TCSEP will accept all Child Support applications.  Applications are available at the DHRD Tribal Child Support Enforcement Office during business hours, and can be requested via telephone.  Applications will be mailed within two (2) business days.  TCSEP also accepts cases that are appropriately referred from another IV- D Program and Tribal TANF.  Once a complete transmittal is received, TCSEP processes the case and promptly begins providing services in the same manner as a new application.

Application for child support - The applications will be kept in stock at DHRD TCSEP office and will be available to all individuals who request services.  The application will also be a shared document on CS&KT Intranet Program so other programs can access it as needed for mutual cliental.

TCSEP will process applicants’ cases that are under the jurisdiction of the Tribal Court. Cases that do not meet the jurisdictional guidelines will be referred to the appropriate IV-D Program.

Case Transmittals
Once a completed application or transmittal is received, the TCSEP Administrative Assistant will assure that all necessary documents are received. Case files will not be assigned to a TCSEP Case Manager until the requesting agency or applicant has provided all necessary information to the best of their ability. Required information includes: any known contact information of all participants, including NCP’s; known social security information of all participants and copies of social security cards when available; copies of the child(ren)’s birth certificate(s); copies of Court orders regarding Child Support, paternity, or divorce decree; a copy of a paternity affidavit if applicable; and copies of any domestic violence protection orders.

In the event that an application or transmittal is found to be incomplete; the applicant or IV-D Program from the referring jurisdiction will be contacted immediately.  Complete applications are made into a file which is immediately assigned to a TCSEP Case Manager. TCSEP Case Managers will identify the next appropriate Child Support action and begin working the case within four (4) days of assignment.

Receipt of New Cases
Upon receipt of a new case, the TCSEP Case Manager will first research and verify all information on the case to ensure the accuracy of the next actions. The following process will be followed:

1)    Services will be provided through locate function available as an inter-governmental transmittal.

2)    Cross-reference participant’s name and/or social security number with Lexis Nexis.

3)    Verify the location and Tribal affiliation of all participants and employer of the NCP if paternity has already been established.

4)    Research and request documents from the Tribal Court, County Court and/or the Montana State Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) to determine the legal status of the case.

5)    If the case requires paternity establishment, schedule an appointment to have the natural mother begin the process of establishing paternity.

After all information is gathered and verified, the TCSEP Case Manager will begin working the case. TCSEP Case Managers will diligently work on all cases until such a time that it is determined that case closure is appropriate.

Case Closure
TCSEP will follow Federal case closure guideline.  All closed files will be maintained for three (3) years. The guidelines for case closure are as follows:

1)    In order to be eligible for closure, the case must meet at least one (1) of the following criteria:

a)    In the case of a child who has reached the age of majority, there is no longer a current support order and arrearages are under $500 or unenforceable under State and/or Tribal law;

b)    In the case of a child who has not reached the age of majority, there is no longer a current support order and arrearages are under $500 or unenforceable under State and/or Tribal law;

c)    The NCP or putative father is deceased and no further action  can be taken;

d)    Paternity cannot be established if:

i.    A genetic test or a Court or administrative process has excluded the putative father and no other putative father can be identified; or

ii.    The IV-D Program has determined that it would not be in the best interest of the child to establish paternity in a case involving incest, forcible rape, or in any case where legal proceedings for adoption are pending; or

iii.    The NCP's location is unknown, and the State and/or Tribe has made regular attempts using multiple sources to locate the NCP over a three (3) year period, all of which have been unsuccessful;

e)    The NCP cannot pay support for the duration of the child's minority because the parent has been institutionalized in a psychiatric facility, is incarcerated with no chance for parole, or has a medically-verified total and permanent disability with no evidence of support potential. The Tribe must also determine that no income available from the NCP can be attached for support;

f)    The NCP is a citizen of, and lives in, a foreign country, does not work for the Federal government or a company with headquarters or offices in the United States, and has no reachable domestic income or assets; and the Tribe has been unable to establish reciprocity with the country;

g)    TCSEP has provided location-only services from another IV-D Program, and services are complete;

h)    The non-TANF CP requests closure of a case and there is no assignment of medical support or arrearages which accrued under a support order;

i)    There has been a finding of good cause and any appropriate IV–A, IV–E programs, or Medicaid has determined that support enforcement may not proceed without risk of harm to the child or caretaker relative;

j)    In a non-TANF case receiving services, TCSEP is unable to contact the CP within a ninety (90) calendar day period despite attempts by both phone and at least one certified letter; or

k)    In a non-TANF case receiving services, TCSEP documents the circumstances of the CP’s non-cooperation and an action by the CP is essential for the next step in providing IV–D services.

In cases meeting the criteria in paragraphs (1) (a) through (g) and (j) and (k) of this section, TCSEP must notify the CP in writing sixty (60) calendar days prior to closure of the case of TCSEP’s intent to close the case. The case must be kept open if the CP responds to the notice with information that could lead to the establishment of paternity, a support order, or enforcement of an order or, in the instance of paragraph (a) and (j) of this section.  If the case is closed, the CP may request at a later date that the case be re-opened if there is a change in circumstances that could lead to the establishment of paternity or a support order or enforcement of an order.

Case closure can be performed only with the approval of the TCSEP Project Director or designee. TCSEP Case Managers identify cases for closure by using the case closure guidelines described above. Once approved, the TCSEP Case Manager will send a letter to notify the CP. The case will be referred to the TCSEP Administrative Assistant to close out all debts.  Closed case files will be kept for three (3) years and can be re-opened if the CP brings forward a change in circumstance which may lead to new action on a case.

When a case has been closed, the TCSEP Case Manager or designee will immediately terminate any income withholding in cases where there is no longer a current order for support and all arrearage’s have been satisfied;  or other enforcement actions.

DHRD TCSEP will promptly terminate income withholding in cases where there is no longer current order for support and all arrearages have been satisfied.