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Massachusetts State Law

1. General Program-At-A-Glance

1. How many local child support offices are in your state excluding agencies with cooperative agreements?
2. What is the name of your IV-D agency?
3. Is your state administrative, judicial, or a combination of both? In particular, does your state primarily use judicial or administrative procedures to establish and/or enforce support orders? Please describe.
4. Does your state use the following applications: EDE, CSENET, QUICK?

2. Duration Of Support

1. What is the duration of support in your state? Include the age of majority when the support obligation ends in the absence of other factors. Include your state's statutory citation(s).

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2. If not addressed in the order, at what age is child support automatically terminated as a matter of state law? Qualify, if necessary.

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3. Does the date of the order determine the law that is applied to the duration of support? If yes, describe.

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4. Does your state law allow support to be paid beyond the age of majority under certain circumstances (for example, if the child has a disability or is in college)? If yes, describe.

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5. What are your state's laws regarding the emancipation of the child that would result in early termination of the child support obligation? Describe.

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6. Does child support end if the child no longer lives with the custodial parent but does not emancipate according to state law? For example, the child graduates from high school at 17 and no longer lives with the custodial parent?
7. For orders that include multiple children, does your state automatically reduce the current support owed for remaining children after one of the children in the order reaches the age of majority or otherwise emancipates? If yes, describe.
8. Does your state provide IV-D services to establish support for a child who is no longer a minor but for whom state law provides post-majority support (for example, if the child has a disability or is in college)? If yes, please describe the specific circumstances.

3. Statute Of Limitations

1. What is your state's statute of limitations for the collection of past-due support?

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2. What is your state's statute of limitations for the establishment of paternity/parentage? Please explain.

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3. Is dormancy revival/renewal possible? If yes, under what circumstances and for how long?

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4. Support Details

1. What guideline type or method does your state use to calculate child support (for example, Income Shares Model, Percentage of Income Model, Melson Formula)?

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2. Does your state have any statute(s) addressing interest on arrears? If yes, indicate the amount of interest charged, any related conditions, and the statutory citation.

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3. Does your state's IV-D agency calculate interest on arrears? If yes, indicate the amount of interest charged and any related conditions.
4. Does your state charge interest on retroactive support? If yes, indicate the amount of interest charged and any related conditions.
5. Will your state enforce a medical debt for any uninsured portion? If yes, under what circumstances?
6. If your state has issued an order, and another IV-D agency asserts that the person/entity entitled to receive child support payments has changed from the person/entity designated in your state's order (due to a change in placement or foster care status), what does your state require in order to change the person/entity entitled to receive payments?
6.1. Does it matter if the child receives TANF or Medicaid-only? If so, explain.

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7. Does your state require that a custodial party, who is not one of the biological parents, have legal custody of a child before enforcing an order for support that was issued to the biological parents as the parties for non-public assistance cases?

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8. Does your state IV-D agency give the noncustodial parent credit toward child support for Auxiliary Benefits received directly by the custodial parent on behalf of a child as a result of the noncustodial parent's Social Security Retirement, Survivors, or Disability Insurance (RSDI) benefit?

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9. Does your state abate support? If yes, explain the circumstances and provide your statutory citation.

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5. Paternity/Parentage

1. Does your state law require custody and visitation to be addressed at the time of paternity/parentage establishment? If yes, please describe and provide the statutory citation.

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2. What is the percentage of probability for genetic testing that creates a rebuttable or conclusive presumption of paternity?

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3. What is the state law citation that makes paternity acknowledgment conclusive? Please describe (if appropriate).

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4. Does marriage constitute a rebuttable presumption of paternity/parentage without exceptions? Please describe and provide your statutory citation.

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5. Does the father's name on the birth certificate constitute a conclusive presumption of paternity? Please provide your state citation. If no, please describe.

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6. Does your state have any other paternity/parentage-related presumptions? If yes, please describe.
7. What, if any, is the agency name and link for your state's putative fathers' registry?

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8. What documents regarding paternity can your state's IV-D agency provide to other IV-D agencies? Are there any charges to the requesting IV-D agencies?

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9. Does your states bureau of vital statistics charge any fees to other states or private individuals for requesting searches, paternity/parentage documents, and data?

