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Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 338-S.F.No. 2040 
                  An act relating to family law; modifying provisions 
                  dealing with the procedure for proceeding directly to 
                  hearing in the administrative process; modifying 
                  terminology to comport with the rules of court; 
                  amending Minnesota Statutes 1997 Supplement, sections 
                  518.5511, subdivisions 1, 3, 3a, and 4; and 518.5512, 
                  subdivisions 2, 3, and 4; repealing Minnesota Statutes 
                  1997 Supplement, section 518.5512, subdivision 3a. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1997 Supplement, section 
        518.5511, subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [GENERAL.] (a) An administrative process is 
        established to obtain, modify, and enforce child and medical 
        support orders and parentage orders and enforce maintenance if 
        combined with a child support proceeding.  All laws governing 
        these actions apply insofar as they are not inconsistent with 
        the provisions of this section and section 518.5512.  Wherever 
        other laws or rules are inconsistent with this section and 
        section 518.5512, the provisions in this section and section 
        518.5512 shall apply. 
           (b) All proceedings for obtaining, modifying, or enforcing 
        child and medical support orders and enforcing maintenance 
        orders if combined with a child support proceeding, are required 
        to be conducted in the administrative process when the public 
        authority is a party or provides services to a party or parties 
        to the proceedings.  Cases in which there is no assignment of 
        support or in which the public authority is not providing 
        services may not be conducted in the administrative process.  At 
        county option, the administrative process may include contempt 
        motions or actions to establish parentage.  Nothing contained 
        herein shall prevent a party, upon timely notice to the public 
        authority, from commencing an action or bringing a motion for 
        the establishment, modification, or enforcement of child support 
        or enforcement of maintenance orders if combined with a child 
        support proceeding in district court, if additional issues 
        involving domestic abuse, establishment or modification of 
        custody or visitation, property issues, or other issues outside 
        the jurisdiction of the administrative process, are part of the 
        motion or action, or from proceeding with a motion or action 
        brought by another party containing one or more of these issues 
        if it is pending in district court. 
           (c) A party may make a written request to the public 
        authority to initiate an uncontested administrative proceeding.  
        The initiating party may serve a copy of the written request on 
        the noninitiating party in accordance with the rules of civil 
        procedure.  If the public authority denies the request, the 
        public authority shall issue a notice of denial which denies the 
        request for relief within 30 days of receiving the written 
        request, states the reasons for the denial, and notifies the 
        party of the right to proceed directly to a contested 
        administrative proceeding hearing before an administrative law 
        judge according to subdivision 3a, paragraph (a).  If the party 
        proceeds directly to a contested hearing and files the requisite 
        documents, as provided by the commissioner, with the court 
        administrator within 30 days after the public authority's denial 
        and the party's action results in a modification of a child 
        support order, the modification may be retroactive to the date 
        the written request was received by served on the public 
        authority noninitiating party.  If the initiating party did not 
        serve the written request on the noninitiating party, 
        modification may be made retroactive as provided in section 
        518.64, subdivision 2, paragraph (d).  If the public authority 
        accepts the request and proceeds with the uncontested 
        administrative process, any order or modification may be 
        retroactive to the date the written request was received 
        by served on the public authority noninitiating party.  If the 
        initiating party did not serve the written request on the 
        noninitiating party, an order or modification may be made 
        retroactive to the date the public authority serves the proposed 
        order on the noninitiating party as provided in subdivision 2, 
        paragraph (a). 
           (d) The public authority may initiate actions in the 
        administrative process.  
           (e) For the purpose of the administrative process, all 
        powers, duties, and responsibilities conferred on judges of 
        district court to obtain and enforce child and medical support 
        and parentage and maintenance obligations, subject to the 
        limitations of this section are conferred on administrative law 
        judges, including the power to determine controlling interstate 
        orders, and to issue subpoenas, orders to show cause, and bench 
        warrants for failure to appear. 
           The administrative law judge has the authority to enter 
        parentage orders in which the custody and visitation provisions 
        are uncontested. 
