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2007 Minnesota Statutes

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256.741 CHILD SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE.
    Subdivision 1. Public assistance. (a) The term "direct support" as used in this chapter and
chapters 257, 518, 518A, and 518C refers to an assigned support payment from an obligor which
is paid directly to a recipient of TANF or MFIP.
(b) The term "public assistance" as used in this chapter and chapters 257, 518, 518A, and
518C, includes any form of assistance provided under the AFDC program formerly codified
in sections 256.72 to 256.87, MFIP and MFIP-R formerly codified under chapter 256, MFIP
under chapter 256J, work first program under chapter 256K; child care assistance provided
through the child care fund under chapter 119B; any form of medical assistance under chapter
256B; MinnesotaCare under chapter 256L; and foster care as provided under title IV-E of the
Social Security Act.
(c) The term "child support agency" as used in this section refers to the public authority
responsible for child support enforcement.
(d) The term "public assistance agency" as used in this section refers to a public authority
providing public assistance to an individual.
    Subd. 2. Assignment of support and maintenance rights. (a) An individual receiving
public assistance in the form of assistance under any of the following programs: the AFDC
program formerly codified in sections 256.72 to 256.87, MFIP under chapter 256J, MFIP-R and
MFIP formerly codified under chapter 256, or work first is considered to have assigned to the state
at the time of application all rights to child support and maintenance from any other person the
applicant or recipient may have in the individual's own behalf or in the behalf of any other family
member for whom application for public assistance is made. An assistance unit is ineligible for
the Minnesota family investment program unless the caregiver assigns all rights to child support
and spousal maintenance benefits according to this section.
(1) An assignment made according to this section is effective as to:
(i) any current child support and current spousal maintenance; and
(ii) any accrued child support and spousal maintenance arrears.
(2) An assignment made after September 30, 1997, is effective as to:
(i) any current child support and current spousal maintenance;
(ii) any accrued child support and spousal maintenance arrears collected before October 1,
2000, or the date the individual terminates assistance, whichever is later; and
(iii) any accrued child support and spousal maintenance arrears collected under federal tax
intercept.
(b) An individual receiving public assistance in the form of medical assistance, including
MinnesotaCare, is considered to have assigned to the state at the time of application all rights to
medical support from any other person the individual may have in the individual's own behalf or
in the behalf of any other family member for whom medical assistance is provided.
An assignment made after September 30, 1997, is effective as to any medical support
accruing after the date of medical assistance or MinnesotaCare eligibility.
(c) An individual receiving public assistance in the form of child care assistance under
the child care fund pursuant to chapter 119B is considered to have assigned to the state at the
time of application all rights to child care support from any other person the individual may
have in the individual's own behalf or in the behalf of any other family member for whom child
care assistance is provided.
An assignment made according to this paragraph is effective as to:
(1) any current child care support and any child care support arrears assigned and accruing
after July 1, 1997, that are collected before October 1, 2000; and
(2) any accrued child care support arrears collected under federal tax intercept.
    Subd. 2a. Families-first distribution of child support arrearages. When the public
authority collects support arrearages on behalf of an individual who is receiving assistance
provided under MFIP or MFIP-R under this chapter, MFIP under chapter 256J, or work first
under chapter 256K, and the public authority has the option of applying the collection to arrears
permanently assigned to the state or to arrears temporarily assigned to the state, the public
authority shall first apply the collection to satisfy those arrears that are permanently assigned to
the state.
    Subd. 3. Existing assignments. Assignments based on the receipt of public assistance in
existence prior to July 1, 1997, are permanently assigned to the state.
    Subd. 4. Effect of assignment. Assignments in this section take effect upon a determination
that the applicant is eligible for public assistance. The amount of support assigned under this
subdivision may not exceed the total amount of public assistance issued or the total support
obligation, whichever is less. Child care support collections made according to an assignment
under subdivision 2, paragraph (c), must be deposited, subject to any limitations of federal law,
in the general fund.
