KSC, TITLE 16.  FAMILY AND MINORS
 

Part I.  Family
 
Chapter 3.  Support

Section 16.301.  Definitions.
Section 16.302.  Other remedy.
Section 16.303.  Obligee's presence; or residence.
Section 16.304.  Interstate rendition.
Section 16.305.  Investigation.
Section 16.306.  Choice of law.
Section 16.307.  Right of jurisdiction furnishing support.
Section 16.308.  Enforcement.
Section 16.309.  Jurisdiction.
Section 16.310.  Complaint for support.
Section 16.311.  Attorney General.
Section 16.312.  Minor.
Section 16.313.  Duty of initiating court.
Section 16.314.  Costs; fees.
Section 16.315.  Jurisdiction by arrest.
Section 16.316.  Information agency.
Section 16.317.  Duties of the Court and State officials.
Section 16.318.  Continuance.
Section 16.319.  Self-incrimination.
Section 16.320.  Testimony of spouse.
Section 16.321.  Rules of evidence.
Section 16.322.  Order of support.
Section 16.323.  Transmittal of support order.
Section 16.324.  Additional powers of responding court.
Section 16.325.  Paternity.
Section 16.326.  Forwarding of payment and records.
Section 16.327.  Receipt and disbursal of payment.
Section 16.328.  Stay of proceedings.
Section 16.329.  Application of payment.
Section 16.330.  Jurisdictional effect.
Section 16.331.  Interstate application.
Section 16.332.  Appeal.

      Section 16.301.  Definitions.
      In this chapter:

     (1)  "District attorney" is the public official in the appropriate place who has the duty to enforce criminal laws relating to the failure to provide for the support of a person.

     (2)  "Duty of support" is a duty of support whether imposed or imposable by law or by order, decree, or judgment of a court, whether interlocutory or final or whether incidental to an action for divorce, separation, separate maintenance, or otherwise, and includes the duty to pay arrearages of support past due and unpaid.

     (3)  "Initiating state" is a state in which a proceeding pursuant to this or a substantially similar reciprocal law is commenced.

     (4)  "Initiating court" is the court in which a proceeding is commenced.

     (5)  "Law" includes both common and statutory law.

     (6)  "Obligee" is a person, including a state or political subdivision, to whom a duty of support is owed, or a person, including a state or political subdivision, that has commenced a proceeding for enforcement of an alleged duty of support or for registration of a support order.  It is immaterial whether the person to whom a duty of support is owed is a recipient of public assistance.

     (7)  "Obligor" is a person owing a duty of support or against whom a proceeding for the enforcement of a duty of support or registration of a support order is commenced.

     (8)  "Register" is to file in the registry of foreign support orders.

     (9)  "Registering court" is the court where a support order of a rendering state is registered.

     (10)  "Rendering state" is a state in which a court has issued a support order for which registration is sought or granted in the court of another state.

     (11)  "Responding court" is the court in which the responsive proceeding is commenced.

     (12)  "Responding state" is a state in which any responsive proceeding pursuant to the proceeding in the initiating state is commenced.

     (13)  "State" includes a state of the Federated States of Micronesia, or state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and a foreign jurisdiction in which this or a substantially similar reciprocal law is in effect.

     (14)  "Support order" is a judgment, decree, or order of support in favor of an obligee, whether temporary or final, or subject to modification, revocation, or remission, regardless of the kind of action or proceeding in which it is entered.

      Section 16.302.  Other remedy.
      The remedies provided herein are in addition to and not in substitution for any other remedy.

      Section 16.303.  Obligee's presence; or residence.
      A duty of support arising pursuant to applicable law binds an obligor present in the State regardless of the presence or residence of the obligee.

      Section 16.304.  Interstate rendition.
      The Governor may:

     (1)  demand of the governor of a state the surrender of a person found in that state who is charged criminally in the State with the failure to abide by an order of the Court ordering him to provide for the support of a person; or

     (2)  surrender on demand by the governor of another state a person found in the State who is charged criminally in that state with failing to provide for the support of any person.

