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NO. 11. AN ACT RELATING TO THE UNIFORM INTERSTATE FAMILY SUPPORT ACT.

(H.125)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. V.S.A. Title 15B is added to read:

TITLE 15B. UNIFORM INTERSTATE FAMILY SUPPORT ACT (1996)

CHAPTER 1--GENERAL PROVISIONS

Section 101. Definitions

Section 102. Tribunal of State

Section 103. Remedies Cumulative

Section 104. Support Enforcement Agency

CHAPTER 2--JURISDICTION

Part A. Extended Personal Jurisdiction

Section 201. Basis for Jurisdiction Over Nonresident

Section 202. Procedure When Exercising Jurisdiction Over Nonresident

Part B. Proceedings Involving Two or More States

Section 203. Initiating and Responding Tribunal of State

Section 204. Simultaneous Proceedings in Another State

Section 205. Continuing, Exclusive Jurisdiction

Section 206. Enforcement and Modification of Support Order by Tribunal Having

Continuing Jurisdiction

Part C. Reconciliation of Multiple Orders

Section 207. Recognition of Controlling Child Support Order

Section 208. Multiple Child Support Orders for Two or More Obligees

Section 209. Credit for Payments

CHAPTER 3--CIVIL PROVISIONS OF GENERAL APPLICATION

Section 301. Proceedings Under this Title

Section 302. Action By Minor Parent

Section 303. Application of Law of State

Section 304. Duties of Initiating Tribunal

Section 305. Duties and Powers of Responding Tribunal

Section 306. Inappropriate Tribunal

Section 307. Duties of Support Enforcement Agency

Section 308. Duty of Attorney General

Section 309. Private Counsel

Section 310. Duties of the Office of Child Support

Section 311. Pleadings and Accompanying Documents

Section 312. Nondisclosure of Information in Exceptional Circumstances

Section 313. Costs and Fees

Section 314. Limited Immunity of Petitioner

Section 315. Nonparentage as Defense

Section 316. Special Rules of Evidence and Procedure

Section 317. Communications Between Tribunals

Section 318. Assistance with Discovery

Section 319. Receipt and Disbursement of Payments

CHAPTER 4--ESTABLISHMENT OF SUPPORT ORDER

Section 401. Petition To Establish Support Order

CHAPTER 5--ENFORCEMENT OF ORDER OF ANOTHER

STATE WITHOUT REGISTRATION

Section 501. Employer’s Receipt of Income Withholding Order of Another State

Section 502. Employer’s Compliance with Income Withholding Order of Another State

Section 503. Compliance with Multiple Income Withholding Orders

Section 504. Immunity from Civil Liability

Section 505. Penalties for Noncompliance

Section 506. Contest by Obligor

Section 507. Administrative Enforcement of Orders

CHAPTER 6--ENFORCEMENT AND MODIFICATION OF SUPPORT

ORDER AFTER REGISTRATION

Part A. Registration and Enforcement of Support Order

Section 601. Registration of Order for Enforcement

Section 602. Procedure To Register Order for Enforcement

Section 603. Effect of Registration for Enforcement

Section 604. Choice of Law

Part B. Contest of Validity or Enforcement

Section 605. Notice of Registration of Order

Section 606. Procedure To Contest Validity or Enforcement of Registered Order

Section 607. Contest of Registration or Enforcement

Section 608. Confirmed Order

Part C. Registration and Modification of Child Support Order

Section 609. Procedure To Register Child Support Order of Another State for

Modification

Section 610. Effect of Registration for Modification

Section 611. Modification of Child Support Order of Another State

Section 612. Recognition of Order Modified in Another State

Section 613. Jurisdiction To Modify Child Support Order of Another State When

Individual Parties Reside in this State

Section 614. Notice to Issuing Tribunal of Modification

CHAPTER 7--DETERMINATION OF PARENTAGE

Section 701. Proceeding to Determine Parentage

CHAPTER 8--INTERSTATE RENDITION

Section 801. Grounds for Rendition

Section 802. Conditions of Rendition

CHAPTER 9--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Section 901. Uniformity of Application and Construction

Section 902. Short Title

Section 903. Severability Clause

Section 904. The Vermont Rules of Family Proceedings

TITLE 15B. UNIFORM INTERSTATE FAMILY SUPPORT ACT (1996)

CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

§ 101. DEFINITIONS

As used in this title:

(1) "Child" means an individual, whether over or under the age of majority, who is or is alleged to be owed a duty of support by the individual’s parent or who is or is alleged to be the beneficiary of a support order directed to the parent.

(2) "Child support order" means a support order for a child, including a child who has attained the age of majority under the law of the issuing state.

(3) "Duty of support" means an obligation imposed or imposable by law to provide support for a child, spouse, or former spouse, including an unsatisfied obligation to provide support.

(4) "Home state" means the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as parent for at least six consecutive months immediately preceding the time of filing of a petition or comparable pleading for support and, if a child is less than six months old, the state in which the child lived from birth with any of them. A period of temporary absence of any of them is counted as part of the six-month or other period.

(5) "Income" includes earnings or other periodic entitlements to money from any source and any other property subject to withholding for support under the law of this state.

(6) "Income withholding order" means an order or other legal process directed to an obligor’s employer or other debtor, as defined by chapter 11 of Title 15, to withhold support from the income of the obligor.

(7) "Initiating state" means a state from which a proceeding is forwarded or in which a proceeding is filed for forwarding to a responding state under this title or a law or procedure substantially similar to this title, the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, or the Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act.

(8) "Initiating tribunal" means the authorized tribunal in an initiating state.

(9) "Issuing state" means the state in which a tribunal issues a support order or renders a judgment determining parentage.

(10) "Issuing tribunal" means the tribunal that issues a support order or renders a judgment determining parentage.

