Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1365
By: Goodman
Juvenile Justice & Family Issues


Current law provides for the establishment and enforcement of child support
obligations in suits affecting the parent-child relationship.  Among the
provisions are procedures for ordering medical support and enforcing
support obligations through mechanisms such as income withholding and
liens.  House Bill 1365 provides technical corrections and textual
emendations to various provisions to clarify intent and to enhance
establishment and enforcement provisions.  H.B. 1365 also provides for the
continuation of the duty of support beyond the death of an obligee, medical
support for a child for whom child support is ordered, child support lien
and levy processes, and administrative processes used by the Office of the
Attorney General's child support division.  


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 1365 amends the Family Code to set forth provisions relating to
the establishment, modification, and enforcement of child support.  The
bill provides that a child support obligation does not terminate on the
death of the obligee but continues as an obligation to the child named in
the support order.  The bill requires that after the death of the obligee,
a child support payment is to be paid proportionately for the benefit of
each surviving child and not to the estate of the obligor.  The bill
provides that the payment of child support is free of any creditor's claim
against the deceased obligee's estate.  The bill requires that on the death
of an obligee, current child support owed by the obligor is to be paid and
a copy of the order provided to certain persons (Sec. 154.013).  

The court requires the obligee to provide health insurance to the child if
health insurance is available through any source available to the obligee,
including the children's health insurance program.  The bill removes
provisions requiring the obligor to apply for coverage through the Texas
Healthy Kids Corporation.  The bill also removes provisions establishing a
specified amount of medical child support (Sec. 154.182).  The bill
requires an employer to automatically enroll the child on receipt of the
order or notice of the medical child support order, rather than during the
31 days immediately following the receipt of the order (Sec. 154.184).   

The bill provides that a child support lien arises by operation of law for
all amounts of child support due and owing, including any accrued interest,
and provides additional requirements of the content and methods of filing
all child support lien notices (Secs. 157.312, 157.313, and 157.314). The
bill provides that a lien is perfected if a lien is attached to a financial
institution account in which the obligor has sole or part ownership
interest and the support lien notice is delivered to the financial
institution holding the account and releases the institution from liability
for compliance with a levy notice (Secs. 157.316 and 157.329).  The bill
requires the county clerk, on receipt of a child support lien notice, to
immediately record the date and time the notice was filed (Sec. 157.315).
The bill provides that a lien attaches to all real and personal property
including an individual retirement account and the proceeds of a life
insurance policy (Sec.  157.317). The bill prohibits a financial
institution that receives a notice of levy from closing an account,
withdrawing funds, or paying funds to the obligor. The bill requires the
financial institution that receives a notice of levy to notify any other
person having an ownership interest  in the account, that the account has
been levied on in an amount not to exceed the amount of the child support
arrearages (Sec. 157.327).  The bill authorizes the claimant to proceed to
levy on other property of the obligor until the total amount of child
support due is paid if the property or right to property does not produce
sufficient funds to satisfy the amount of child support arrearages (Sec.
157.331). The bill requires a claimant to deliver a notice of levy to any
financial institution possessing or controlling assets or funds of the
obligor and  provides requirements for notice of levy to the obligor (Sec.

The bill authorizes the court to render an order requiring the obligor to
make periodic payments or that income be withheld from the disposable
earnings of the obligor in an amount sufficient to discharge the judgment
in not more than two years (Sec. 157.264). The bill removes provisions
relating to the contents of an order or a writ of withholding (Sec.
158.103).  The bill requires the obligor's employer to send a copy of the
income withholding order or writ to the insurance carrier with whom the
claim has been filed in order to continue the ordered withholding of income
(Sec. 158.206).  The bill authorizes an administrative writ of withholding
to contain only information that is necessary for the employer to withhold
income for child support and medical support and is required to specify the
place where the withheld income is to be paid (Sec. 158.504). On issuance
of administrative writ of withholding,  the bill requires the Office of the
Attorney General, the designated Title IV-D agency in this state, to send
notice of the amount of arrearages, including accrued interest, to the
obligor (Sec. 158.505).   

The bill removes provisions relating to findings by a jury (Secs. 160.003
and 160.006).  The bill requires the court to conduct a preliminary hearing
to determine whether grounds exist for a suit to proceed (Sec. 160.207).
The bill requires the clerk of the court to file suit in a suit to
determine parentage (Sec. 102.013). 

The bill requires the attorney general to use all sources of information
and available records authorized by law, including the federal parent
locator service to obtain information for the establishment of paternity
and the establishment, modification, or enforcement of child support.  The
bill sets forth the persons authorized to receive information through the
federal parent locator service.  The bill requires a government agency,
private company, institution, or other entity to provide the information
requested directly to the attorney general without the requirement of
payment of a fee for the information (Sec. 231.302).  The bill authorizes
the court to order retroactive child support for a child for a period after
the termination of a previous child support order if the termination
resulted from the marriage or remarriage of the child's parents (Sec.
154.009).  The  bill requires the court to render an order with specific
requirements, directing payment of current child support amounts,
arrearages, and support paid but not dispersed.  The bill requires the
order to be distributed to certain persons or agencies (Sec. 154.013).  The
bill provides that any support paid to the obligee in excess of the amount
ordered is required to be returned to the obligor, if the obligor is not in
arrears and the obligor's child support obligation has terminated (Sec.

The bill provides that if both parties support and sign the child support
order and paternity is established, then the attorney general is authorized
to present the order and waiver to the court for confirmation without
conducting a negotiation conference (Secs. 233.009 and 233.0095).  The bill
authorizes the court to sign the order before filing the order, and
requires the signed order to be immediately filed (Sec. 233.024).  

The bill authorizes the attorney general to enter into contracts or
cooperative agreements to process through the state disbursement unit child
support collections (Sec. 234.004).  The bill authorizes, rather than
requires, the attorney general in cooperation with a work group to adopt
rules in compliance with federal law for the operation of the state case
registry and the state disbursement unit (Sec. 234.006). 

The bill provides that a child support payment record is admissible as
evidence without further authentication or verification. The bill requires
that disputes involving the child support payment record are to be resolved
by deposition on written interrogatories by certain individuals

The bill authorizes a court of this state to modify an order of child
support rendered by an appropriate  tribunal of another state after
registration of the order (Sec. 156.408).  The bill provides that a notice
of a motion for modification of an order may be served by mailing a copy of
the citation to the respondent with a copy of the motion and provides
additional notice requirements (Sec. 156.409).    The bill authorizes the
attorney general to enforce a support order rendered by a tribunal of
another state (Sec. 158.501). 


September 1, 2001.