This situation doesn't involve a divorce, but does involve child support.
I've got a friend who is being charged for back child support even though the kid is in his mid-20s now. He believes that any arrearages are owed to the State, since the mother mostly lived off of State support.
The new "Flexibility, Efficiency, and Modernization in Child Support Enforcement Programs Final Rule", issued December 20, 2016, makes a number of changes to federal case closure criteria, codified at 45 CFR 303.11. These changes provide greater state flexibility while protecting families by recognizing more circumstances in which a state is permitted to close a case.
One of the Fact Sheets for the new rule states:
"New criteria permit case closure for certain situations, such as:
• when there is no current support order and all arrearages are owed to the state;"
It goes on to say:
States have the discretion to adopt any of the case closure criteria under § 303.11(b). The rule makes it clear that, generally, case closure is not required. Case closure regulations are designed to give a state the option to close cases, if certain conditions are met, and flexibility to manage its caseload. These additional criteria provide states with greater flexibility to better manage limited program resources and provide good customer service.
How this affects families:
Many factors affect whether a state closes a case or adopts any of the optional case closure criteria. The rule supports continued enforcement of cases with collection potential. The final rule emphasizes the requirement that states provide the recipient of services:
• notice of the intent to close the case; and
• an opportunity to respond with information and request that the case be kept open or, reopen the case,
after the case is closed.
Closing a case does not affect the legality of the underlying order. The child support order, including any payment or installment of support such as arrearages due under the order, remains in effect and legally binding.
I've tried to scroll through the text of the new rule to find the specific part that would apply to my friend's situation, but it's confusing to me.
It looks like they're saying that the Federal HHS is not going to pay out Title IV-D funds, or allow enforcement actions under Title IV-D for child support if the case can be closed. States will still have the option of leaving the case open, however. Of course, a petition to close the case would have to be filed first, etc. It looks like this may be a way for my friend to get the child support people off his back for good.
The full text of the new rule is here:
My friend is in Missouri, the mother and kid (now adult) are in New Mexico where the child support case was filed to begin with.
Can anyone here give some clarification as to whether or not this new rule would be helpful in my friend's situation? Thanks in advance for any answers.