           (f) Nonattorney employees of the public authority 
        responsible for child support may prepare, sign, serve, and file 
        complaints, motions, notices, summary notices, proposed orders, 
        default orders, consent orders, orders for blood or genetic 
        tests, and other documents related to the administrative process 
        for obtaining, modifying, or enforcing child and medical support 
        orders, orders establishing paternity, and related documents, 
        and orders to enforce maintenance if combined with a child 
        support order.  The nonattorney employee may issue 
        administrative subpoenas, conduct prehearing conferences, and 
        participate in proceedings before an administrative law judge.  
        This activity shall not be considered to be the unauthorized 
        practice of law.  Nonattorney employees may not represent the 
        interests of any party other than the public authority, and may 
        not give legal advice.  The nonattorney employees may act 
        subject to the limitations of section 518.5512. 
           (g) Any party may make a written request to the office of 
        administrative hearings for a subpoena compelling the attendance 
        of a witness or the production of books, papers, records, or 
        other documents relevant to the administrative process.  
        Subpoenas are enforceable through the district court.  The 
        public authority may also request a subpoena from the office of 
        administrative hearings for the production of a witness or 
        documents.  The nonattorney employee of the public authority may 
        issue subpoenas subject to the limitations in section 518.5512, 
        subdivision 6, paragraph (a), clause (2).  
           (h) At all stages of the administrative process, the county 
        attorney, or other attorney under contract, shall act as the 
        legal adviser for the public authority. 
           (i) The commissioner of human services shall:  
           (1) provide training to child support officers and other 
        persons involved in the administrative process; 
           (2) timely prepare simple and easy to understand and make 
        available to the public authority forms, in consultation with 
        the office of administrative hearings, for all notices and 
        orders prescribed in this section, including a support order 
        worksheet form, with the exception of orders issued by the 
        district court or the office of administrative hearings under 
        subdivision 4 subdivisions 2 and 3; and 
           (3) distribute money to cover the costs of the 
        administrative process, including the salaries of administrative 
        law judges.  If available appropriations are insufficient to 
        cover the costs, the commissioner shall prorate the amount among 
        the counties. 
           (j) The commissioner of human services, in consultation 
        with the office of administrative hearings, is responsible for 
        the supervision of the administrative process.  
           (k) The public authority, the office of administrative 
        hearings, court administrators, and other entities involved in 
        the administrative process shall use the forms prepared by the 
        commissioner for use in the uncontested administrative process. 
           (l) The office of administrative hearings may reject orders 
        that have not been submitted by the public authority under 
        subdivisions 2 and 3 if they are not prepared using the 
        commissioner's forms or on forms that have not been developed or 
        approved by the commissioner. 
           (m) The office of administrative hearings is responsible 
        for training and monitoring shall: 
           (1) train and monitor the performance of administrative law 
        judges, maintaining maintain records of proceedings, providing 
        provide transcripts upon request, and maintaining maintain the 
        integrity of the district court file.; and 
           (2) prepare and make available to court administrators and 
        the public authority forms that conform with requirements of the 
        rules of court that may be used by parties who proceed directly 
        to hearing under subdivision 3a. 
           Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1997 Supplement, section 
        518.5511, subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3.  [ADMINISTRATIVE CONFERENCE.] (a) If a party 
        contacts the public authority within 30 days of the date of 
        service of the proposed order, and the public authority does not 
        choose to proceed directly to a contested administrative 
        proceeding hearing, the public authority shall schedule a 
        conference, and shall send serve on the parties written notice 
        of the date, time, and place of the conference and the date, 
        time, and place of a contested administrative proceeding.  At 
        its option, the public authority may at the same time schedule a 
        hearing in the event the administrative conference fails to 
        resolve all of the issues on the parties.  The public authority 
        may request any additional information necessary to establish 
        child support.  The public authority may choose to go directly 
        to a contested administrative proceeding hearing and is not 
        required to conduct an administrative conference.  The date of 
        the contested administrative proceeding hearing must be set 
        within 31 days of the administrative conference or not more than 
        60 days from the date of the notice of the administrative 
        conference.  A request for a continuance must be made to the 
        chief administrative law judge according to Minnesota Rules, 
        part 1400.7500. 