      Section 16.305.  Investigation.

     (1)  Before making the demand upon the governor of a state for the surrender of a person charged criminally in the State with the failure to abide by an order of the Court ordering him to provide for the support of a person, the Governor may require the Attorney General to certify that the obligee has initiated proceedings for support pursuant to this chapter sixty days prior thereto or that institution of a proceeding would not be effective.

     (2)  If, under a substantially similar act, the governor of another state makes a demand upon the Governor for the surrender of a person charged criminally in that state with failure to provide for the support of a person, the Governor may require the Attorney General to investigate the demand and to report to him whether proceedings for support have been initiated or would be effective.  If it appears to the Governor that a proceeding would be effective but has not been initiated, he may delay honoring the demand for a reasonable time to permit the initiation of a proceeding.

     (3)  If proceedings have been initiated, and the person demanded has prevailed in the proceedings, the Governor may decline to honor the demand.  If the obligee prevailed and the person demanded is subject to a support order, the Governor may decline to honor the demand if the person demanded is complying with the support order.

      Section 16.306.  Choice of law.
      Duties of support are those imposed under the laws of a jurisdiction where the obligor was present for the period during which support is sought.  There is a presumption that the obligor was present in the responding jurisdiction during the period for which support is sought unless otherwise shown.

      Section 16.307.  Right of jurisdiction furnishing support.
      If a state or a political subdivision thereof furnishes support to an individual obligee, it has the same right to initiate a proceeding pursuant to this chapter as the individual obligee for the purpose of securing reimbursement for support furnished and of obtaining continuing support.
 
      Section 16.308.  Enforcement.
      A duty of support, including the duty to pay arrearages, is enforceable by an action pursuant to this chapter, including a proceeding for contempt.  The defense that the parties are immune to suit because of their relationship as husband and wife or parent and child is not available to the obligor.

      Section 16.309.  Jurisdiction.
      The Court has jurisdiction of a proceeding pursuant to this chapter.

      Section 16.310.  Complaint for support.

     (1)  A verified complaint states the name and, so far as known to the obligee, the address and circumstances of the obligor and the person for whom he seeks support and all other pertinent information required by Court rule.  The obligee may include in or attach to the complaint information which may help in locating or identifying the obligor, including a photograph of the obligor, a description of any distinguishing marks on his person, other names and aliases by which he has been or is known, the name of his employer, his fingerprints, and his social security number.

     (2)  The Court does not decline or refuse to accept and forward the complaint on the ground that it should be filed with some other court where there is pending another action for divorce, separation, annulment, dissolution, habeas corpus, adoption or custody between the same parties or where another court has already issued a support order in some other proceeding and has retained jurisdiction for its enforcement.

      Section 16.311.  Attorney General.
      If the State is acting as an initiating state, the Attorney General, upon the Court's request, represents the obligee in a proceeding pursuant to this chapter.

      Section 16.312.  Minor.
      A person having legal custody of a minor may execute and file a complaint on behalf of a minor obligee without appointment as guardian ad litem.

      Section 16.313.  Duty of initiating court.
      If an initiating court finds that the complaint sets forth facts from which it may determine that the obligor owes a duty of support and that a court of the responding state may obtain jurisdiction of the obligor or his property, it so certifies and causes three copies of the complaint and its certificate and one copy of this chapter to be sent to the responding court.  Certification is in accordance with the requirements of the initiating state.  If the name and address of the responding court is unknown and the responding state has [an] information agency comparable to that established in the initiating state, it causes the copies to be sent to the state information agency or other proper official of the responding state, with a request that the agency or official forward them to the proper court and that the court of the responding state acknowledge their receipt to the initiating court.

      Section 16.314.  Costs; fees.
      An initiating court does not require payment of either a filing fee or other costs from the obligee but may request the responding court to collect fees and costs from the obligor.  A responding court does not require payment of a filing fee or other costs from the obligee but it may direct that all fees and costs requested by the initiating court and incurred when acting as a responding state, including fees for filing of pleadings, service of process, seizure of property, stenographic or duplication service, or other service supplied to the obligor, be paid in whole or in part by the obligor or by the state or political subdivision.  These costs or fees do not have priority over amounts due to the obligee.

