FAMILY CODE SECTION 5700.301-5700.319
5700.301. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this part, this
chapter applies to all proceedings under this part.
(b) An individual petitioner or a support enforcement agency may
initiate a proceeding authorized under this part by filing a petition
in an initiating tribunal for forwarding to a responding tribunal or
by filing a petition or a comparable pleading directly in a tribunal
of another state or a foreign country which has or can obtain
personal jurisdiction over the respondent.
5700.302. A minor parent, or a guardian or other legal
representative of a minor parent, may maintain a proceeding on behalf
of or for the benefit of the minor’s child.
5700.303. Except as otherwise provided in this part, a responding
tribunal of this state shall:
(1) apply the procedural and substantive law generally applicable
to similar proceedings originating in this state and may exercise all
powers and provide all remedies available in those proceedings; and
(2) determine the duty of support and the amount payable in
accordance with the law and support guidelines of this state.
5700.304. (a) Upon the filing of a petition authorized by this
part, an initiating tribunal of this state shall forward the petition
and its accompanying documents:
(1) to the responding tribunal or appropriate support enforcement
agency in the responding state; or
(2) if the identity of the responding tribunal is unknown, to the
state information agency of the responding state with a request that
they be forwarded to the appropriate tribunal and that receipt be
(b) If requested by the responding tribunal, a tribunal of this
state shall issue a certificate or other document and make findings
required by the law of the responding state. If the responding
tribunal is in a foreign country, upon request the tribunal of this
state shall specify the amount of support sought, convert that amount
into the equivalent amount in the foreign currency under applicable
official or market exchange rate as publicly reported, and provide
any other documents necessary to satisfy the requirements of the
responding foreign tribunal.
5700.305. (a) When a responding tribunal of this state receives a
petition or comparable pleading from an initiating tribunal or
directly pursuant to Section 5700.301(b), it shall cause the petition
or pleading to be filed and notify the petitioner where and when it
(b) A responding tribunal of this state, to the extent not
prohibited by other law, may do one or more of the following:
(1) establish or enforce a support order, modify a child-support
order, determine the controlling child-support order, or determine
parentage of a child;
(2) order an obligor to comply with a support order, specifying
the amount and the manner of compliance;
(3) order income withholding;
(4) determine the amount of any arrearages, and specify a method
(5) enforce orders by civil or criminal contempt, or both;
(6) set aside property for satisfaction of the support order;
(7) place liens and order execution on the obligor’s property;
(8) order an obligor to keep the tribunal informed of the obligor’
s current residential address, electronic-mail address, telephone
number, employer, address of employment, and telephone number at the
place of employment;
(9) issue a bench warrant for an obligor who has failed after
proper notice to appear at a hearing ordered by the tribunal and
enter the bench warrant in any local and state computer systems for
(10) order the obligor to seek appropriate employment by specified
(11) award reasonable attorney’s fees and other fees and costs;
(12) grant any other available remedy.
(c) A responding tribunal of this state shall include in a support
order issued under this part, or in the documents accompanying the
order, the calculations on which the support order is based.
(d) A responding tribunal of this state may not condition the
payment of a support order issued under this part upon compliance by
a party with provisions for visitation.
(e) If a responding tribunal of this state issues an order under
this part, the tribunal shall send a copy of the order to the
petitioner and the respondent and to the initiating tribunal, if any.
(f) If requested to enforce a support order, arrears, or judgment
or modify a support order stated in a foreign currency, a responding
tribunal of this state shall convert the amount stated in the foreign
currency to the equivalent amount in dollars under the applicable
official or market exchange rate as publicly reported.
5700.306. If a petition or comparable pleading is received by an
inappropriate tribunal of this state, the tribunal shall forward the
pleading and accompanying documents to an appropriate tribunal of
this state or another state and notify the petitioner where and when
the pleading was sent.