           (b) The purpose of the conference is to review all 
        available information and seek an agreement to a consent order.  
        The notice shall state the purpose of the conference, and that 
        the proposed order will be entered as a final and binding 
        default order if both parties fail to appear at the conference.  
        The notice must also state that if only one party appears at the 
        conference and there is no new information provided, the matter 
        shall proceed by default.  The notice shall be served on the 
        parties by first class mail at their last known addresses, and 
        the method of service shall be documented in the public 
        authority file.  All available and relevant information must be 
        shared with the parties at the conference subject to the 
        limitations of sections 256.87, subdivision 8, 257.70, and 
        518.005, subdivision 5.  If a conference is not held, 
        information which would have been shared at the conference by 
        the public authority must be provided to a party or the party's 
        attorney within 15 days of receipt of a written request. 
           (c) A party alleging domestic abuse by the other party 
        shall not be required to participate in a conference.  In such a 
        case, the public authority shall meet separately with the 
        parties in order to determine whether an agreement can be 
        reached. 
           (d) If all parties appear at the conference and agree to 
        all issues, and the public authority approves the agreement, the 
        public authority shall prepare a consent order for the parties 
        and the public authority to sign.  The public authority shall 
        submit the consent order to the administrative law judge.  Upon 
        signature, the order is a final order and must be served on the 
        parties by first class mail. 
           (e) If only one party appears at the conference and there 
        is no new information available that party agrees to the terms 
        of the proposed order, or if both of the parties fail to appear 
        at the conference, the public authority may submit a default 
        order through the uncontested administrative process.  If only 
        one party appears at the conference and there is new information 
        available that party does not agree to the terms of the proposed 
        order, the matter shall proceed directly to the scheduled 
        contested administrative proceeding a hearing before an 
        administrative law judge.  
           (f) If the parties appear at the conference and do not 
        reach agreement to the entry of a consent order, the public 
        authority shall advise the parties that the matter remains 
        scheduled of the date, time, and place for a contested 
        administrative proceeding hearing, and that the public authority 
        will seek the establishment of child support at the proceeding 
        in accordance with the child support guidelines. 
           (g) If one or both of the parties appear at the 
        administrative conference and there is new information that 
        makes the proposed order unreasonable or inappropriate, the 
        public authority may issue a revised proposed order pursuant to 
        subdivision 2, paragraph (c), or proceed directly to a contested 
        administrative proceeding hearing. 
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1997 Supplement, section 
        518.5511, subdivision 3a, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3a.  [INTERIM ALTERNATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE 
        RESOLUTIONS.] (a)(1) In any case within the jurisdiction of the 
        administrative process, the public authority or any party may 
        proceed directly to a contested administrative proceeding 
        hearing under subdivision 4 by making a written request to the 
        public authority.  After the public authority receives a written 
        request, the public authority shall request or schedule a 
        contested administrative proceeding and inform the requester of 
        the date, time, and place of the hearing.  The public authority 
        shall also provide the requester with the contested 
        administrative documents necessary for the proceeding.  These 
        documents must be completed by the requester, served on the 
        other party and the public authority, and filed with the court 
        administrator at least 21 days before the hearing.  If the 
        documents are not filed with the court administrator, the 
        contested administrative proceeding must be canceled unless the 
        public authority or a party objects. serving pleadings on the 
        other party or parties and the public authority and filing the 
        pleadings with the court administrator.  The form and content of 
        the pleadings and the manner of service and filing must conform 
        with the requirements of the rules of court.  The office of 
        administrative hearings shall provide to court administrators 
        and the public authority forms that may be used by parties who 
        elect to proceed directly to hearing under this subdivision, as 
        set out in subdivision 1, paragraph (m), clause (2).  Nothing in 
        this subdivision requires a party or an attorney filing 
        pleadings on behalf of a party to use forms that have been 
        prepared by the office of administrative hearings. 
           (2) The public authority may also proceed directly to a 
        contested administrative proceeding.  