(11) "Law" includes decisional and statutory law and rules and regulations having the force of law.

(12) "Obligee" means:

(A) an individual to whom a duty of support is or is alleged to be owed or in whose favor a support order has been issued or a judgment determining parentage has been rendered;

(B) a state or political subdivision to which the rights under a duty of support or support order have been assigned or which has independent claims based on financial assistance provided to an individual obligee; or

(C) an individual seeking a judgment determining parentage of the individual’s child.

(13) "Obligor" means an individual, or the estate of a decedent:

(A) who owes or is alleged to owe a duty of support;

(B) who is alleged but has not been adjudicated to be a parent of a child; or

(C) who is liable under a support order.

(14) "Register" means to file a support order or judgment determining parentage in the appropriate location for the recording or filing of foreign judgments generally or foreign support orders specifically.

(15) "Registering tribunal" means a tribunal in which a support order is registered.

(16) "Responding state" means a state in which a proceeding is filed or to which a proceeding is forwarded for filing from an initiating state under this title or a law or procedure substantially similar to this title, the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, or the Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act.

(17) "Responding tribunal" means the authorized tribunal in a responding state.

(18) "Spousal support order" means a support order for a spouse or former spouse of the obligor.

(19) "State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory orinsular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The term "state" includes:

(A) an Indian tribe; and

(B) a foreign jurisdiction that has enacted a law or established procedures for issuance and enforcement of support orders which are substantially similar to the procedures under this title, the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act or the Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act.

(20) "Support enforcement agency" means a public official or agency authorized to seek:

(A) enforcement of support orders or laws relating to the duty of support;

(B) establishment or modification of child support;

(C) determination of parentage; or

(D) to locate obligors or their assets.

(21) "Support order" means a judgment, decree, or order, whether temporary, final, or subject to modification, for the benefit of a child, a spouse, or a former spouse, which provides for monetary support, health care, arrearages, or reimbursement, and may include related costs and fees, interest, income withholding, attorney’s fees, and other relief.

(22) "Tribunal" means a court, administrative agency, or quasi-judicial entity authorized to establish, enforce, or modify support orders or to determine parentage.

§ 102. TRIBUNAL OF STATE

The family court is the tribunal of this state for all purposes of this title.

§ 103. REMEDIES CUMULATIVE

Remedies provided by this title are cumulative and do not affect the availability of remedies under other law.

§ 104. SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT AGENCY

The office of child support is the support enforcement agency of the state.

CHAPTER 2. JURISDICTION

Part A. Extended Personal Jurisdiction

§ 201. BASIS FOR JURISDICTION OVER NONRESIDENT

In a proceeding to establish, enforce, or modify a support order or to determine parentage, a tribunal of this state may exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident individual or the individual’s guardian or conservator if:

(1) the individual is personally served within this state with notice of the proceeding; or

(2) the individual submits to the jurisdiction of this state by consent or by filing with the tribunal a responsive document having the effect of waiving any contest to personal jurisdiction; or

(3) the individual resided with the child in this state; or

(4) the individual resided in this state and provided prenatal expenses or support for the child; or

(5) the child resides in this state as a result of the acts or directives of the individual; or

(6) the individual engaged in sexual intercourse in this state and the child may have been conceived by that act of intercourse; or

(7) there is any other basis consistent with the constitutions of this state and the United States for the exercise of personal jurisdiction.

§ 202. PROCEDURE WHEN EXERCISING JURISDICTION OVER NONRESIDENT

A tribunal of this state exercising personal jurisdiction over a nonresident under section 201 of this title may apply section 316 (Special Rules of Evidence and Procedure) of this title to receive evidence from another state, and section 318 (Assistance with Discovery) of this title to obtain discovery through a tribunal of another state. In all other respects, chapters 3 through 7 of this title do not apply and the tribunal shall apply the procedural and substantive law of this state, including the rules on choice of law other than those established by this title.

Part B. Proceedings Involving Two or More States

§ 203. INITIATING AND RESPONDING TRIBUNAL OF STATE

Under this title, a tribunal of this state may serve as an initiating tribunal to forward proceedings to another state and as a responding tribunal for proceedings initiated in another state.

§ 204. SIMULTANEOUS PROCEEDINGS IN ANOTHER STATE

(a) A tribunal of this state may exercise jurisdiction to establish a support order if the petition or comparable pleading is filed after a pleading is filed in another state only if:

(1) the petition or comparable pleading in this state is filed before the expiration of the time allowed in the other state for filing a responsive pleading challenging the exercise of jurisdiction by the other state;

(2) the contesting party timely challenges the exercise of jurisdiction in the other state; and

(3) if relevant, this state is the home state of the child.

(b) A tribunal of this state may not exercise jurisdiction to establish a support order if the petition or comparable pleading is filed before a petition or comparable pleading is filed in another state if:

(1) the petition or comparable pleading in the other state is filed before the expiration of the time allowed in this state for filing a responsive pleading challenging the exercise of jurisdiction by this state;

(2) the contesting party timely challenges the exercise of jurisdiction in this state; and

(3) if relevant, the other state is the home state of the child.

§ 205. CONTINUING, EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION

(a) A tribunal of this state issuing a support order consistent with the law of this state has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over a child support order:

(1) as long as this state remains the residence of the obligor, the individual obligee, or the child for whose benefit the support order is issued; or

(2) until all of the parties who are individuals have filed written consents with the tribunal of this state for a tribunal of another state to modify the order and assumecontinuing, exclusive jurisdiction.

(b) A tribunal of this state issuing a child support order consistent with the law of this state may not exercise its continuing jurisdiction to modify the order if the order has been modified by a tribunal of another state pursuant to this title or a law substantially similar to this title.

