This topic contains information on the following:
The interstate function allows workers to maintain information about intergovernmental cases. Interstate case processing is divided into:
1. North Carolina Initiating; and
2. North Carolina Responding.
For NC Initiating (outgoing) cases, the responsible CSS caseworker initiates requests for services to another agency and records the responses and activities of the responding agency. For NC Responding (incoming) cases, the worker provides services in response to a referral from an intergovernmental initiating agency.
Interstate documents are used to initiate requests and support ongoing case activities. If certain criteria are met, ACTS automatically generates some of these documents.
When workers deal with CSENet-functional states, CSENet should be used for all communications. ACTS documents case activities as a result of caseworkers sending and completing CSENet transactions. When workers send/receive requests or responses through the mail to/from Non-CSEnet states, they record these activities in ACTS.
For NC initiating cases, the requestor of services usually resides in North Carolina. However NC residency is not a requirement for services by NC. Noncustodial parents (NCPs) also can apply for services from NC in intergovernmental proceedings. The legal remedies that NC can provide depend on whether an order exists, where the order originated, and the residencies of all parties. For NC initiating cases, the non-requesting party— whether the NCP or custodial parent (CP)— resides in a different state or country.
For cases where an NCP moves to another state, CSS workers must verify the NCP's address and determine whether any of the one-state remedies are appropriate.
Workers also must investigate if any orders exist by accessing the Federal Case Registry (FCR) or researching any order information that the CP provides. Workers can access the FCR through the FPLS State Services Portal (SSP): "https://fplsssp.dhhs.state.nc.us/".
If CSS workers decide to refer the case to another state as an interstate case, they should send the request to that state's central registry or central authority within twenty (20) calendar days of the verification of the NCP's out-of-state address. To make the referral, CSS workers must create an NC Initiating case in ACTS.
The next step is to complete the appropriate interstate documents, with assistance from the requestor of services. The interstate forms that are required depend on the action that the other state requests. These forms, along with the appropriate supporting documentation, are forwarded to the responding state's central registry or other country's central authority that has or can obtain personal jurisdiction over the respondent.
UIFSA (NCGS 52C-3-304(a) requires only one (1) set of documents to be forwarded. However, other states could require additional copies. CSS workers must keep a copy of the petition for the CSS record.
Once the case is entered in ACTS, it follows the normal referral and disposition process. The case is processed like all other CSS cases, except for differences in interstate time frames and the use of interstate documents.
Administrative intercounty transfer, rather than change of venue, is appropriate when a civil action has never been filed with the Clerk of Court. A civil action includes the registration of a foreign support order, a complaint (even if the defendant was never served), a VSA, an Application and Summons, and an Affidavit of Paternity. Change of venue is not appropriate, because no North Carolina jurisdictional issues exist.
The custodial parent (CP) and child reside in NC and move to a different county from the one in which the CSS case is open. The noncustodial parent (NCP) resides outside NC.
1. If the CP requests CSS services in his/her new county of residence, the case should be transferred to the CSS agency in the new county of residence.
2. If the CP does not request CSS services in his/her new county of residence, the case should remain open in the original CSS agency. The exception would be if the CP receives Public Assistance (PA) benefits in the new county of residence. If so, the case is transferred to the CSS agency in the county that is providing PA benefits to the CP, but the CP should be notified prior to the transfer.
When the NCP moves to a different NC county than the county where the interstate case originated, CSS must determine which county is responsible for the interstate responding case. If a NC court file exists for the child support case, either a change of venue or seeking a voluntary dismissal might be appropriate to transfer responsibility to the NCP's new county of residence. In responding cases, no requirement exists for a party to request a change of venue when the NCP moves from one NC county to another NC county.
Once the fact that the NCP has left the NC county where the interstate activity initiated is determined and verified, CSS must determine if a NC court file exists in the initial county. If a court file does not exist, the case can be transferred.
If a NC court file exists, review the orders for administrative change of venue language. If this language is not included in the court order, judicial change of venue or a voluntary dismissal must be pursued.
A change of venue action can be appropriate when a civil action has been filed with the Clerk of Court. A civil action includes the registration of a foreign support order, a complaint (even if the defendant was never served), a VSA, an Application and Summons, and an Affidavit of Paternity.
To move enforcement responsibilities to County B, a change of venuie must be pursued.