           (b) At any time in the administrative process, including 
        prior to the issuance of the proposed order, if the parties and 
        the public authority are in agreement, the public authority 
        shall prepare a consent order to be signed by the public 
        authority and the parties.  The parties must waive any of their 
        rights to the notices and time frames required by this section.  
        The public authority shall submit the order to the 
        administrative law judge.  Upon signature by the court, the 
        order is a final order and must be filed with the court 
        administrator and served by first class mail on the parties. 
           Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1997 Supplement, section 
        518.5511, subdivision 4, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 4.  [CONTESTED ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDING PROCESS.] (a)
        All counties shall participate in the contested administrative 
        process established in this section as designated in a statewide 
        implementation plan to be set forth by the commissioner of human 
        services.  No county shall be required to participate in the 
        contested administrative process until after the county has been 
        trained.  The contested administrative process shall be in 
        operation in all counties no later than July 1, 1998. 
           In counties designated by the commissioner, contested 
        administrative proceedings Hearings required under this section 
        shall be scheduled before administrative law judges, and shall 
        be conducted in accordance with the provisions under this 
        section.  In counties not designated by the commissioner, 
        contested administrative proceedings shall be conducted in 
        district court in accordance with the rules of civil procedure 
        and the rules of family court.  
           (b) An administrative law judge may conduct administrative 
        proceedings and approve a stipulation reached on a contempt 
        motion brought by the public authority.  Any stipulation that 
        involves a finding of contempt and a jail sentence, whether 
        stayed or imposed, shall require the review and signature of a 
        district court judge. 
           (c) A party, witness, or attorney may appear or testify by 
        telephone, audiovisual means, or other electronic means, at the 
        discretion of the administrative law judge. 
           (d) Before implementing the process in a county, the chief 
        administrative law judge, the commissioner of human services, 
        the director of the county human services agency, the county 
        attorney, the county court administrator, and the county sheriff 
        shall jointly establish procedures, and the county shall provide 
        hearing facilities for implementing this process in the county.  
        A contested administrative proceeding The hearing shall be 
        conducted in a courtroom, if one is available, or a conference 
        or meeting room with at least two exits and of sufficient size 
        to permit adequate physical separation of the parties.  The 
        court administrator shall, to the extent practical, provide 
        administrative support for the contested administrative 
        proceeding hearing.  Security personnel shall either be present 
        during the administrative proceedings hearing, or be available 
        to respond to a request for emergency assistance.  
           (e) The contested administrative Hearings shall be 
        conducted under the rules of the office of administrative 
        hearings, Minnesota Rules, parts 1400.5275, 1400.5500, 1400.6000 
        to 1400.6400, 1400.6600 to, 1400.6700, 1400.7000, 1400.7100 to, 
        1400.7300, 1400.7400, 1400.7500, 1400.7700, 1400.7800, and 
        1400.8100, as adopted by the chief administrative law judge.  To 
        the extent the time requirements under Minnesota Rules conflict 
        with time requirements under the rules of family court, rules of 
        civil procedure, or this chapter, the requirements of the rules 
        of family court, rules of civil procedure, or this chapter 
        control.  For matters not initiated under subdivision 2, 
        documents from the moving party shall be served and filed at 
        least 14 days prior to the hearing and the opposing party shall 
        serve and file documents raising new issues at least ten days 
        prior to the hearing.  In all contested administrative 
        proceedings, according to the rules of court.  The 
        administrative law judge may limit the extent and timing of 
        discovery.  Except as provided under this section, other aspects 
        of the case, including, but not limited to, discovery, shall be 
        conducted under the rules of family court, the rules of civil 
        procedure, and this chapter 518.  
           (f) Following a contested administrative hearing, the 
        administrative law judge shall make findings of fact, 
        conclusions, and a final decision and issue an order.  Orders 
        issued by an administrative law judge may be enforceable by the 
        contempt powers of the district courts.  
           (g) At the time the matter is scheduled for a contested 
        administrative proceeding hearing, the public authority shall 
        file in the district court copies of all relevant documents sent 
        to or received from the parties that have been provided to all 
        parties, in addition to any documents filed under subdivision 2, 
        paragraph (d).  These documents may be used as evidence by the 
        judge in deciding the case without need for further foundation 
        testimony.  For matters scheduled for a contested administrative 
        proceeding hearing which were not initiated under subdivision 2, 
        the public authority shall obtain any income information 
        available to the public authority through the department of 
        economic security and serve this information on all parties and 
        file the information with the court at least five days prior to 
        the hearing. 