(c) If a child support order of this state is modified by a tribunal of another state pursuant to this title or a law substantially similar to this title, a tribunal of this state loses its continuing, exclusive jurisdiction with regard to prospective enforcement of the order issued in this state, and may only:

(1) enforce the order that was modified as to amounts accruing before the modification;

(2) enforce nonmodifiable aspects of that order; and

(3) provide other appropriate relief for violations of that order which occurred before the effective date of the modification.

(d) A tribunal of this state shall recognize the continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of a tribunal of another state which has issued a child support order pursuant to this title or a law substantially similar to this title.

(e) A temporary support order issued ex parte or pending resolution of a jurisdictional conflict does not create continuing, exclusive jurisdiction in the issuing tribunal.

(f) A tribunal of this state issuing a support order consistent with the law of this state has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over a spousal support order throughout the existence of the support obligation. A tribunal of this state may not modify a spousal support order issued by a tribunal of another state having continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over that order under the law of that state.

§ 206. ENFORCEMENT AND MODIFICATION OF SUPPORT ORDER BY

TRIBUNAL HAVING CONTINUING JURISDICTION

(a) A tribunal of this state or the office of child support may serve as an initiating tribunal to request a tribunal of another state to enforce or modify a support order issued in that state.

(b) A tribunal of this state having continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over a supportorder may act as a responding tribunal to enforce or modify the order. If a party subject to the continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of the tribunal no longer resides in the issuing state, in subsequent proceedings the tribunal may apply section 316 (Special Rules of Evidence and Procedure) of this title to receive evidence from another state and section 318 (Assistance with Discovery) of this title to obtain discovery through a tribunal of another state.

(c) A tribunal of this state which lacks continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over a spousal support order may not serve as a responding tribunal to modify a spousal support order of another state.

Part C. Reconciliation of Multiple Orders

§ 207. RECOGNITION OF CONTROLLING CHILD SUPPORT ORDER

(a) If a proceeding is brought under this title and only one tribunal has issued a child support order, the order of that tribunal controls and must be so recognized.

(b) If a proceeding is brought under this title, and two or more child support orders have been issued by tribunals of this state or another state with regard to the same obligor and child, a tribunal of this state shall apply the following rules in determining which order to recognize for purposes of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction:

(1) If only one of the tribunals would have continuing, exclusive jurisdiction under this title, the order of that tribunal controls and must be so recognized.

(2) If more than one of the tribunals would have continuing, exclusive jurisdiction under this title, an order issued by a tribunal in the current home state of the child controls and must be so recognized, but if an order has not been issued in the current home state of the child, the order most recently issued controls and must be so recognized.

(3) If none of the tribunals would have continuing, exclusive jurisdiction under this title, the tribunal of this state having jurisdiction over the parties shall issue a child support order, which controls and must be so recognized.

(c) If two or more child support orders have been issued for the same obligor and child and if the obligor or the individual obligee resides in this state, a party may request a tribunal of this state to determine which order controls and must be so recognized under subsection (b) of this section. The request must be accompanied by a certified copy ofevery support order in effect. The requesting party shall give notice of the request to each party whose rights may be affected by the determination.

(d) The tribunal that issued the controlling order under subsection (a), (b), or (c) of this title is the tribunal that has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction under section 205 of this title.

(e) A tribunal of this state which determines by order the identity of the controlling order under subdivision (b)(1) or (2) of this section or which issues a new controlling order under subdivision (b)(3) of this section shall state in that order the basis upon which the tribunal made its determination.

(f) Within 30 days after issuance of an order determining the identity of the controlling order, the party obtaining the order shall file a certified copy of it with each tribunal that issued or registered an earlier order of child support. A party who obtains the order and fails to file a certified copy is subject to appropriate sanctions by a tribunal in which the issue of failure to file arises. The failure to file does not affect the validity or enforceability of the controlling order.

§ 208. MULTIPLE CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS FOR TWO OR MORE OBLIGEES

In responding to multiple registrations or petitions for enforcement of two or more child support orders in effect at the same time with regard to the same obligor and different individual obligees, at least one of which was issued by a tribunal of another state, a tribunal of this state and, where appropriate, the office of child support shall enforce those orders in the same manner as if the multiple orders had been issued by a tribunal of this state.

§ 209. CREDIT FOR PAYMENTS

Amounts collected and credited for a particular period pursuant to a support order issued by a tribunal of another state must be credited against the amounts accruing or accrued for the same period under a support order issued by the tribunal of this state.

CHAPTER 3. CIVIL PROVISIONS OF GENERAL APPLICATION

§ 301. PROCEEDINGS UNDER THIS TITLE

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this title, this chapter applies to all proceedings under this title.

(b) This title provides for the following proceedings:

(1) establishment of an order for spousal support or child support pursuant to chapter 4 of this title;

(2) enforcement of a support order and income withholding order of another state without registration pursuant to chapter 5 of this title;

(3) registration of an order for spousal support or child support of another state for enforcement pursuant to chapter 6 of this title;

(4) modification of an order for child support or spousal support issued by a tribunal of this state pursuant to chapter 2, part B of this title;

(5) registration of an order for child support of another state for modification pursuant to chapter 6 of this title;

(6) determination of parentage pursuant to chapter 7 of this title; and

(7) assertion of jurisdiction over nonresidents pursuant to chapter 2, part A of this title.

(c) An individual petitioner or a support enforcement agency may commence a proceeding authorized under this title by filing a petition in an initiating tribunal for forwarding to a responding tribunal or by filing a petition or a comparable pleading directly in a tribunal of another state which has or can obtain personal jurisdiction over the respondent.

§ 302. ACTION BY MINOR PARENT

A minor parent, or a guardian or other legal representative of a minor parent, may maintain a proceeding on behalf of or for the benefit of the minor’s child.