      Section 16.315.  Jurisdiction by arrest.
      If the Court believes that the obligor may flee, it may:

     (1)  as an initiating court, request in its certificate that the responding court obtain the body of the obligor by appropriate process; or

     (2)  as a responding court obtain the body of the obligor by appropriate process, releasing him upon his own recognizance or upon his giving a bond in an amount set by the Court to assure his appearance at the hearing.

      Section 16.316.  Information agency.

     (1)  The Office of the Attorney General is the information agency pursuant to this chapter which:

     (a)  provides to the Court the address of the state information agency of a state which has adopted this or a substantially similar law;

     (b)  maintains a register of a list of courts received from a state and transmits a copy thereof promptly to the Court;

     (c)  distributes copies of this chapter, an amendment thereto, and a statement of their effective dates to all state information agencies; and

     (d)  forwards to the Court a copy of an act it receives from a court or information agency of a state.

     (2)  If the Attorney General does not know the location of the obligor or his property in the State, he uses all means at his disposal to obtain the information, including but not limited to the examination of an official records.

      Section 16.317.  Duties of the Court and State officials.

     (1)  The Attorney General on his own initiative uses all means at his disposal to locate the obligor or his property, and if, because of inaccuracies in the complaint or otherwise, the Court cannot obtain jurisdiction, the Attorney General informs the Court of what he has done and requests the Court to continue the case, pending receipt of more accurate information or an amended complaint from the initiating court.

     (2)  If the obligor or his property is not found in the State and the Attorney General discovers that the obligor or his property may be found in another state, he informs the Court.  Thereupon the Clerk of Courts forwards the documents received from the court in the initiating jurisdiction to a court or to the information agency or other proper official in the state where the Attorney General believes the property of the obligor to be located with a request that the documents be forwarded to the proper court.  All powers and duties provided by this chapter apply to the recipient of the documents so forwarded.  If the Clerk of Court forwards documents to another court, he forthwith notifies the Court.

     (3)  If the Attorney General has no information as to the location of the obligor or his property, he informs the initiating court.

     Section 16.318.  Continuance.
     If the obligee is not present at the hearing and the obligor denies owing the duty of support alleged in the petition or offers evidence constituting a defense, the Court, upon request of either party, may continue the case for further hearing and the submission of evidence by both parties by deposition or by appearance before the Court.  The Court may designate the judge of the initiating court as a person before whom a deposition may be taken.

      Section 16.319.  Self-incrimination.
      If at the hearing the obligor is called for examination as an adverse party and he declines to answer upon the ground that his testimony may tend to incriminate him, the Court may require him to answer, in which event he is immune from criminal prosecution with respect to matters revealed by his testimony, except for perjury committed in his testimony.

      Section 16.320.  Testimony of spouse.
      The privilege against the disclosure of communications between husband and wife is inapplicable to proceedings pursuant to this chapter.  Husband and wife are competent witnesses and may be compelled to testify to a relevant matter including marriage and parentage, the provisions of contrary law notwithstanding.

      Section 16.321.  Rules of evidence.
      If an action derives from a support order issued by another court, a certified copy of the order is evidence of the duty of support, subject only to a defense available to an obligor with respect to paternity as set forth in Section 16.325 or to a defendant in an action or a proceeding to enforce a foreign money judgment. The determination or enforcement of a duty of support owed to one obligee is unaffected by an interference by another obligee with rights of custody or visitation granted by a court.

      Section 16.322.  Order of support.
      If the responding court finds a duty of support, it may order the obligor to furnish support or reimbursement and subject the property of the obligor to the order.  A support order made pursuant to this chapter requires that payment be made to the clerk of courts of the responding state.   The Court and the Attorney General have the same powers and duties to enforce an order as have those holding corresponding positions in the place in which it was first issued.  If enforcement is impossible or cannot be completed in the place in which the order was issued, the Attorney General sends a certified copy of the order to the district attorney of a place in which it appears that proceedings to enforce the order would be effective.  The district attorney to whom the certified copy of the order is forwarded proceeds with enforcement and reports the results of the proceedings to the court first issuing the order.