           (h) If only one party appears at the contested 
        administrative proceeding hearing, a hearing must be conducted.  
        The administrative law judge shall prepare an order and file it 
        with the district court.  The court shall serve the order on the 
        parties by first class mail at the last known address and shall 
        provide a copy of the order to the public authority. 
           (i) If neither party appears at the contested 
        administrative proceeding hearing and no new information has 
        been submitted or made available to the court or public 
        authority, the public authority shall submit the default order 
        to the administrative law judge for signature.  If neither party 
        appears and new information is available to the court or public 
        authority, the administrative law judge shall prepare an order 
        based on the new information.  The court shall serve the order 
        on the parties by first class mail at the last known address and 
        shall provide a copy of the order to the public authority. 
           (j) The decision and order of the administrative law judge 
        is appealable to the court of appeals in the same manner as a 
        decision of the district court.  
           Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1997 Supplement, section 
        518.5512, subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [PATERNITY.] (a) After service of the notice and 
        proposed order, a nonattorney employee of the public authority 
        may order the child, mother, or alleged father to submit to 
        blood or genetic tests.  In a case with multiple alleged 
        fathers, a nonattorney employee of the public authority may 
        order the child, mother, and alleged fathers to submit to blood 
        or genetic tests after service of the notice of the parentage 
        proceeding.  The order for genetic tests must be served by 
        personal service.  The order of the public authority shall be 
        effective unless, within 20 days of the date of the order, the 
        child, mother, or an alleged father requests a contested 
        administrative proceeding hearing under section 518.5511, 
        subdivision 3a.  If a contested administrative proceeding 
        hearing is requested and held, any order issued by an 
        administrative law judge supersedes the order issued by the 
        public authority.  In all other cases, the order of the public 
        authority is controlling.  Failure to comply with the order for 
        blood or genetic tests may result in a default determination of 
        parentage. 
           (b) If parentage is contested at the administrative 
        hearing, the administrative law judge may order temporary child 
        support under section 257.62, subdivision 5, and shall refer the 
        case to the district court. 
           (c) The district court may appoint counsel for an indigent 
        alleged father only after the return of the blood or genetic 
        test results from the testing laboratory. 
           Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 1997 Supplement, section 
        518.5512, subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3.  [COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT.] The public authority 
        shall send notice of its application for a cost-of-living 
        adjustment on the obligor in accord with section 518.641.  The 
        public authority shall, pending further order of the court, 
        temporarily stay the adjustment of support upon receipt by the 
        public authority of a request motion by the obligor to proceed 
        directly to a contested administrative proceeding hearing under 
        section 518.5511, subdivision 4.  
           Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 518.5512, 
        subdivision 4, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 4.  [TERMINATION OF INTEREST CHARGING.] The public 
        authority or a party bringing a motion under section 548.091, 
        subdivision 1a, may proceed immediately to a contested 
        administrative proceeding hearing under section 518.5511, 
        subdivision 4. 
           Sec. 8.  [EVALUATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS.] 
           The commissioner of human services, in consultation with 
        the commissioner's advisory committee for child support 
        enforcement, shall evaluate the extent to which the 
        administrative process has met the legislative mandate to 
        develop and implement an administrative process that is simple, 
        streamlined, informal, uniform throughout the state, and 
        accessible to parties without counsel.  The commissioner shall 
        present recommendations for further progress towards these 
        mandates.  The evaluation and recommendations shall be presented 
        to the legislature by December 15, 1999. 
           Sec. 9.  [REPEALER.] 
           Minnesota Statutes 1997 Supplement, section 518.5512, 
        subdivision 3a, is repealed. 
           Presented to the governor March 27, 1998 
           Signed by the governor March 31, 1998, 10:54 a.m.

Official Publication of the State of Minnesota Revisor of Statutes