OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING CHILD SUPPORT AND ENFORCEMENT.
This bill makes several unrelated changes in the child support statutes.
It changes the maximum amount a court can order a parent to pay for reasonable health insurance in child support cases. The current calculation is based on a percentage of a parent's net income (up to 5% for low-income obligors and 7.5% for others). The bill, instead, uses gross income as its base and makes 5% the maximum for all parents. By doing so, it increases the amount low-income parents can be ordered to pay, but reduces it for other parents.
The bill gives child support enforcement officers access to all systemic resources available to state police officers. By law, such officers have all the powers conferred on state police and marshals.
By law, a judicial marshal has limited authority to serve a capias mittimus (a warrant in certain child support cases) on anyone already in his or her custody or physically present in the courthouse where the marshal provides security. The bill allows the marshal to use a copy of the capias for service instead of the actual document.
The bill also makes several minor, technical, and conforming changes.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2013
HEALTH CARE COVERAGE REASONABLE COST
By law, a court ordering child support (1) in a IV-D case (see BACKGROUND) or (2) after granting a marriage annulment or divorce or ordering a legal separation must include a provision for the child's health care coverage. The provision may include an order for either parent to add the child to a medical or dental insurance or benefit plan available to the parent at a reasonable cost.
Currently, health care coverage cost must be deemed reasonable if, under the child support guidelines, (1) the obligated parent qualifies as low-income, based solely on the parent's income, and the cost does not exceed 5% of the parent's net income or (2) the obligated parent does not qualify as low-income and the cost does not exceed 7.5% of the parent's net income. The bill eliminates these two tiers and deems such coverage reasonable if it does not exceed 5% of the obligated parent's gross, instead of net, income. It requires gross income to be determined according to the child support guidelines.
CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS RESOURCE ACCESS
The law allows the commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection to appoint special policemen in the (Department of Social Services Bureau) of Child Support Enforcement (BCSE) to serve arrest warrants in child support matters. By law, the BCSE officers have all the powers conferred on state policemen and state marshals, but in practice they do not have access to the Connecticut On-Line Law Enforcement Communications Teleprocessing (COLLECT) system used by state police officers to run criminal background checks and find residential addresses (see BACKGROUND). The bill gives the BCSE officers access to all systemic resources available to state police officers, presumably including COLLECT.
Title IV-D of the Social Security Act contains the federal rules governing state child support enforcement programs. A IV-D support case is one in which (1) the child for whom support is sought has received assistance under the state's cash assistance (Temporary Family Assistance in Connecticut), Medicaid (HUSKY A in Connecticut), or certain other state programs or (2) the custodial parent asks the state's designated IV-D agency, which is DSS's Bureau of Child Support Enforcement, for help to collect child support (including in paternity cases).
A Connecticut law enforcement officer can use COLLECT to run a criminal background check on an individual that will include information from national and statewide databases.
COLLECT provides access to the following state systems and files including the:
1. Department of Motor Vehicles,
2. Sex Offender Registry,
3. Protective Order Registry,
4. Department of Correction,
5. State Police Criminal History,
6. Offender Based Tracking System, and
7. Paperless Re-Arrest Warrant Network.
COLLECT provides national criminal information from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the International Justice and Public Safety Information Sharing Network (NLETS). These two databases also include criminal information from Canada.
Human Services Committee
Joint Favorable Substitute