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9.1. Describe any circumstances under which these fees may be waived?

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10. Is common-law marriage currently recognized in your state? If yes, describe the standard that defines common-law marriage and the date the standard went into effect.
11. If there was a prior common-law standard in your state that is no longer in effect, what were the dates that standard was in effect? Describe the standard.
12. If there is more than one child with the same custodial party and the same alleged father, should an initiating jurisdiction send one intergovernmental packet to your state (with a separate Declaration in Support of Establishing Parentage forms for each child) or a separate intergovernmental packet for each child?

6. Support Order Establishment

1. Does your state use an administrative, judicial, or a combined process to establish a support obligation?
1.1 If your state can establish both administratively and judicially, under what circumstances would your state use the administrative process? Please provide the statutory citation for your state's administrative procedures.

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1.2. Under what circumstances would your state use the judicial process? Please provide the statutory citation for your state's judicial procedures.

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2. When setting support using your state's guidelines, whose income is considered in addition to the noncustodial parent's (for example, custodial parent, spouse, child)?

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2.1. What documentation is required as proof/evidence of this information?
3. What criteria for rebutting your presumptive guidelines have been established in your state?

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4. Will your state establish support orders for prior periods of support? If yes, please describe (for example, from the birth of the child, from date of separation, prenatal expenses, five years retroactive).

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4.1. What information or documentation does your state require to proceed with establishing support for prior periods?

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4.2. Will your state allow a petition for support for a minor child when the only issue is retroactive support?
4.3. If there are limitations upon your state's ability to establish support for prior periods, specify those limitations.

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5. Does your state require that a custodial party, who is not a biological parent, have legal custody of a child before establishing an order for support when public assistance is being expended?

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5.1. What about when public assistance is not being expended?
6. When your state has issued an order that reserves support, and now child support should be ordered, does your state require establishment or modification?

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7. When there is an existing support order between the parents of a child and the child's residence changes from one parent to the other, does your state require that the new custodial parent obtain legal custody before child support is addressed? Please describe.

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7. Income Withholding

1. What are specific sources of income not subject to withholding?

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2. Does your state law adopt the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) income withholding limits? Please provide the statutory citation.

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2.1. Does your state have policy or procedures allowing the agency to use lower limits than the CCPA?

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2.2. What are the withholding limits for non-employees?

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3. What is the maximum fee for the administrative cost that an employer may charge for processing income withholding orders? (45 CFR 303.100 (e)(iii).

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4. Does your state charge any fees to the noncustodial parent that the employer must withhold and remit to the state? If yes, please explain.

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5. Is an employer required to begin withholding after the date of service, receipt, or mailing of an income withholding order?

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5.1. How many days following the first pay period that occurs after service, receipt, or mailing of an income withholding order is an employer required to begin withholding?

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6. When must an employer remit amounts withheld from an employee's pay?

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7. What are your state's sanctions for employers for not implementing income withholding?

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7.1. What are the penalties to an employer for failure to remit payments withheld?

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8. Does your state allow other jurisdictions to send income withholding orders for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits directly to your state's UI agency? If yes, please explain your process and include any additional required documents.

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8.1. If no, what is your state's process to aid the other jurisdictions in withholding UI benefits? Please describe and include the required documents.

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9. Does your state allow other jurisdictions to send income withholding orders directly to a noncustodial parent's financial institution in your state? If yes, please explain your process and include any additional required documents.

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9.1. If no, what is your state's process to aid the other jurisdiction in collecting from a financial institution? Please describe and include the required documents.
10. How does a noncustodial parent contest an income withholding in your state?

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11. How does your state allocate payments when there is more than one claim against the noncustodial parent's income? Should the payment be divided equally or pro-rated among the cases? (See 45 CFR 303.100(a)(5).)
12. When calculating disposable income for child support purposes, what are the mandatory deductions from gross income required by state law, such as union dues or medical insurance premiums?

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13. When does your state require the employer to send notice of an employee's termination?

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14. When your state is enforcing an order and receives payment through income withholding that is not enough to cover the full amount ordered, how does your state apply the payment to the types of support (for example, current, arrears, medical, spousal support, other)? Please describe and provide the statutory citations, if appropriate.

