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District Court Special Rule 210: Interim Rule for Incoming Interstate Income Withholding Actions

[Disclaimer]

Note: MGL c.273A was repealed in 1995

(a) Scope and Applicability of Rule. This rule governs procedure in all cases involving requests for interstate income withholding received by Massachusetts pursuant to G.L. c. 119A, s. 8, and c. 273A, s. 10, paragraph 4 in which a request for interstate income withholding has been made by a party in another state.

(b) Definitions. As used herein, the term “obligor” shall mean a person who has been ordered by a court or agency of competent jurisdiction in another state to pay support, and whose source of income in Massachusetts is the subject of a request for interstate income withholding under G.L. c. 273A, s. 10. The term “obligee” shall refer to a person or agency owed support pursuant to the terms of an existing order of another state and who has made a request for interstate income withholding pursuant to G.L. c. 119A, s. 8 or any other applicable provision of law. Any clear communication from another state which meets the requirements of c. 119A, s. 8 shall be deemed a request for interstate income withholding and shall be accepted for filing. As used herein, the term “IV-D agency” shall mean the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

(c) Fees and Costs. The court shall not charge the obligee an entry fee or a fee for any other costs associated with the conduct of the matter.

(d) Notice to Obligor. Every obligor shall be notified of the filing of a request for interstate income withholding and of the date, time and place scheduled for the hearing, and shall receive a copy of the foreign order or judgment for support upon which the request is based, together with said notice.

Notice shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and also by separate first-class mail. Such certified mail notice shall be sufficient, although unclaimed or refused by the obligor, provided that the first-class mail notice is not returned to the sender undelivered. No additional service shall be required for any reason if notice by mail, in accordance with this section, appears to have been valid. In individual cases, if service by mail cannot be accomplished, the court may provide for any other means of service as is deemed necessary.

If the case was forwarded to the court by the IV-D agency pursuant to G.L. c. 119A, s. 8, the court shall provide the obligor's notice to the agency, to be served by the agency upon the obligor in accordance with G.L. c. 273A, s. 10 and the provisions of this rule. If the case was not forwarded by the IV-D agency, the clerk's office shall itself notify the obligor.

(e) Trials and Orders.

(1) Time Goals for Orders. Whether or not the obligor appears for the hearing, it shall be the goal of the court to conduct the hearing and to enter an order for support, if appropriate under the facts of the case pursuant to G.L. c. 273A, s. 10, para. 4 and if valid service has been made, within 45 days from the date of receipt by the court of the request for interstate income withholding.

(2) Failure of an Obligor to Appear for the Hearing. If it appears that valid notice of the hearing date was sent to the obligor in accordance with paragraph (d) and if the obligor fails to appear for the hearing, the court shall enter an order for income withholding if it finds that the factors and conditions set forth in G.L. c. 273A, s. 10, para. 4 obtain.

(3) Orders. The clerk shall promptly enter the income assignment order on the docket, together with the date of such entry, and shall promptly complete and give a copy of such order to each party. Such order shall be given to the obligor in-hand while the obligor is before the court, or, if the obligor does not appear, by first class mail. If the case was forwarded to the court by the IV-D agency pursuant to G.L. c. 119A, s. 8, the court shall provide the obligee's copy of the order to the agency. If the case was not forwarded by the IV-D agency, the clerk's office shall send a copy of the order directly to the obligee by first class mail.

(4) Records. The clerk shall perform such record-keeping relative to requests for interstate income withholding and the entry of orders under G.L. c. 273A, s. 10 as may be prescribed by the administrative justice.

Adopted July 28, 1987, effective January 1, 1987.