Title 15: Domestic Relations
Chapter 11: ANNULMENT AND DIVORCE
15 V.S.A. § 799. Trustee process
§ 799. Trustee process
(a) As used in this section, "trustee" means any person, institution, or entity, holding any money, personal property or real property which belongs to or is owed to the obligor, including judgments, settlements, lottery winnings, funds held in financial institutions, and any voluntary contributions to public and private retirement funds.
(b) Upon noncompliance with a child support order in excess of one-quarter of the annual support obligation, the office of child support may seek to attach assets owned by an obligor and held by a trustee. Prior to attaching assets held by a trustee, the office of child support shall notify the obligor of the delinquency and of the office's intent to take administrative enforcement action for liens and trustee process and shall provide the obligor with an opportunity to contest the claimed delinquency and enforcement action pursuant to 33 V.S.A. § 4108. If the obligor fails to contest the claimed delinquency within 20 days after notification, or upon a final determination of a delinquency after hearing, the office of child support may issue a summons to a trustee as provided in subsection (c) of this section.
(c) If no timely contest is made or upon a final determination of nonpayment of child support equal to or greater than one-quarter of the annual support obligation, the office of child support may issue one or more summons to the trustee. The sum of the amounts for which the goods, effects or credits of the obligor are attached on trustee process shall not exceed the amount determined to be delinquent under subsection (b) of this section. The office of child support shall serve on the trustee and the obligor a disclosure form and a notice of the exemptions under subsection (f) of this section. If at any time the office finds the outstanding arrearage has been satisfied in whole or in part, the office shall discharge any trustee process which is outstanding or reduce the amounts for which the goods, effects or credits of the obligor are attached so the sum of all such amounts does not exceed the amount that remains unsatisfied. The office shall promptly notify the trustee and obligor
of the change.
(d) In the event the obligor or other aggrieved person contests the summons to the trustee pursuant to 33 V.S.A. § 4108 or appeals the proposed action to the family division of the superior court within 20 days of the summons and is found not to be in arrears by more than one-quarter of the annual support obligation on the date the summons to the trustee was issued, the office, within two business days, shall discharge the trustee process and notify the trustee and the obligor. In addition, the office shall pay to the obligor or other aggrieved person the sum of $500.00.
(e) Upon receipt of a summons, the trustee shall secure and hold the assets in its possession up to the amount specified in the summons, and shall serve a disclosure under oath on the office of child support and the obligor. If no timely contest is made or upon a final determination of any contest sustaining the trustee process, the trustee shall tender to the office of child support the assets of the obligor in its possession up to the amount specified in the summons. If the trustee fails to disclose or fails or refuses to tender the property as directed, the office of child support may file an action with the family division of the superior court to determine the trustee's liability. A trustee shall not be liable to the obligor for complying with this section.
(f) The exemptions from attachments and executions in 12 V.S.A. § 2740 shall apply to the trustee process provided for in this section except as follows:
(1) the exemption in 12 V.S.A. § 2740(15) shall not exceed $400.00;
(2) the exemption in 12 V.S.A. § 2740(16) shall not exceed $5,000.00; and
(3) the exemption in 12 V.S.A. § 2740(18) shall not apply.
(g) Upon notifying a trustee to attach voluntary retirement funds, the office shall give the obligor an opportunity to have the attachment removed by making alternate payment arrangements satisfactory to the office within 30 days of issuance of the summons. (Added 1997, No. 63, § 17a, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; amended 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238.)