lien Act

R.I. Gen. Laws § 15-21-3

§ 15-21-3. Notice.

(a)(1) Notice. When the department of administration, division of taxation, child support enforcement, determines that child support is unpaid, it shall send written notice of intent to lien to the obligor by first class mail at his or her most recent address of record.

(2) The notice of intent shall specify the amount unpaid as of the date of the notice or other date certain and the obligor’s right to request a hearing by filing a written request with the department within thirty (30) days of the date of the notice. The notice shall identify the property, real or personal, which is subject to the lien. In addition, the notice shall:

(i) State that the obligor has the right to a hearing on the issue of whether, and how much, child support is unpaid, and that the obligor may request a hearing within thirty (30) days of the date of the notice. The notice shall explain the procedure for requesting a hearing. If the obligor requests a hearing, the administrator or his or her designee shall conduct the hearing expeditiously and the department shall not conduct further lien enforcement action until the director or his or her designee makes a final determination that the obligor is in arrears in the payment of a child support obligation.

(ii) State that certain property and funds, whether in cash or in bank accounts, may be from a lien exempt by law. The notice shall include a list of appropriate exemptions.

(iii) Inform the obligor of the right to claim that part or all of the funds subject to the lien that may be exempt by law and provide the obligor with the opportunity to have an immediate hearing on the exemption issue. The notice shall explain the procedure for requesting an exemption hearing, and provide the obligor thirty (30) days from the date of the notice of intent to lien in which to do so. Hearing procedures must include a method for requesting a hearing in person, by mail or by telephone.

(b) Exemption hearings. The department shall schedule and conduct the exemption hearing promptly. The department shall issue a written decision making specific findings of an obligor’s exemption claim(s), and, if it finds part or all of the funds held by the financial institution or other similar organization to be exempt, shall promptly notify that institution or organization of its determination.

(c) Effect of notice. The notice of intent to lien directed to any financial institution, or other similar institution or organization, shall operate as a hold on any and all accounts specified in the notice. Neither the obligor or non obligor joint owner shall be permitted to withdraw from those accounts until the earlier of:

(1) The date of the decision in obligor’s favor with regard to exemptions; or

(2) Until the administrative hearing and/or judicial process as described in this chapter, is completed and a determination is made.

(d) Recording of notice. If the property subject to the lien is real property or personal property, the title to which is maintained as a public record, the department may record a copy of the notice of intent to lien in the recorder of deeds, division of motor vehicles, or other place where the title to the property is recorded. Any person taking title to the property subsequent to the recording does so subject to the interest of the department, as it may be determined. The notice of intent shall be recorded no more than ten (10) days prior to the mailing of the notice to the obligor under subsection (a) of this section.

[See § 12-1-15 of the General Laws.]

History of Section.
P.L. 1995, ch. 370, art. 29, § 6; P.L. 1995, ch. 374, § 6; P.L. 1997, ch. 170, § 10; P.L. 2001, ch. 155, § 5.