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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Probe of child support payment processes proposed in Senate

By The Star Staff

Sen. Carmelo Ríos Santiago announced Thursday the filing of a resolution to investigate the amount of inactive money in the bank accounts of the Administration for the Support of Minors (ASUME by its Spanish acronym) related to unclaimed or unpaid child support payments for the past 10 years.

The New Progressive Party senator’s statements came after ASUME reported that of the 174,761 active child support cases, some 114,940 are behind in payment, according to the agency’s systems.

The Bayamón District senator also said that creating a single system for support payment to minors using ASUME as a center is also being considered, because there are cases in which noncustodial parents obtain payments through the court system.

Another piece of legislation to be introduced would mandate ASUME to develop and implement an orientation campaign to the public on the importance of paying child support and the rights of minors to receive those payments after the age of 18, among others.

“One of the major problems with the child support payment mechanism is that there are funds associated with the payment that, for some reason, whether due to a change in bank information or migration to the States, have not been disbursed or claimed for years,” Ríos said in a written statement. “To this end, we will be filing a resolution of investigation aimed at verifying this information and quantifying how much money we are talking about. Meanwhile, the resolution will also study mechanisms to address the problem and how and to whom to make the disbursements.”

The senator said it is important to determine the processes used to disburse the money deposited when the custodial parent changes bank accounts without notifying the payor, or when the custodial parent does not withdraw the funds for an extended period over a year.

“Another problem that exists is the duplication of actions,” Ríos said. “For example, payment agreements are reached in the courts, and the process of notifying ASUME sometimes becomes bureaucratic. The same thing happens the other way around. Another area that needs to be addressed is the appropriations made in the courts and how and when ASUME credits these payments to the accounts. We want to evaluate all of that.”

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