§ 303. APPLICATION OF LAW OF STATE

Except as otherwise provided by this title, a responding tribunal of this state:

(1) shall apply the procedural and substantive law, including the rules on choice of law, generally applicable to similar proceedings originating in this state and may exercise all powers and provide all remedies available in those proceedings; and

(2) shall determine the duty of support and the amount payable in accordance with the law and support guidelines of this state.

§ 304. DUTIES OF INITIATING TRIBUNAL

(a) Upon the filing of a petition authorized by this title, an initiating tribunal of this state or the office of child support shall forward three copies of the petition and its accompanying documents:

(1) to the responding tribunal or appropriate support enforcement agency in the responding state; or

(2) if the identity of the responding tribunal is unknown, to the state information agency of the responding state with a request that they be forwarded to the appropriate tribunal and that receipt be acknowledged.

(b) If a responding state has not enacted this title or a law or procedure substantially similar to this title, a tribunal of this state or the office of child support may issue a certificate or other document, and the tribunal may make findings required by the law of the responding state. If the responding state is a foreign jurisdiction, the tribunal or the office of child support may specify the amount of support sought and provide other documents necessary to satisfy the requirements of the responding state.

§ 305. DUTIES AND POWERS OF RESPONDING TRIBUNAL

(a) When a responding tribunal of this state or the office of child support receives a petition or comparable pleading from an initiating tribunal or directly pursuant to section 301(c) (Proceedings Under this Title) of this title, it shall cause the petition or pleading to be filed and notify the petitioner where and when it was filed.

(b) A responding tribunal of this state or the office of child support, to the extent otherwise authorized by law, may do one or more of the following:

(1) issue or enforce a support order, modify a child support order, or render a judgment to determine parentage;

(2) order an obligor to comply with a support order, specifying the amount and the manner of compliance;

(3) order income withholding;

(4) determine the amount of any arrearages, and specify a method of payment;

(5) enforce orders by civil or criminal contempt, or both;

(6) set aside property for satisfaction of the support order;

(7) place liens and order execution on the obligor’s property;

(8) order an obligor to keep the tribunal informed of the obligor’s current residential address, telephone number, employer, address of employment, and telephone number at the place of employment;

(9) issue a bench warrant for an obligor who has failed after proper notice to appear at a hearing ordered by the tribunal and enter the bench warrant in any local and state computer systems for criminal warrants;

(10) order the obligor to seek appropriate employment by specified methods;

(11) award reasonable attorney’s fees and other fees and costs; and

(12) grant any other available remedy.

(c) A responding tribunal of this state shall include in a support order issued under this title, or in the documents accompanying the order, the calculations on which the support order is based.

(d) A responding tribunal of this state may not condition the payment of a support order issued under this title upon compliance by a party with provisions for visitation.

(e) If a responding tribunal of this state issues an order under this title, the tribunal shall send a copy of the order to the petitioner and the respondent and to the initiating tribunal, if any.

§ 306. INAPPROPRIATE TRIBUNAL

If a petition or comparable pleading is received by an inappropriate tribunal of this state or the office of child support, it shall forward the pleading and accompanying documents to an appropriate tribunal in this state or another state and notify the petitioner where and when the pleading was sent.

§ 307. DUTIES OF SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT AGENCY

(a) A support enforcement agency of this state, upon request, shall provide services to a petitioner in a proceeding under this title.

(b) A support enforcement agency that is providing services to the petitioner as appropriate shall:

(1) take all steps necessary to enable an appropriate tribunal in this state or another state to obtain jurisdiction over the respondent;

(2) request an appropriate tribunal to set a date, time, and place for a hearing;

(3) make a reasonable effort to obtain all relevant information, including information as to income and property of the parties;

(4) within five days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, after receipt of a written notice from an initiating, responding, or registering tribunal, send a copy of the notice to the petitioner;

(5) within five days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, after receipt of a written communication from the respondent or the respondent’s attorney, send a copy of the communication to the petitioner; and

(6) notify the petitioner if jurisdiction over the respondent cannot be obtained.

(c) This title does not create or negate a relationship of attorney and client or other fiduciary relationship between a support enforcement agency or the attorney for the agency and the individual being assisted by the agency.

§ 308. DUTY OF ATTORNEY GENERAL

If the attorney general determines that the support enforcement agency is neglecting or refusing to provide services under this title, the attorney general may:

(1) provide those services; or

(2) seek appropriate judicial relief to require the agency to provide the services.

§ 309. PRIVATE COUNSEL

Subject to the provisions of Rule 15 of the Rules of Family Proceedings, an individual may employ private counsel to represent the individual in proceedings authorized by this title.

§ 310. DUTIES OF THE OFFICE OF CHILD SUPPORT

(a) The office of child support is the state information agency under this title.

(b) The state information agency shall:

(1) compile and maintain a current list, including addresses, of the tribunals in this state which have jurisdiction under this title and any support enforcement agencies in this state and transmit a copy to the state information agency of every other state;

(2) maintain a register of tribunals and support enforcement agencies received from other states;

(3) forward to the appropriate tribunal in the place in this state in which the individual obligee or the obligor resides, or in which the obligor’s property is believed to be located, all documents concerning a proceeding under this title received from an initiating tribunal or the state information agency of the initiating state; and

(4) obtain information concerning the location of the obligor or obligee and the obligor’s or obligee’s property within this state not exempt from execution, by such means as postal verification and federal or state locator services, examination of telephone directories, requests for the obligor’s or obligee’s address from employers, and examination of governmental records, including, to the extent not prohibited by other law, those relating to real property, vital statistics, law enforcement, taxation, motor vehicles, driver’s licenses, and Social Security.