5700.307. (a) A support enforcement agency of this state, upon
request, shall provide services to a petitioner in a proceeding under
(b) A support enforcement agency of this state that is providing
services to the petitioner shall:
(1) take all steps necessary to enable an appropriate tribunal of
this state, 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 14 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
(5) within 14 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 this state that requests
registration of a child-support order in this state for enforcement
or for modification shall make reasonable efforts:
(1) to ensure that the order to be registered is the controlling
(2) if two 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 this state 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 this state shall issue or
request a tribunal of this state 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 5700.319.
(f) This part 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.
5700.308. (a) If the Attorney General or the Department of Child
Support Services determines that the support enforcement agency is
neglecting or refusing to provide services to an individual, the
Attorney General or the department may order the agency to perform
its duties under this part or may provide those services directly to
(b) The Department of Child Support Services, in consultation with
the Attorney General, may determine that a foreign country has
established a reciprocal arrangement for child support with this
state and take appropriate action for notification of the
5700.309. An individual may employ private counsel to represent the
individual in proceedings authorized by this part.
5700.310. (a) The Department of Child Support Services is the state
information agency under this part.
(b) The state information agency shall:
(1) compile and maintain a current list, including addresses, of
the tribunals in this state which have jurisdiction under this part
and any support enforcement agencies in this state and transmit a
copy to the state information agency of every other state;
(2) maintain a register of names and addresses of tribunals and
support enforcement agencies received from other states;
(3) forward to the appropriate tribunal in the county in this
state in which the obligee who is an individual or the obligor
resides, or in which the obligor’s property is believed to be
located, all documents concerning a proceeding under this part
received from another state or a foreign country; and
(4) obtain information concerning the location of the obligor and
the obligor’s property within this state not exempt from execution,
by such means as postal verification and federal or state locator
services, examination of telephone directories, requests for the
obligor’s address from employers, and examination of governmental
records, including, to the extent not prohibited by other law, those
relating to real property, vital statistics, law enforcement,
taxation, motor vehicles, driver’s licenses, and social security.
5700.311. (a) In a proceeding under this part, a petitioner seeking
to establish a support order, to determine parentage of a child, or
to register and modify a support order of a tribunal of another state
or a foreign country must file a petition. Unless otherwise ordered
under Section 5700.312, the petition or accompanying documents must
provide, so far as known, the name, residential address, and social
security numbers of the obligor and the obligee or the parent and
alleged parent, and the name, sex, residential address, social
security number, and date of birth of each child for whose benefit
support is sought or whose parentage is to be determined. Unless
filed at the time of registration, the petition must be accompanied
by a copy of any support order known to have been issued by another
tribunal. The petition may include any other information that may
assist in locating or identifying the respondent.
(b) The petition must specify the relief sought. The petition and
accompanying documents must conform substantially with the
requirements imposed by the forms mandated by federal law for use in
cases filed by a support enforcement agency.
5700.312. If a party alleges in an affidavit or a pleading under
oath that the health, safety, or liberty of a party or child would be
jeopardized by disclosure of specific identifying information, that
information must be sealed and may not be disclosed to the other
party or the public. After a hearing in which a tribunal takes into
consideration the health, safety, or liberty of the party or child,
the tribunal may order disclosure of information that the tribunal
determines to be in the interest of justice.
5700.313. (a) The petitioner may not be required to pay a filing
fee or other costs.
(b) If an obligee prevails, a responding tribunal of this state
may assess against an obligor filing fees, reasonable attorney’s
fees, other costs, and necessary travel and other reasonable expenses
incurred by the obligee and the obligee’s witnesses. The tribunal
may not assess fees, costs, or expenses against the obligee or the
support enforcement agency of either the initiating or responding
state or foreign country, except as provided by other law. Attorney’s
fees may be taxed as costs, and may be ordered paid directly to the
attorney, who may enforce the order in the attorney’s own name.
Payment of support owed to the obligee has priority over fees, costs,
(c) The tribunal shall order the payment of costs and reasonable
attorney’s fees if it determines that a hearing was requested
primarily for delay. In a proceeding under Chapter 6, a hearing is
presumed to have been requested primarily for delay if a registered
support order is confirmed or enforced without change.
