This topic contains information on the following:
Under UIFSA, the mother or alleged father can bring an action to establish parentage of a minor child. Pursuant to federal policy, it is not appropriate to ask a responding state to establish an order for parentage only in an interstate CSS case. The responding state has a responsibility to provide the full range of appropriate services for an interstate case.
When an alleged father requests establishment of parentage and a review of the case indicates that a legal father exists, the local CSS caseworker must refer the case to the appropriate attorney for review before initiating any court action. UIFSA provides that the issue of parentage cannot be raised as a defense in a subsequent proceeding when parentage has been previously determined by a court or other legal means. Therefore, the attorney must determine whether grounds exist to proceed in the request for the establishment of parentage.
Federal regulations require the CSS agency in the responding state to pay for the costs of paternity testing in actions to establish paternity. The responding state is also responsible for making arrangements for the services to be provided by the laboratory, scheduling the testing, and coordinating the testing schedule with the initiating state. The initiating state must cooperate with the responding state to ensure that the custodial parent (CP) and/or child appear and have paternity testing completed.
The responding state can seek a judgment against the noncustodial parent (NCP) for the costs of the paternity test.
When the noncustodial parent (NCP) is located in another state, tribal reservation, or foreign country and paternity is at issue, the use of long-arm or voluntary acknowledgement of paternity must be the first course of action. If it has been determined that the application of long-arm statutes are not appropriate, a formal intergovernmental case involving the CSS agency in the other jurisdiction should be initiated. The action takes place in the state of the responding party.
The CSS case is updated to reflect the interstate status. A UIFSA petition is forwarded to the appropriate responding state, requiring specific documentation (for a list, see the “INTERGOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT ESTABLISHMENT – NC AS INITIATING STATE” heading). .
UIFSA (NCGS 52C-3-304(a) requires only one (1) set of documents to be forwarded. However, other states could require additional copies. In order to expedite the request to the extent possible, NC CSS must provide the number of complete sets of required documents that the responding state needs, if one is not sufficient under that state's law.
To determine the number of originals and copies of the petition that the responding state requires, CSS workers can access the Intergovernmental Reference Guide (IRG) through the FPLS State Service Portal (SSP): "https://fplsssp.dhhs.state.nc.us/".
When a petition for establishment of parentage is received from another agency, the local CSS agency must review the referral to ensure that the standard petition documents and any paternity documents (affirmation, acknowledgment, and order of paternity, or paternity affidavit) have been provided. Paternity orders from other states must be given full faith and credit. The petition should not be returned to the requesting state if long-arm procedures seem appropriate and unsuccessful attempts at long-arm are not documented. Responding workers should also review ACTS to be sure that the system correctly reflects the paternity status of the child.
If an indication exists that the child was born in North Carolina, CSS caseworkers should determine whether an Affidavit of Parentage is on file. If it is on file, caseworkers should request a copy.
The CSS caseworker can then contact the alleged father in an attempt to obtain a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity (if paternity is at issue) and a support order. If no response is received from the alleged father or the alleged father fails to keep a scheduled appointment, the petition must be filed with the Clerk of Court and docketed for court.
When the petition is docketed for a court hearing in NC, a birth certificate (in addition to the Affidavit Of Parentage) is required for each child whose paternity must be established. If the initiating tribunal does not provide the birth certificate and an indication exists that the birth of the child(ren) occurred in NC, local CSS must request a copy of the birth certificate.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.