§ 311. PLEADINGS AND ACCOMPANYING DOCUMENTS

(a) A petitioner seeking to establish or modify a support order or to determine parentage in a proceeding under this title must verify the petition. Unless otherwise ordered under section 312 (Nondisclosure of Information in Exceptional Circumstances) of this title, the petition or accompanying documents must provide, so far as known, the name, residential address, and Social Security numbers of the obligor and the obligee, and the name, sex, residential address, Social Security number, and date of birth of each child for whom support is sought. The petition must be accompanied by a certified copy of any support order in effect. The petition may include any other information that may assist in locating or identifying the respondent.

(b) The petition must specify the relief sought. The petition and accompanying documents must conform substantially with the requirements imposed by the formsmandated by federal law for use in cases filed by a support enforcement agency.

§ 312. NONDISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION IN EXCEPTIONAL

CIRCUMSTANCES

Upon a finding, which may be made ex parte, that the health, safety, or liberty of a party or child would be unreasonably put at risk by the disclosure of identifying information, or if an existing order so provides, a tribunal shall order that the address and other identifying information of the child or party not be disclosed in a pleading or other document filed in a proceeding under this title.

§ 313. COSTS AND FEES

(a) The petitioner may not be required to pay a filing fee or other costs.

(b) A responding tribunal may assess fees, costs, or expenses against the obligor, the obligee, or the support enforcement agency of the responding state where justice and equity so indicate. Attorney’s fees may be taxed as costs, and may be ordered paid directly to the attorney, who may enforce the order in the attorney’s own name. Payment of support owed to the obligee has priority over fees, costs and expenses.

(c) The tribunal shall order the payment of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees against a party or the support enforcement agency if it determines that a hearing was requested by that party primarily for delay. In a proceeding under chapter 6 (Enforcement and Modification of Support Order After Registration) of this title, a hearing is presumed to have been requested primarily for delay if a registered support order is confirmed or enforced without change.

§ 314. LIMITED IMMUNITY OF PETITIONER

(a) Participation by a petitioner in a proceeding before a responding tribunal, whether in person, by private attorney, or through services provided by the support enforcement agency, does not confer personal jurisdiction over the petitioner in another proceeding.

(b) A petitioner is not subject to service of civil process while physically present in this state to participate in a proceeding under this title.

(c) Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, the immunity granted by this section does not extend to civil litigation based on acts unrelated to a proceeding under this title committed by a party while present in this state to participate in the proceeding.

§ 315. NONPARENTAGE AS DEFENSE

A party whose parentage of a child has been previously determined by or pursuant to law may not plead nonparentage as a defense to a proceeding under this title.

§ 316. SPECIAL RULES OF EVIDENCE AND PROCEDURE

(a) The physical presence of the petitioner in a responding tribunal of this state is not required for the establishment, enforcement, or modification of a support order or the rendition of a judgment determining parentage.

(b) A verified petition, affidavit, document substantially complying with federally mandated forms, and a document incorporated by reference in any of them, not excluded under the hearsay rule if given in person, is admissible in evidence if given under oath by a party or witness residing in another state.

(c) A copy of the record of child support payments certified as a true copy of the original by the custodian of the record may be forwarded to a responding tribunal. The copy is evidence of facts asserted in it, and is admissible to show whether payments were made.

(d) Copies of bills for testing for parentage, and for prenatal and postnatal health care of the mother and child, furnished to the adverse party at least 15 days before trial, are admissible in evidence to prove the amount of the charges billed and that the charges were reasonable, necessary, and customary.

(e) Documentary evidence transmitted from another state to a tribunal of this state by telephone, telecopier, or other means that do not provide an original writing may not be excluded from evidence on an objection based on the means of transmission.

(f) In a proceeding under this title, a tribunal of this state may permit a party or witness residing in another state to be deposed or to testify by telephone, audiovisual means, or other electronic means at a designated tribunal or other location in that state. A tribunal of this state shall cooperate with tribunals of other states in designating an appropriate location for the deposition or testimony.

(g) If a party called to testify before a tribunal of this state in a proceeding under this title refuses to answer on the ground that the testimony may be self-incriminating, the trier of fact may draw an adverse inference from the refusal. If, at the hearing, a party is calledfor examination as an adverse party and the party declines to answer upon the ground that the testimony may tend to incriminate him or her, the court may grant the party limited use immunity from state criminal prosecution for any testimony or production of documents or other evidence with respect to the party’s testimony, except for any perjury committed in that testimony. If such immunity is granted to the party, the court may require the party to respond to the examination.

(h) A privilege against disclosure of communications between spouses does not apply in a proceeding under this title.

(i) The defense of immunity based on the relationship of husband and wife or parent and child does not apply in a proceeding under this title.

§ 317. COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN TRIBUNALS

A tribunal of this state or the office of child support may communicate with a tribunal of another state in writing, or by telephone or other means, to obtain information concerning the laws of that state, the legal effect of a judgment, decree, or order of that tribunal, and the status of a proceeding in the other state. A tribunal of this state or the office of child support may furnish similar information by similar means to a tribunal of another state.

§ 318. ASSISTANCE WITH DISCOVERY

(a) A tribunal or the office of child support of this state may request a tribunal of another state to assist in obtaining discovery.

(b) A tribunal of this state may, upon request, compel a person over whom it has jurisdiction to respond to a discovery order issued by a tribunal of another state. After notice and an opportunity to be heard, the person may show cause why he or she should not be compelled to respond under the law of the initiating state.

§ 319. RECEIPT AND DISBURSEMENT OF PAYMENTS

A support enforcement agency or tribunal of this state shall disburse promptly any amounts received pursuant to a support order, as directed by the order. The agency or tribunal shall furnish to a requesting party or tribunal of another state a certified statement by the custodian of the record of the amounts and dates of all payments received.

CHAPTER 4. ESTABLISHMENT OF SUPPORT ORDER

§ 401. PETITION TO ESTABLISH SUPPORT ORDER

(a) If a support order entitled to recognition under this title has not been issued, a responding tribunal of this state may issue a support order if:

(1) the individual seeking the order resides in another state; or

(2) the support enforcement agency seeking the order is located in another state.