5700.314. (a) Participation by a petitioner in a proceeding under
this part before a responding tribunal, whether in person, by private
attorney, or through services provided by the support enforcement
agency, does not confer personal jurisdiction over the petitioner in
(b) A petitioner is not amenable to service of civil process while
physically present in this state to participate in a proceeding
under this part.
(c) The immunity granted by this section does not extend to civil
litigation based on acts unrelated to a proceeding under this part
committed by a party while physically present in this state to
participate in the proceeding.
5700.315. A party whose parentage of a child has been previously
determined by or pursuant to law may not plead nonparentage as a
defense to a proceeding under this part.
5700.316. (a) The physical presence of a nonresident party who is
an individual in a tribunal of this state is not required for the
establishment, enforcement, or modification of a support order or the
rendition of a judgment determining parentage of a child.
(b) An affidavit, a document substantially complying with
federally mandated forms, or a document incorporated by reference in
any of them, which would not be excluded under the hearsay rule if
given in person, is admissible in evidence if given under penalty of
perjury by a party or witness residing outside this state.
(c) A copy of the record of child-support payments certified as a
true copy of the original by the custodian of the record may be
forwarded to a responding tribunal. The copy is evidence of facts
asserted in it, and is admissible to show whether payments were made.
(d) Copies of bills for testing for parentage of a child, and for
prenatal and postnatal health care of the mother and child, furnished
to the adverse party at least 10 days before trial, are admissible
in evidence to prove the amount of the charges billed and that the
charges were reasonable, necessary, and customary.
(e) Documentary evidence transmitted from outside this state to a
tribunal of this state by telephone, telecopier, or other electronic
means that do not provide an original record may not be excluded from
evidence on an objection based on the means of transmission.
(f) In a proceeding under this part, a tribunal of this state
shall permit a party or witness residing outside this state to be
deposed or to testify under penalty of perjury by telephone,
audiovisual means, or other electronic means at a designated tribunal
or other location. A tribunal of this state shall cooperate with
other tribunals in designating an appropriate location for the
deposition or testimony.
(g) If a party called to testify at a civil hearing refuses to
answer on the ground that the testimony may be self-incriminating,
the trier of fact may draw an adverse inference from the refusal.
(h) A privilege against disclosure of communications between
spouses does not apply in a proceeding under this part.
(i) The defense of immunity based on the relationship of husband
and wife or parent and child does not apply in a proceeding under
(j) A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, certified as a true
copy, is admissible to establish parentage of the child.
5700.317. A tribunal of this state may communicate with a tribunal
outside this state in a record or by telephone, electronic mail, or
other means, to obtain information concerning the laws, the legal
effect of a judgment, decree, or order of that tribunal, and the
status of a proceeding. A tribunal of this state may furnish similar
information by similar means to a tribunal outside this state.
5700.318. A tribunal of this state may:
(1) request a tribunal outside this state to assist in obtaining
(2) upon request, compel a person over which it has jurisdiction
to respond to a discovery order issued by a tribunal outside this
5700.319. (a) A support enforcement agency or tribunal of this
state shall disburse promptly any amounts received pursuant to a
support order, as directed by the order. The agency or tribunal shall
furnish to a requesting party or tribunal of another state or a
foreign country a certified statement by the custodian of the record
of the amounts and dates of all payments received.
(b) If neither the obligor, nor the obligee who is an individual,
nor the child resides in this state, upon request from the support
enforcement agency of this state or another state, the Department of
Child Support Services or a tribunal of this state shall:
(1) direct that the support payment be made to the support
enforcement agency in the state in which the obligee is receiving
(2) issue and send to the obligor’s employer a conforming
income-withholding order or an administrative notice of change of
payee, reflecting the redirected payments.
(c) The support enforcement agency of this state receiving
redirected payments from another state pursuant to a law similar to
subsection (b) shall furnish to a requesting party or tribunal of the
other state a certified statement by the custodian of the record of
the amount and dates of all payments received.