March 23, 2015
Honorable Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chief Justice
North Dakota Supreme Court
600 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58505-0530
Re: Proposed New N.D.R.Ct. 8.14, Termination of Child Support Order
Dear Chief Justice:
On July 31, 2014, the Supreme Court referred proposed amendments to Trial Court Administrative Policy 505 to the Joint Procedure Committee for comments and recommendations. Under the proposed amendments, a new Section 9 on child support would have been added to the policy. The amendments were drafted by James Fleming, the director of child support enforcement for the Department of Human Services. A copy of Mr. Fleming’s proposal is attached for your reference.
The proposed amendments were designed to eliminate the problem of competing child support orders by allowing automatic termination of an order if the obligor under the order was awarded primary residential responsibility in a new order. The committee discussed the proposal briefly at its September 2014 meeting and agreed that the concept behind it seemed useful. The committee discussed the proposal again at its January 2015 meeting and decided that it would be better to put the proposed language in a new, publically accessible, court rule instead of in an internal court policy. A copy of the proposed new rule is attached.
The proposed new rule follows Mr. Fleming’s proposal with some minor modifications. It would terminate an order establishing a monthly support obligation if the obligor under the order is awarded primary residential responsibility in a domestic case or custody in a case under the Uniform Juvenile Court Act. One of the main reasons the committee considered it important to have Mr. Fleming’s proposed language in a public court rule is because the proposal would cause the automatic termination of a duly entered court order.
The rule is intended to apply only to North Dakota court orders. The committee added language clarifying that, if the previous order is in a separate court file, the party who obtains primary residential responsibility or custody is responsible for filing a copy of the new order in the separate case file with the old order. The committee discussed how this filing would be done and concluded it could be done electronically through the Odyssey system either by a party’s attorney or by a self-represented party working with the court and the clerk.
Thank you for referring this matter to the committee.
Dale V. Sandstrom
Chair, Joint Procedure Committee