Initial North Carolina Responding (incoming) intergovernmental CSS case referrals normally are forwarded to the Central Registry. Central Registry workers are responsible for searching the ACTS database for participants and for creating the intergovernmental case
If the search uncovers an existing case in ACTS, Central Registry workers access an internal table to determine whether to create a new case or refer the request to the CSS worker who is responsible for the existing case. Consequently, CSS caseworkers could get a referral with a new CSS case (IV-D) number that has the same participants as an existing case. In this situation, CSS workers should review the financials for the original case and determine whether the original case should be closed or made "Arrears-Only", collecting on the arrearages owed to the state.
The case that the Central Registry creates should always be the case remaining open for case processing. This is the case that the Central Registry has referenced to the requesting state for all future contact.
States can send a referral directly to a NC county. In these situations, the local caseworker need to create an interstate responding case in ACTS.
Once the case is entered in ACTS, it follows the normal referral process. It is processed like all other CSS cases, except for the differences in interstate time frames and the use of interstate documents.
Upon receiving the case from the Central Registry, local CSS must extend the full range of CSS services and process the cases to the extent possible. If necessary, CSS agencies should use local resources to confirm the noncustodial parent’s (NCP's) location.
Local CSS should review the referral to determine whether that agency has jurisdiction. The referral might need to be transferred to another local agency due to the existence of a NC order or the defendant's location in another NC county.
CSS should request any additional documentation or information that is needed to process the referral, such as how paternity was established if a child was born out of wedlock. The local CSS agency can reiterate the additional information already requested by the Central Registry by using ACTS documents or CSENet transactions.
If proof of the manner in which parentage was established is not apparent in the original petition, CSS caseworkers can request the documentation by using ACTS documents or CSENet transactions (and identify the request in the notes). Continue to process the case to the extent possible.
The petitioner in the initiating state is not required to pay a filing fee or other court costs. The physical presence of the nonresident party is not required for the establishment, enforcement, or modification of a support order or the rendition of a judgment of parentage.
A NC tribunal shall permit a party residing outside of NC to be deposed or to testify by telephone, audiovisual means, or other electronic means at a designated tribunal or location. A tribunal of this state shall cooperate with other tribunals in designating an appropriate location for the deposition or testimony.
The referral must be processed to the extent possible while awaiting additional information from the initiating state. This includes verification of the defendant's location/employment and/or the redirection of payments to the NC Child Support Centralized Collections (NCCSCC) operation for private orders that are filed by plaintiffs in NC.
The initiating agency determines when an intergovernmental case is to be closed. The initiating agency is required to notify the responding agency within ten (10) days of closing the case, to provide the reason for the closure, and to request that any income withholding be terminated. The responding agency should only close an intergovernmental case upon the request of the initiating agency or on the grounds that the initiating agency failed to provide the requested information that the responding agency needs to proceed with the case.
In the event that an initiating agency closes its case, fails to notify the responding agency and collections are receipted by the responding agency, the initiating agency must:
The initiating state is responsible for determining when an intergovernmental case should be closed. When a responding state receives a request for case from an initiating state, the responding caseworker is required to notify the initiating state upon the closure. If the request is to terminate income withholding and close the case, the responding caseworker terminates the income withholding, closes the intergovernmental case, and notifies the initiating state. The responding caseworker notifies the initiating state of the closure by generating a CSENet transaction to those states that have MSC (Miscellaneous) functionality with North Carolina or by sending An ACTS document.
Whenever a local CSS caseworker receives a request for services from an initiating state, that caseworker is required to process the case to the furthest extent possible with the provided information and documents supplied. If the initiating state has not provided information or documents that are essential for the next step in providing services, the caseworker must request the needed information from the initiating state, using the Request For Additional Information (DSS-4523) document. The caseworker can then code the case as unworkable.
If the CSS caseworker has not documented the fact that the other state has responded within thirty-five (35) days after the generation of the DSS-4523 document, ACTS generates the Interstate Responding Case Closure Intent Notice (DSS-4717). This letter informs the initiating state that the case will be closed in sixty (60) days unless notification, the requested documents, or the requested information is received.
If the initiating state has failed to contact the NC CSS caseworker or has not supplied the necessary information or documents within sixty (60) days after the generation of the DSS-4717 document, ACTS closes the case and generates the Interstate Responding Case Closure Notice (DSS-4716). This letter informs the initiating state that their case was closed and provides the date when the case was closed.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.