Child Support Collection By Private Entity - Texas Family Law
Child Support Collection By Private Entity
Texas Family Law
§ 204.001. APPLICABILITY.
This chapter applies only to a commissioners court or domestic relations office of a county that did not have the authority to contract with a private entity to receive, disburse, and record payments or restitution of child support on January 1, 1997.
§ 204.002. AUTHORITY TO CONTRACT.
A county, acting through its commissioners court or domestic relations office, may contract with a private entity to:
(1) enforce, collect, receive, and disburse:
(A) child support payments;
(B) other amounts due under a court order containing an order to pay child support; and
(C) fees, including fees provided by this chapter;
(2) maintain appropriate records, including records of child support and other amounts and fees that are due, past due, paid, or delinquent;
(3) locate absent parents;
(4) furnish statements to parents accounting for payments that are due, past due, paid, or delinquent;
(5) send billings and other appropriate notices to parents;
(6) perform any duty or function that a local registry is authorized to perform;
(7) perform any duty or function in connection with the state case registry; or
(8) provide another child support or visitation enforcement service authorized by the commissioners court, including mediation of disputes related to child support or visitation.
§ 204.003. TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF CONTRACT.
The commissioners court or domestic relations office shall include all appropriate terms and conditions in the contract that it determines are reasonable to secure the services of a private entity as provided by this chapter, including:
(1) provisions specifying the services to be provided by the entity;
(2) the method, conditions, and amount of compensation for the entity;
(3) provisions for the security of funds collected as child support, fees, or other amounts under the contract or that otherwise provide reasonable assurance to the county of the entity's full and faithful performance of the contract;
(4) provisions specifying the records to be kept by the entity, including any records necessary to fully account for all funds received and disbursed as child support, fees, or other amounts;
(5) requirements governing the inspection, verification, audit, or explanation of the entity's accounting or other records;
(6) the county's right to terminate the contract on 30 days' notice to the private entity if the private entity engages in an ongoing pattern of child support enforcement that constitutes wilful and gross misconduct subjecting delinquent obligors to unconscionable duress, abuse, or harassment;
(7) provisions permitting an obligor and obligee to jointly waive the monitoring procedure, if not required by law, by written request approved by order of the court having jurisdiction of the suit in which the child support order was issued; and
(8) provisions for the disclosure or nondisclosure of information or records maintained or known to the entity as a result of contract performance, including a requirement for the private entity to:
(A) disclose to any child support obligor that the private entity is attempting to enforce the obligor's child support obligation; and
(B) make no disclosure of the information or records other than in furtherance of the effort to enforce the child support order.
§ 204.004. FUNDING.
(a) To provide or recover the costs of providing services authorized by this chapter, a commissioners court, on its behalf or on behalf of the domestic relations office, may:
(1) provide by order for the assessment and collection of a reasonable fee at the time a party files a suit affecting the parent-child relationship;
(2) provide by order for the assessment and collection of a fee of $3 per month at a time specified for payment of child support;
(3) provide by order for the assessment and collection of a late payment fee of $4 per month to be imposed if an obligor does not make a payment of child support in full when due;
(4) accept or receive funds from public grants or private sources available for providing services authorized by this chapter; or
(5) use any combination of funding sources specified by this subsection.
(b) The commissioners court, on its behalf or on behalf of the domestic relations office, may:
(1) provide by order for reasonable exemptions from the collection of fees authorized by Subsection (a); and
(2) require payment of a fee authorized by Subsection (a)(2) annually and in advance.
(c) The commissioners court may not charge a fee under Subsection (a)(2) if the amount of child support ordered to be paid is less than the equivalent of $100 per month.
(d) The fees established under Subsection (a) may be collected by any means provided for the collection of child support. The commissioners court may provide by order, on its behalf or on behalf of the domestic relations office, for the manner of collection of fees and the apportionment of payments received to meet fee obligations.
§ 204.005. CUMULATIVE EFFECT OF CHAPTER.
A power or duty conferred on a county, county official, or county instrumentality by this chapter is cumulative of the powers and duties created or conferred by other law.
TEXAS FAMILY CODE, TITLE 5. SUBTITLE C. CHAPTER 204.