    Subd. 5. Cooperation with child support enforcement. After notification from a public
assistance agency that an individual has applied for or is receiving any form of public assistance,
the child support agency shall determine whether the party is cooperating with the agency
in establishing paternity, child support, modification of an existing child support order, or
enforcement of an existing child support order. The public assistance agency shall notify each
applicant or recipient in writing of the right to claim a good cause exemption from cooperating
with the requirements in this section. A copy of the notice must be furnished to the applicant or
recipient, and the applicant or recipient and a representative from the public authority shall
acknowledge receipt of the notice by signing and dating a copy of the notice. The individual shall
cooperate with the child support agency by:
(1) providing all known information regarding the alleged father or obligor, including name,
address, Social Security number, telephone number, place of employment or school, and the
names and addresses of any relatives;
(2) appearing at interviews, hearings and legal proceedings;
(3) submitting to genetic tests including genetic testing of the child, under a judicial or
administrative order; and
(4) providing additional information known by the individual as necessary for cooperating
in good faith with the child support agency.
The caregiver of a minor child must cooperate with the efforts of the public authority to
collect support according to this subdivision. A caregiver must notify the public authority of
all support the caregiver receives during the period the assignment of support required under
subdivision 2 is in effect. Direct support retained by a caregiver must be counted as unearned
income when determining the amount of the assistance payment, and repaid to the child support
agency for any month when the direct support retained is greater than the court-ordered child
support and the assistance payment and the obligor owes support arrears.
    Subd. 6. Determination. If the individual cannot provide the information required in
subdivision 5, before making a determination that the individual is cooperating, the child support
agency shall make a finding that the individual could not reasonably be expected to provide the
information. In making this finding, the child support agency shall consider:
(1) the age of the child for whom support is being sought;
(2) the circumstances surrounding the conception of the child;
(3) the age and mental capacity of the parent or caregiver of the child for whom support
is being sought;
(4) the time period that has expired since the parent or caregiver of the child for whom
support is sought last had contact with the alleged father or obligor, or the person's relatives; and
(5) statements from the applicant or recipient or other individuals that show evidence of an
inability to provide correct information about the alleged father or obligor because of deception
by the alleged father or obligor.
    Subd. 7. Noncooperation. Unless good cause is found to exist under subdivision 10, upon a
determination of noncooperation by the child support agency, the agency shall promptly notify the
individual and each public assistance agency providing public assistance to the individual that
the individual is not cooperating with the child support agency. Upon notice of noncooperation,
the individual shall be sanctioned in the amount determined according to the public assistance
agency responsible for enforcing the sanction.
    Subd. 8. Refusal to cooperate with support requirements. (a) Failure by a caregiver to
satisfy any of the requirements of subdivision 5 constitutes refusal to cooperate, and the sanctions
under paragraph (b) apply. The IV-D agency must determine whether a caregiver has refused to
cooperate according to subdivision 5.
(b) Determination by the IV-D agency that a caregiver has refused to cooperate has the
following effects:
(1) a caregiver is subject to the applicable sanctions under section 256J.46;
(2) a caregiver who is not a parent of a minor child in an assistance unit may choose to remove
the child from the assistance unit unless the child is required to be in the assistance unit; and
(3) a parental caregiver who refuses to cooperate is ineligible for medical assistance.
    Subd. 9. Good cause exemption from cooperating with support requirements. The IV-A
or IV-D agency must notify the caregiver that the caregiver may claim a good cause exemption
from cooperating with the requirements in subdivision 5. Good cause may be claimed and
exemptions determined according to subdivisions 10 to 13.
    Subd. 10. Good cause exemption. (a) Cooperation with the child support agency under
subdivision 5 is not necessary if the individual asserts, and both the child support agency and the
public assistance agency find, good cause exists under this subdivision for failing to cooperate.
An individual may request a good cause exemption by filing a written claim with the public
assistance agency on a form provided by the commissioner of human services. Upon notification
of a claim for good cause exemption, the child support agency shall cease all child support
enforcement efforts until the claim for good cause exemption is reviewed and the validity of the
claim is determined. Designated representatives from public assistance agencies and at least one
representative from the child support enforcement agency shall review each claim for a good
cause exemption and determine its validity.
(b) Good cause exists when an individual documents that pursuit of child support
enforcement services could reasonably result in:
(1) physical or emotional harm to the child for whom support is sought;
(2) physical harm to the parent or caregiver with whom the child is living that would reduce
the ability to adequately care for the child; or
(3) emotional harm to the parent or caregiver with whom the child is living, of such nature or
degree that it would reduce the person's ability to adequately care for the child.