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8. Distribution

1. Does your state pass through collections (and disregard collections for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) eligibility purposes) in current assistance cases? If yes, provide the amount and explain.
2. Does your state participate in the pass-through in former assistance cases? If yes, provide the date and explain.
3. In former assistance cases, are federal income tax refund offset payments applied to families first (DRA distribution) or state arrears first (PRWORA distribution)?
4. How does your state distribute payments when the noncustodial parent has arrears due to your state and another state?
4.1. If there are no arrears due to your state, how does your state distribute payments when the noncustodial parent has arrears due to multiple states?

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9. Enforcement

1. What data matches (for example, financial institution, state lottery) and enforcement remedies are available through Automated Administrative Enforcement in Interstate Cases (AEI) in your state? (See AT-08-06: Implementing Section 466(a)(14) of the Social Security Act, High-Volume, Automated Administrative Enforcement in Interstate Cases.)
2. What criteria must be met, and in addition to Transmittal #3, what documentation does your state require to proceed with an AEI request?
3. What are your state's criteria for reporting a noncustodial parent's child support information to credit bureaus?

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4. To which credit bureaus does your state report a noncustodial parent's child support information?
5. Is the method for credit bureau reporting judicial, administrative, or both?
6. Can a noncustodial parent who no longer has a past-due account have the report removed from the credit bureau? If so, what must the noncustodial parent do?"
7. When your state is the responding state, does it submit past-due cases to OCSE for federal administrative offset? If yes, what is the minimum required past-due amount?
8. When your state is the initiating state, does it submit past-due cases to OCSE for federal administrative offset? If yes, what is the minimum required past-due amount?
9. When your state is the responding state, does it submit past-due cases to OCSE for insurance match? If yes, what is the minimum required past-due amount?
10. When your state is the initiating state, does it submit past-due cases to OCSE for insurance match? If yes, what is the minimum required past-due amount?
11. When your state is the responding state, does it submit past-due cases to OCSE for MSFIDM? If yes, what is the minimum required past-due amount?
12. When your state is the initiating state, does it submit past-due cases to OCSE for MSFIDM? If yes, what is the minimum past-due amount?
13. When your state is the responding state, does it submit past-due cases to OCSE for passport denial?
14. Are the financial institution attachment procedures in your state judicial, administrative, or both?
15. Are there specific account types exempt from the administrative, financial institution attachment process in your state? If yes, which account types are exempt?

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16. Is the financial institution attachment process in your state centralized and/or automated?
17. What are the criteria to attach an account in a financial institution in your state?
18. Does your state's law require financial institutions doing business in your state to accept enforcement actions directly from other states? If yes, provide the statutory citation. Please explain.

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19. If there are no statutory criteria required to attach an account, describe the process for requesting a financial institution attachment from another child support agency (for example, a Transmittal #3) and list additional documentation required.
20. Does your state's income withholding definition include amounts in financial institutions?

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21. Does your state require sending a notice of intent to the noncustodial parent when attaching an account in a financial institution? Who notifies the noncustodial parent - the state, the financial institution, or both?

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22. How long does the financial institution have to hold funds before sending the noncustodial parent's assets to your child support agency?

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23. Does your state law or policy require the financial institution and/or state to hold the attached assets during the challenge or appeal time frame? If yes, provide the statutory citation and time frames.

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24. What amount or percentage of the noncustodial parent's financial assets are eligible for attachment? Is this different for joint accounts? Please explain.

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25. What are the criteria for a noncustodial parent and/or joint account holder to contest a financial institution attachment?

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26. Does your state have procedures to liquidate non-liquid assets (for example, stocks, bonds, etc.)? If yes, provide the statutory citation and the procedures to follow.

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27. What are your state's criteria for driver's license revocation/suspension for nonpayment of support?

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28. What are your state's criteria for driver's license restoration/reinstatement, including hardship exemptions?
29. Does your state allow temporary or conditional driver's licenses? If yes, what are the criteria?
30. What are your state's criteria for professional license revocation/suspension for nonpayment of support? Specify the professional license types.
31. What are your state's criteria for professional license restoration/reinstatement, including hardship exemptions?
32. Does your state allow temporary or conditional professional licenses? If yes, what are the criteria?
33. What are your state's criteria for recreational license revocation/suspension for nonpayment of support? Specify the recreational license types.
34. What are your state's criteria for recreational license restoration/reinstatement, including hardship exemptions?
35. Does your state allow temporary or conditional recreational licenses? If yes, what are the criteria?