(b) The tribunal may issue a temporary child support order if:

(1) the respondent has signed a verified statement acknowledging parentage;

(2) the respondent has been determined by or pursuant to law to be the parent; or

(3) there is other clear and convincing evidence that the respondent is the child’s parent.

(c) Upon finding, after notice and opportunity to be heard, that an obligor owes a duty of support, the tribunal shall issue a support order directed to the obligor and may issue other orders pursuant to section 305 (Duties and Powers of Responding Tribunal) of this title.

CHAPTER 5. ENFORCEMENT OF ORDER OF ANOTHER

STATE WITHOUT REGISTRATION

§ 501. EMPLOYER+S RECEIPT OF INCOME WITHHOLDING ORDER OF

ANOTHER STATE

An income withholding order issued in another state may be sent to the person or entity defined as the obligor’s employer under the income withholding law of this state without first filing a petition or comparable pleading or registering the order with the office of child support.

§ 502. EMPLOYER’S COMPLIANCE WITH INCOME WITHHOLDING ORDER OF

ANOTHER STATE

(a) Upon receipt of an income withholding order, the obligor’s employer shall immediately provide a copy of the order to the obligor.

(b) The employer shall treat an income withholding order issued in another state which appears regular on its face as if it had been issued by a tribunal of this state.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (d) of this section and section 503 of this title, the employer shall withhold and distribute the funds as directed in the withholding order by complying with terms of the order which specify:

(1) the duration and amount of periodic payments of current child support, stated as a sum certain;

(2) the person or agency designated to receive payments and the address to which the payments are to be forwarded;

(3) medical support, whether in the form of periodic cash payment, stated as a sum certain, or ordering the obligor to provide health insurance coverage for the child under a policy available through the obligor+s employment;

(4) the amount of periodic payments of fees and costs for a support enforcement agency, the issuing tribunal, and the obligee’s attorney, stated as sums certain; and

(5) the amount of periodic payments of arrearages and interest on arrearages, stated as sums certain.

(d) The employer shall comply with the law of the state of the obligor+s principal place of employment for withholding from income with respect to:

(1) the employer’s fee for processing an income withholding order;

(2) the maximum amount permitted to be withheld from the obligor’s income; and

(3) the time periods within which the employer must implement the withholding order and forward the child support payment.

§ 503. COMPLIANCE WITH MULTIPLE INCOME WITHHOLDING ORDERS

If the obligor’s employer receives multiple income withholding orders with respect to the earnings of the same obligor, the employer satisfies the terms of the multiple orders if the employer complies with the law of the state of the obligor’s principal place ofemployment to establish the priorities for withholding and allocating income withheld for multiple child support obligees.

§ 504. IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL LIABILITY

An employer who complies with an income withholding order issued in another state in accordance with this chapter is not subject to civil liability to an individual or agency with regard to the employer’s withholding of child support from the obligor’s income.

§ 505. PENALTIES FOR NONCOMPLIANCE

An employer who willfully fails to comply with an income withholding order issued by another state and received for enforcement is subject to the same penalties that may be imposed for noncompliance with an order issued by a tribunal of this state.

§ 506. CONTEST BY OBLIGOR

(a) An obligor may contest the validity or enforcement of an income withholding order issued in another state and received directly by an employer in this state in the same manner as if the order had been issued by a tribunal of this state. Section 604 (Choice of Law) of this title applies to the contest.

(b) The obligor shall give notice of the contest to:

(1) a support enforcement agency providing services to the obligee;

(2) each employer that has directly received an income withholding order; and

(3) the person or agency designated to receive payments in the income withholding order or if no person or agency is designated, to the obligee.

(c) This section does not create a statutory right to contest in this state the amount of the child support obligation in the underlying order or other issues in related proceedings or orders.

§ 507. ADMINISTRATIVE ENFORCEMENT OF ORDERS

(a) A party seeking to enforce a support order or an income withholding order, or both, issued by a tribunal of another state may send the documents required for registering the order to a support enforcement agency of this state.

(b) Upon receipt of the documents, the support enforcement agency, without initially seeking to register the order, shall consider and, if appropriate, use any administrative procedure authorized by the law of this state to enforce a support order or an incomewithholding order, or both. If the obligor does not contest administrative enforcement pursuant to section 606 of this title, the order need not be registered. If the obligor contests the validity or administrative enforcement of the order, the support enforcement agency shall register the order pursuant to this title.

CHAPTER 6. ENFORCEMENT AND MODIFICATION

OF SUPPORT ORDER AFTER REGISTRATION

Part A. Registration and Enforcement of Support Order

§ 601. REGISTRATION OF ORDER FOR ENFORCEMENT

A support order or an income withholding order issued by a tribunal of another state may be registered in this state for enforcement.

§ 602. PROCEDURE TO REGISTER ORDER FOR ENFORCEMENT

(a) A support order or income withholding order of another state may be registered in this state by sending the following documents and information to the office of child support:

(1) a letter of transmittal to the office of child support requesting registration and enforcement;

(2) two copies, including one certified copy, of all orders to be registered, including any modification of an order;

(3) a sworn statement by the party seeking registration or a certified statement by the custodian of the records showing the amount of any arrearage;

(4) the name of the obligor and, if known:

(A) the obligor’s address and Social Security number;

(B) the name and address of the obligor’s employer and any other source of income of the obligor; and

(C) a description and the location of property of the obligor in this state not exempt from execution; and

(5) the name and address of the obligee and, if applicable, the agency or person to whom support payments are to be remitted.

(b) On receipt of a request for registration, the office of child support or, when appropriate, tribunal shall cause the order to be filed as a foreign judgment, together withone copy of the documents and information, regardless of their form.

