Child Support Services Policy

Published Date: April 30, 2009
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03 Case Management

Respondent Assessment

Interview

Family Law Act Section 8 and Section 15
Alberta Child Support Guidelines and Tables

INTENT

To complete a respondent assessment by collecting all required information necessary to make case management decisions about child support action.

POLICY

Child Support Worker (CSW) Responsibilities

The purpose of the assessment interview is to obtain information and discuss child support and the finding of parentage. All child support orders and agreements have a finding of parentage whereby the respondent must acknowledge they are a parent. While proceeding to court is at times required, it is expected that the CSW attempt to resolve these issues in the least intrusive manner possible, through negotiation in the office setting.

The CSW completes the assessment interview within 20 working days of locating the respondent.

Where the respondent acknowledges being a parent or parentage is presumed and no other possible parent was named by the applicant, the CSW reviews the respondent’s financial situation to determine child support according to the Alberta Child Support Guidelines and Tables.

During the assessment interview, the CSW:

  • Obtains a copy of a signed, picture ID of the respondent for file information when required to confirm identity.
     
  • Provides sufficient information to assist the respondent to determine responsibility.
     
  • Assesses whether current payment arrangements (unenforceable agreement or legally enforceable agreements/orders) are consistent with the Alberta Child Support Guidelines and Tables, and if payments have been regular and are current, or
     
  • Negotiates a CSS 0045 Support Agreement according to the Alberta Child Support Guidelines and Tables 

Failure to Attend Assessment Interview

When the respondent does not respond to contact by the CSW or does not attend the assessment interview, the CSW may initiate court action if sufficient information exists to establish parentage.

Parentage Considerations

The Family Law Act (FLA) identifies presumptions of parentage for all purposes of the law in Alberta. [FLA Section 8(1)] The FLA also states that a party to an action under Part 3 can apply to the court for an order for DNA testing. [FLA Section 15]

Parentage Acknowledged

The CSW assesses the responsible person’s ability to pay support.

In situations where the respondent is unable to pay child support, the CSW ensures a CSS 0437 Statement of Parentage is signed when the respondent is 18 years or older.

Parentage Not Acknowledged

Parentage Assessment

When the respondent does not acknowledge parentage the CSW tells the respondent they have been named as the responsible person.

Respondent Denies Parentage

A respondent may deny parentage because they are unsure whether they are the responsible person or because they believe they are not the responsible person.

If the respondent requests DNA testing when the presumptions of parentage from a legal marriage apply, the CSW commences court action and the respondent can make his request to the court.

For all other cases, the CSW discusses DNA testing when the respondent is unsure they are the parent and completes the CSS 3778B DNA Undertaking – Office if the respondent agrees to DNA testing without court action.

When the respondent denies parentage and refuses DNA testing, but sufficient evidence exists to prove he is the father of the child, the CSW proceeds with court action.