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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 3-307: Duties of support enforcement agency

Section 3–307. Duties of support enforcement agency.

(a) In a proceeding under this chapter, a support enforcement agency of the commonwealth, upon request:

(1) shall provide services to a petitioner residing in a state;

(2) shall provide services to a petitioner requesting services through a central authority of a foreign country as described in section 1–102(5) (i) or (iv); and

(3) may provide services to a petitioner who is an individual not residing in a state.

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

(1) take all steps necessary to enable an appropriate tribunal of the commonwealth, another state or a foreign country 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 5 days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, after receipt of notice in a record from an initiating, responding or registering tribunal, send a copy of the notice to the petitioner;

(5) within 5 days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, after receipt of communication in a record 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) A support enforcement agency of the commonwealth that requests registration of a child support order in the commonwealth for enforcement or for modification shall make reasonable efforts:

(1) to ensure that the order to be registered is the controlling order; or

(2) if 2 or more child support orders exist and the identity of the controlling order has not been determined, to ensure that a request for such a determination is made in a tribunal having jurisdiction to do so.

(d) A support enforcement agency of the commonwealth that requests registration and enforcement of a support order, arrears or judgment stated in a foreign currency shall convert the amounts stated in the foreign currency into the equivalent amounts in dollars under the applicable official or market exchange rate as publicly reported.

(e) A support enforcement agency of the commonwealth shall issue or request a tribunal of the commonwealth to issue a child support order and an income withholding order that redirect payment of current support, arrears and interest if requested to do so by a support enforcement agency of another state pursuant to section 3–319.

(f) This chapter 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.