(c) A petition or comparable pleading seeking a remedy that must be affirmatively sought under other law of this state may be filed at the same time as the request for registration or later. The pleading must specify the grounds for the remedy sought.

§ 603. EFFECT OF REGISTRATION FOR ENFORCEMENT

(a) A support order or income withholding order issued in another state is registered when the order is filed in the office of child support.

(b) A registered order issued in another state is enforceable in the same manner and is subject to the same procedures as an order issued by a tribunal of this state.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a tribunal of this state and the office of child support shall recognize and enforce, but may not modify, a registered order if the issuing tribunal had jurisdiction.

§ 604. CHOICE OF LAW

(a) The law of the issuing state governs the nature, extent, amount, and duration of current payments and other obligations of support and the payment of arrearages under the order.

(b) In a proceeding for arrearages, the statute of limitation under the laws of this state or of the issuing state, whichever is longer, applies.

Part B. Contest of Validity or Enforcement

§ 605. NOTICE OF REGISTRATION OF ORDER

(a) When a support order or income withholding order issued in another state is registered, the office of child support shall notify the nonregistering party. The notice must be accompanied by a copy of the registered order and the documents and relevant information accompanying the order.

(b) The notice must inform the nonregistering party:

(1) that a registered order is enforceable as of the date of registration in the same manner as an order issued by a tribunal of this state;

(2) that a hearing to contest the validity or enforcement of the registered order must be requested within 20 days after notice;

(3) that failure to contest the validity or enforcement of the registered order in atimely manner will result in confirmation of the order and enforcement of the order and the alleged arrearages and precludes further contest of that order with respect to any matter that could have been asserted; and

(4) of the amount of any alleged arrearages.

(c) Upon registration of an income withholding order for enforcement, the office of child support shall notify the obligor’s employer pursuant to chapter 11 of Title 15.

§ 606. PROCEDURE TO CONTEST VALIDITY OR ENFORCEMENT OF

REGISTERED ORDER

(a) A nonregistering party seeking to contest the validity or enforcement of a registered order in this state shall request a hearing within 20 days after notice of the registration. The nonregistering party may seek to vacate the registration, to assert any defense to an allegation of noncompliance with the registered order, or to contest the remedies being sought or the amount of any alleged arrearages pursuant to section 607 (Contest of Registration or Enforcement) of this title.

(b) If the nonregistering party fails to contest the validity or enforcement of the registered order in a timely manner, the order is confirmed by operation of law.

(c) If a nonregistering party requests a hearing to contest the validity or enforcement of the registered order, the tribunal shall schedule the matter for hearing and give notice to the parties of the date, time, and place of the hearing.

§ 607. CONTEST OF REGISTRATION OR ENFORCEMENT

(a) A party contesting the validity or enforcement of a registered order or seeking to vacate the registration has the burden of proving one or more of the following defenses:

(1) the issuing tribunal lacked personal jurisdiction over the contesting party;

(2) the order was obtained by fraud;

(3) the order has been vacated, suspended, or modified by a later order;

(4) the issuing tribunal has stayed the order pending appeal;

(5) there is a defense under the law of this state to the remedy sought;

(6) full or partial payment has been made; or

(7) the statute of limitation under section 604 (Choice of Law) of this title precludes enforcement of some or all of the arrearages.

(b) If a party presents evidence establishing a full or partial defense under subsection (a) of this section, a tribunal may stay enforcement of the registered order, continue the proceeding to permit production of additional relevant evidence, and issue other appropriate orders. An uncontested portion of the registered order may be enforced by all remedies available under the law of this state.

(c) If the contesting party does not establish a defense under subsection (a) of this section to the validity or enforcement of the order, the tribunal shall issue an order confirming the order.

§ 608. CONFIRMED ORDER

Confirmation of a registered order, whether by operation of law or after notice and hearing, precludes further contest of the order before the tribunal with respect to any matter that could have been asserted at the time of registration.

Part C. Registration and Modification of Child Support Order

§ 609. PROCEDURE TO REGISTER CHILD SUPPORT ORDER OF ANOTHER

STATE FOR MODIFICATION

A party or support enforcement agency seeking to modify, or to modify and enforce, a child support order issued in another state shall register that order in this state in the same manner provided in part A of this chapter if the order has not been registered. A petition for modification may be filed at the same time as a request for registration, or later. The pleading must specify the grounds for modification.

§ 610. EFFECT OF REGISTRATION FOR MODIFICATION

A tribunal of this state and the office of child support may enforce a child support order of another state registered for purposes of modification, in the same manner as if the order had been issued by a tribunal of this state, but the registered order may be modified only if the requirements of section 611 (Modification of Child Support Order of Another State) of this title have been met.

§ 611. MODIFICATION OF CHILD SUPPORT ORDER OF ANOTHER STATE

(a) After a child support order issued in another state has been registered in this state, the responding tribunal of this state may modify that order only if section 613 of this title does not apply and after notice and hearing, it finds that:

(1) the following requirements are met:

(A) the child, the individual obligee, and the obligor do not reside in the issuing state;

(B) a petitioner who is a nonresident of this state seeks modification; and

(C) the respondent is subject to the personal jurisdiction of the tribunal of this state; or

(2) the child, or a party who is an individual, is subject to the personal jurisdiction of the tribunal of this state and all of the parties who are individuals have filed a written consent in the issuing tribunal for a tribunal of this state to modify the support order and assume continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over the order. However, if the issuing state is a foreign jurisdiction that has not enacted a law or established procedures substantially similar to the procedures under this title, the consent otherwise required of an individual residing in this state is not required for the tribunal to assume jurisdiction to modify the child support order.

(b) Modification of a registered child support order is subject to the same requirements, procedures, and defenses that apply to the modification of an order issued by a tribunal of this state and the order may be enforced and satisfied in the same manner.