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36. What are the criteria for initiating/filing a lien in your state?

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37. Is the lien process in your state primarily judicial, administrative, or both? Please describe.
38. Does your state enforce property seizure and sale? If so, is this process primarily judicial, administrative, or both? Please describe.

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39. Does your state have a state income tax refund offset as an enforcement remedy? If yes, describe whether the process for this remedy is primarily judicial, administrative, or a combination.
40. Does your state intercept lottery or other types of gaming/gambling winnings in your state? If so, what kind of winnings are included?
40.1. If yes, is this enforcement judicial, administrative, or both?
41. What other administrative enforcement procedures are available in your state that are not otherwise described in the IRG?
42. What other judicial enforcement procedures are available in your state that are not otherwise described in the IRG?

10. Modification And Review/Adjustment

1. How frequently does your state conduct order reviews in IV-D cases (for example, every year or every three years)? (See 45 CFR 303.8.)

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2. What is your state's modification procedure? Briefly describe.

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3. What are the criteria for modification under your state's guidelines (for example, a change that is more than $50 or 20% upward or downward from the current amount ordered)?

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4. Which of the following criteria for demonstrating a change in circumstances apply for modifying an order?

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4.1. The earnings of the noncustodial parent have substantially increased or decreased.
4.2. The earnings of the custodial parent have substantially increased or decreased.
4.3. The needs of a party or the child(ren) have substantially increased or decreased.

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4.4. The cost of living has changed.
4.5. The child(ren) has extraordinary medical expenses not covered by insurance.
4.6. There has been a substantial change in childcare expenses.
4.7. What other criteria does your state use for demonstrating a change in circumstances for modifying an order?

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5. Does your state have a cost of living adjustment (COLAs) for orders? If yes, what index does your state use? (See 45 CFR 303.8(b)(1)(ii).)
6. After learning that a parent who owes support will be incarcerated for more than 180 calendar days, does your state elect to initiate a review of an order without the need for a specific request, i.e., automatically? (See 45 CFR 303.8(b)(2).)

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11. Lump Sum Payments

1. What is your state's definition of a lump sum, if it has one? Provide the statutory citation. (Note: States may define "lump sum" more broadly than only employer- related lump sums.)

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2. Does your state law require employers to report lump sum payments? If yes, provide the statutory citation or rule.

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3. How does your state attach different types of lump sum payments? For example, does your state use the OMB-approved income withholding order for employer-issued bonuses, a lien, and levy notice for workers' compensation (if workers' compensation is considered a lump sum payment in your state), etc.?

12. Cost Recovery And Fees

1. Does your state elect to recover costs in excess of any fees collected to cover administrative costs in your child support state plan? (See section 454(6) of the Social Security Act and 45 CFR 302.33(d).) If yes, does your state collect excess actual or standardized costs on a case-by-case basis? Please describe.
1.1. If yes, does your state recover costs from the custodial parent or the noncustodial parent? (Note: No costs can be assessed against a foreign custodial parent applying through a Central Authority in a Hague Convention country, a foreign reciprocating country, or a foreign country with state-level reciprocity.)
2. Does your state recover costs on behalf of an initiating state that has elected to do cost recovery? If yes, describe.
3. How does your state impose and collect the mandatory $35 annual fee (after collecting the first $550)? This fee is applicable in IV-D cases in which individuals who never received IV-A assistance are receiving IV-D services. (See 45 CFR 302.33(e).) See options below.
3.1. Is it retained by the state from support collected?
3.2. Is it paid by the individual applying for child support services?
3.3. Is it recovered from the noncustodial parent?
3.4. Is it paid by the state out of its state funds?

13. Insurance Match

1. Does your state have legislation requiring insurance companies to work with child support agencies to identify claimants who owe past-due child support? Describe the requirements and provide the statutory citation. How does your state allocate payments when there is more than one claim against the noncustodial parent's income? Should the payment be divided equally or pro-rated among the cases? (See 45 CFR 303.100(a)(5).)