Physical and emotional harm under this paragraph must be of a serious nature in order to
justify a finding of good cause exemption. A finding of good cause exemption based on emotional
harm may only be based upon a demonstration of emotional impairment that substantially affects
the individual's ability to function.
(c) Good cause also exists when the designated representatives in this subdivision believe
that pursuing child support enforcement would be detrimental to the child for whom support is
sought and the individual applicant or recipient documents any of the following:
(1) the child for whom child support enforcement is sought was conceived as a result of
incest or rape;
(2) legal proceedings for the adoption of the child are pending before a court of competent
jurisdiction; or
(3) the parent or caregiver of the child is currently being assisted by a public or licensed
private social service agency to resolve the issues of whether to keep the child or place the child
for adoption.
The parent or caregiver's right to claim a good cause exemption based solely on this
paragraph expires if the assistance lasts more than 90 days.
(d) The public authority shall consider the best interests of the child in determining good
cause.
    Subd. 11. Proof of good cause. (a) An individual seeking a good cause exemption has 20
days from the date the good cause claim was provided to the public assistance agency to supply
evidence supporting the claim. The public assistance agency may extend the time period in
this section if it believes the individual is cooperating and needs additional time to submit the
evidence required by this section. Failure to provide this evidence shall result in the child support
agency resuming child support enforcement efforts.
(b) Evidence supporting a good cause claim includes, but is not limited to:
(1) a birth record or medical or law enforcement records indicating that the child was
conceived as the result of incest or rape;
(2) court documents or other records indicating that legal proceedings for adoption are
pending before a court of competent jurisdiction;
(3) court, medical, criminal, child protective services, social services, domestic violence
advocate services, psychological, or law enforcement records indicating that the alleged father or
obligor might inflict physical or emotional harm on the child, parent, or caregiver;
(4) medical records or written statements from a licensed medical professional indicating
the emotional health history or status of the custodial parent, child, or caregiver, or indicating a
diagnosis or prognosis concerning their emotional health;
(5) a written statement from a public or licensed private social services agency that the
individual is deciding whether to keep the child or place the child for adoption; or
(6) sworn statements from individuals other than the applicant or recipient that provide
evidence supporting the good cause claim.
(c) The child support agency and the public assistance agency shall assist an individual in
obtaining the evidence in this section upon request of the individual.
    Subd. 12. Decision. A good cause exemption must be granted if the individual's claim and
the investigation of the supporting evidence satisfy the investigating agencies that the individual
has good cause for refusing to cooperate.
    Subd. 13. Duration. (a) A good cause exemption may not continue for more than one
year without redetermination of cooperation and good cause pursuant to this section. The child
support agency may redetermine cooperation and the designated representatives in subdivision
10 may redetermine the granting of a good cause exemption before the one year expiration in
this subdivision.
(b) A good cause exemption must be allowed under subsequent applications and
redeterminations without additional evidence when the factors that led to the exemption continue
to exist. A good cause exemption must end when the factors that led to the exemption have
changed.
    Subd. 14. Training. The commissioner shall establish domestic violence and sexual abuse
training programs for child support agency employees. The training programs must be developed
in consultation with experts on domestic violence and sexual assault. To the extent possible,
representatives of the child support agency involved in making a determination of cooperation
under subdivision 6 or reviewing a claim for good cause exemption under subdivision 9 shall
receive training in accordance with this subdivision.
    Subd. 15. Child support distribution. The state shall distribute current child support and
maintenance received by the state to an individual who assigns the right to that support under
subdivision 2, paragraph (a).
History: 1997 c 203 art 6 s 5; 1997 c 245 art 3 s 5; 1998 c 382 art 1 s 1; 1998 c 407
art 6 s 10; 1999 c 159 s 42,43; 1999 c 205 art 1 s 53; 2000 c 488 art 10 s 4; 1Sp2001 c 9 art
10 s 66; art 12 s 2-4; art 15 s 32; 2002 c 379 art 1 s 113; 2003 c 130 s 12; 1Sp2005 c 4 art 5
s 13; 2007 c 13 art 3 s 14

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