(c) A tribunal of this state may not modify any aspect of a child support order that may not be modified under the law of the issuing state. If two or more tribunals have issued child support orders for the same obligor and child, the order that controls and must be so recognized under section 207 of this title establishes the aspects of the support order which are nonmodifiable.

(d) On issuance of an order modifying a child support order issued in another state, a tribunal of this state becomes the tribunal having continuing, exclusive jurisdiction.

§ 612. RECOGNITION OF ORDER MODIFIED IN ANOTHER STATE

A tribunal of this state shall recognize a modification of its earlier child support order by a tribunal of another state which assumed jurisdiction pursuant to this title or a law substantially similar to this title and, upon request, except as otherwise provided in this title, shall:

(1) enforce the order that was modified only as to amounts accruing before themodification;

(2) enforce only nonmodifiable aspects of that order;

(3) provide other appropriate relief only for violations of that order which occurred before the effective date of the modification; and

(4) recognize the modifying order of the other state, upon registration, for the purpose of enforcement.

§ 613. JURISDICTION TO MODIFY CHILD SUPPORT ORDER OF ANOTHER

STATE WHEN INDIVIDUAL PARTIES RESIDE IN THIS STATE

(a) If all of the parties who are individuals reside in this state and the child does not reside in the issuing state, a tribunal of this state has jurisdiction to enforce and to modify the issuing state’s child support order in a proceeding to register that order.

(b) A tribunal of this state exercising jurisdiction under this section shall apply the provisions of chapters 1 and 2, this chapter, and the procedural and substantive law of this state to the proceeding for enforcement or modification. Chapters 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 of this title do not apply.

§ 614. NOTICE TO ISSUING TRIBUNAL OF MODIFICATION

Within 30 days after issuance of a modified child support order, the party obtaining the modification shall file a certified copy of the order with the issuing tribunal that had continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over the earlier order, and in each tribunal in which the party knows the earlier order has been registered. A party who obtains the order and fails to file a certified copy is subject to appropriate sanctions by a tribunal in which the issue of failure to file arises. The failure to file does not affect the validity or enforceability of the modified order of the new tribunal having continuing, exclusive jurisdiction.

CHAPTER 7. DETERMINATION OF PARENTAGE

§ 701. PROCEEDING TO DETERMINE PARENTAGE

(a) A tribunal of this state may serve as an initiating or responding tribunal in a proceeding brought under this title or a law or procedure substantially similar to this title, the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, or the Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act to determine that the petitioner is a parent of a particular child or to determine that a respondent is a parent of that child.

(b) In a proceeding to determine parentage, a responding tribunal of this state shall apply the procedural and substantive law of this state, and the rules of this state on choice of law.

CHAPTER 8. INTERSTATE RENDITION

§ 801. GROUNDS FOR RENDITION

(a) For purposes of this chapter, "governor" includes an individual performing the functions of governor or the executive authority of a state covered by this title.

(b) The governor of this state may:

(1) demand that the governor of another state surrender an individual found in the other state who is charged criminally in this state with having failed to provide for the support of an obligee; or

(2) on the demand by the governor of another state, surrender an individual found in this state who is charged criminally in the other state with having failed to provide for the support of an obligee.

(c) A provision for extradition of individuals not inconsistent with this title applies to the demand even if the individual whose surrender is demanded was not in the demanding state when the crime was allegedly committed and has not fled therefrom.

§ 802. CONDITIONS OF RENDITION

(a) Before making demand that the governor of another state surrender an individual charged criminally in this state with having failed to provide for the support of an obligee, the governor of this state may require the prosecutor who has brought the criminal charge for the state to demonstrate that at least 60 days previously the obligee had initiated proceedings for support pursuant to this title or that the proceeding would be of no avail.

(b) If, under this title or a law substantially similar to this title, the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, or the Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, the governor of another state makes a demand that the governor of this state surrender an individual charged criminally in that state with having failed to provide for the support of a child or other individual to whom a duty of support is owed, the governor may require a prosecutor to investigate the demand and report whether a proceeding for support has been initiated or would be effective. If it appears that a proceeding would beeffective but has not been initiated, the governor may delay honoring the demand for a reasonable time to permit the initiation of a proceeding.

(c) If a proceeding for support has been initiated and the individual whose rendition is demanded prevails, the governor may decline to honor the demand. If the petitioner prevails and the individual whose rendition is demanded is subject to a support order, the governor may decline to honor the demand if the individual is complying with the support order.

CHAPTER 9. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

§ 901. UNIFORMITY OF APPLICATION AND CONSTRUCTION

This title shall be applied and construed to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this title among states enacting it.

§ 902. SHORT TITLE

This title may be cited as the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.

§ 903. SEVERABILITY CLAUSE

If any provision of this title or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this title which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this title are severable.

§ 904. THE VERMONT RULES OF FAMILY PROCEEDINGS

The Vermont Rules of Family Proceedings shall apply to all proceedings before the tribunal of this state under this title.

Sec. 2. 33 V.S.A. § 4103(d) is added to read:

(d) An employer who is required to withhold wages for child support under Title 15B (UIFSA) may designate the office of child support as its payment agent and forward withheld wages to the office of child support instead of to the out-of-state jurisdiction provided that the payments are received by the office within five working days after wages are withheld.

Sec. 3. REPEAL

Chapter 7 of Title 15 (Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act) is repealed.

Sec. 4. STATUTORY REVISION The statutory revision commission is directed to codify this act into Title 15B in conformance with the existing Vermont Statutes Annotated format. Such codification shall include the "official comments" of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act as set forth in the official text of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform Laws, provided that such comments shall, in addition, include appropriate references to any Vermont variations to the official text.

Sec. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on January 1, 1998.

Approved: May 6, 1997