      Section 16.323.  Transmittal of support order.
      The responding court causes a copy of a support order to be sent to the initiating court.

      Section 16.324.  Additional powers of responding court.
      In addition to the foregoing powers, a responding court may subject the obligor to any terms and conditions proper to assure compliance with its orders and in particular:

     (1)  require an obligor to furnish cash deposit or a bond of a character and amount to be specified by the Court to assure payment of an amount due;

     (2)  require an obligor to report personally and to make payments at specified intervals to the clerk of courts; and

     (3)  punish under the power of contempt an obligor who violates any order of the court.

      Section 16.325.  Paternity.
      If the obligor asserts as a defense that he is not the father of the child for whom support is sought and it appears to the Court that the defense is not frivolous, and if both of the parties are present at the hearing or the proof required in the case indicates that the presence of either or both of the parties is not necessary, the Court may adjudicate the paternity issue.  Otherwise the Court adjourns the hearing until the paternity issue has been adjudicated.

      Section 16.326.  Forwarding of payment and records.
      A responding court has the following duties which may be carried out through the clerk of courts:

     (1)  to transmit to the initiating court a payment made by the obligor pursuant to an order of the court or otherwise; and

     (2)  to furnish to the initiating court upon request a certified statement of all payments made by the obligor.

      Section 16.327.  Receipt and disbursal of payment.
      An initiating court receives and disburses forthwith a payment made by the obligor or sent by the responding court.  This duty may be carried out through the clerk of courts.

      Section 16.328.  Stay of proceedings.
      A responding court does not stay the proceeding or refuse a hearing pursuant to this chapter because of a pending or prior action or proceeding for divorce, separation, annulment, dissolution, habeas corpus, adoption, or custody in the State or another jurisdiction.  The court holds a hearing and may issue a support order pendente lite.  In aid thereof it may require the obligor to give a bond for the prompt prosecution of the pending proceeding.  If the other action or proceeding is concluded before the hearing in the instant proceeding and the judgment therein provides for the support demanded in the complaint being heard, the court conforms its support order to the amount allowed in the other action or proceeding.  Thereafter the court does not stay enforcement of its support order because of the retention of jurisdiction for enforcement purposes by the court in the other action or proceeding.

      Section 16.329.  Application of payment.
      A support order made by the Court pursuant to this chapter does not nullify, and is not nullified by, a support order made by a court of another state pursuant to a substantially similar act or any other law, regardless of priority of issuance, unless otherwise specifically provided by the Court.  Amounts paid for a particular period pursuant to any support order made by a court of another state are credited against the amounts accruing or accrued for the same period under a support order made by the Court.

      Section 16.330.  Jurisdictional effect.
      Participation in a proceeding pursuant to this chapter does not confer jurisdiction upon a court over any of the parties thereto in another proceeding.

      Section 16.331.  Interstate application.
      This chapter applies if both the obligee and the obligor are in the Federated States of Micronesia but in different states.  If the court of the state in which the complaint is filed finds that the complaint sets forth facts from which it may be determined that the obligor owes a duty of support and finds that a court of another state of the Federated States of Micronesia may obtain jurisdiction over the obligor or his property, the clerk of courts sends the complaint and a certification of the findings to the court of the state in which the obligor or his property is found.  The clerk of courts of the state receiving these documents shall notify the district attorney of their receipt.  The district attorney and the court in the state to which the copies are forwarded then have duties corresponding to those imposed upon them when acting for that state as a responding state.

      Section 16.332.  Appeal.
      If the Attorney General is of the opinion that a support order is erroneous and presents a question of law warranting an appeal in the public interest, he may:

     (1)  perfect an appeal to the appellate court if the support order was issued by the Court; or

     (2)  if the support order was issued in another state, cause the appeal to be taken in the other state.

In either case, expenses of appeal may be paid on his order from funds appropriated for the Office of the Attorney General.
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