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2. What criteria must a noncustodial parent meet to be eligible for your states participation in the federal insurance match program?
3. What process does your state use to intercept insurance payments?

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4. How does another state initiate and intercept collections from your states workers compensation agency?

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5. Does your state participate in the Child Support Lien Network or CSLN (which provides insurance match services)?

14. Family Violence

15. CSENet

1. When your state is the initiating state, does it send a Child Support Enforcement Network (CSENet) case closure transaction to let the responding state know your state has closed its case (including the reason for closure) and/or the responding state's intergovernmental services are no longer needed? (MSC P GSC15; 45 CFR 303.7(c)(11).)
2. When your state is the responding state, does it send a CSENet case closure transaction to notify the initiating state that its case is closed based on one of the following reasons: (MSC P GSC16)? Initiating state failure to take an action essential for the next steps? (45 CFR 303.11(b)(17).) The initiating state requested the responding state to close the case? (45 CFR 303.7(d)(10).)
3. When your state is the initiating state, does it send a CSENet case closure transaction to notify the responding state that it must stop any income withholding orders or notices and close the intergovernmental case? (MSC P GSC17; 45 CFR 303.7(c)(12).)
4. When your state is the responding state, does it send a CSENet case closure transaction to notify the initiating state that, per its request, the case is closed, and your state has stopped its income withholding order? (MSC P GSC18; 45 CFR 303.7(d)(9).)
5. Does your state send CSENet transactions to request interest information? (MSC R GRINT)
6. Does your state send CSENet transactions to provide another state with interest and arrears information? (MSC P GSTAI)

16. Copies Of Orders And Payment Records

1. What are the procedures and associated costs for obtaining a certified copy of a court order?

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2. What are the procedures and associated costs for obtaining a certified payment record?

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17. Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA)

1. What is the statutory citation for your state's enactment of UIFSA?

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2. How does your state define the tribunal (See UIFSA 103)?

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3. How many copies or sets of documents does your state need for an intergovernmental case referral that is not sent electronically?
4. Does your state require initiating states to send intergovernmental forms in a one-sided format (when sending paper copies)?

18. International - Reciprocity

1. With which foreign countries or other jurisdictions (such as Quebec) does your state have state-level reciprocity for child support? (Do not include federal foreign reciprocating or Hague Convention countries.)
2. Does your state exercise its option for enforcement of spousal-only orders for a foreign reciprocating country, a Hague Convention country, or a foreign country with which your state has state-level reciprocity? (See section 454(32)(B) of the Social Security Act.)
3. Does your state agency accept direct applications for services from individuals residing outside the United States (See UIFSA 307 - Alternative A), or does your state's law allow discretion in accepting these applications (See UIFSA 307 - Alternative B)?

19. International Information For Hague Convention Countries

1. When a Hague Convention country seeks registration of a Convention support order in your state, does your state allow the country to send an abstract (or summary) of the order on the Hague Abstract of a Decision form in lieu of the complete text? (See UIFSA 706(b) (1).)

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2. Does your state send and receive pleadings and documents electronically in international cases? If yes, specify the types of pleadings and documents your state can send and receive electronically.
3. What methods of personal service does your state use?
4. When establishing a child support order, what can be included as add-ons to the child support guideline amount? Please provide the relevant statutory or case law citation. (See also question 1 under Support Details.)

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5. Does your state encourage amicable solutions between parents to promote voluntary payment of support, such as the use of mediation, conciliation, or similar consent processes? If yes, describe.
6. What circumstances will cause your state to end child support before the normal duration?

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20. International Payments

1. How does your state disburse child support payments to foreign reciprocating and Hague Convention countries when your state is the responding state in a case?
2. What actions does your state take to reduce the costs and fees associated with international payment processing?
3. Does your state accept electronic payments from foreign reciprocating or Hague Convention countries in international cases? If so, provide payment instructions.

21. Tribal Non IV-D

1. Has your state established cooperative arrangements with any Indian tribes or tribal organizations that don't have a tribal IV-D program?
1.1. If yes, list the tribes and identify services provided, if less than full services.

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2. Does your state have any IV-D attorneys licensed to practice in the courts of Indian tribes or tribal organizations that don't have tribal IV-D programs?