§ 15-30-1. Legal counsel.
(a) Whether acting on its own behalf or on behalf of the obligee, obligor, or child, the department of human services, office of child support services, and its attorneys serve 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 human services, office of child support services, or when acting on behalf of the department of children, youth and families pursuant to § 15-9-3 or the department of human services pursuant to § 15-13-2, or another state child support agency pursuant to § 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) 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.
(d) 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.
(P.L. 2006, ch. 372, § 2; P.L. 2006, ch. 455, § 2.)