2006 Louisiana Laws - RS 46:236.6 — Failure to pay support; procedure, penalties and publication

§236.6.  Failure to pay support; procedure, penalties and publication

A.  If a defendant violates the terms of a court order, issued pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 46:236.1.1 et seq., R.S. 46:236.2, Ch.C. Articles 1301 et seq., or R.S. 13:4241, requiring him to pay child support to the Department of Social Services, a representative of the child support collection agency as set forth in R.S. 46:236.1.8 may serve on the defendant a summons ordering him to appear and show cause before the proper court of competent jurisdiction why he should not be held in contempt of court.  Prior to or at the hearing, the Department of Social Services or the district attorney shall file with the court and serve in open court on the defendant a rule for contempt, setting forth the terms of the original court order for child support and all modifications thereof, along with the allegations purporting to place the defendant in contempt.  If the defendant denies the allegations or offers a defense to the rule, the court may, upon motion of either party or on its own motion, continue the hearing.  In the alternative, a representative of the child support collection agency as set forth above may serve on the defendant a rule to show cause why he should not be held in contempt for failing to abide by the previous orders of the court, with the rule setting forth the same terms as in a rule for contempt, if the representative does not serve a summons on the offender.  The rule shall contain a specific time, place, and date where the offender is to appear and show cause in answer to the rule.  Hearings tried on rules for contempt or rules to show cause shall be tried in a summary manner.

B.  If at the hearing of such rule the court finds the accused guilty of contempt for failure to comply with the previous judgment, the contempt shall be deemed constructive contempt under Article 224(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure and the defendant may be punished as follows:

(1)  For a finding of contempt of court, the court shall impose a sentence of imprisonment for not more than ninety days or a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, or both.  At the discretion of the court, the sentence may be suspended upon payment of all of the following:

(a)  The amount of the order for unpaid support.

(b)  The total amount of unpaid support accruing since the date of the order.

(c)  The amount of all attendant court costs.

(2)  Upon recommendation of the state attorney or the representative of the child support collection agency, or both, all or part of the sentence at or after imposition may be suspended upon payment of a lesser amount plus attendant court costs.  Such payment shall apply toward but not extinguish the total amount due.  If, upon any finding of contempt, the court imposes a period of incarceration without suspension and renders a money judgment against the defendant, the incarceration will not relieve the defendant from his obligation to pay the amount of arrears after release from incarceration.

(3)  In any instance where the court imposes a period of incarceration, the defendant may purge himself of contempt and be released from jail upon paying the full amount of arrearages owed.  Upon receipt of payment, the child support collection agency shall immediately notify the appropriate court that the full amount of arrearages have been paid, and the court shall direct an order to the proper authorities requiring the defendant's release forthwith.

C.  In addition to the above, the court shall render judgment in favor of the applicable payee for the amount of unpaid support plus attendant court costs.  The judgment shall have the same force and effect as a final judgment for money damages against the defendant.  This judgment shall become executory upon its rendition, subject to the delays for filing a motion for new trial or appeal, and may be registered with any Louisiana court of competent jurisdiction on petition of the Department of Social Services, the district attorney's office, or the applicable payee.

D.  The court may order the defendant to post a bond to ensure his subsequent appearance or payment of future child support.  Should he not pay the support which the court has ordered, the court may order the forfeiture of the bond and enforcement thereof by execution.  The sum recovered shall be paid in whole or in part to the applicable payee.  However, should the court order both the forfeiture of the bond and at the same time order the defendant to pay all unpaid support under the sentence for contempt, the amount of unpaid support plus attendant court costs and fines shall be the maximum payable.

E.  The provisions and remedies provided by this Section shall be construed as an addition to, and not in substitution for, any other remedy otherwise available to obtain or enforce an order for support.  Relief under this Section shall not be denied, delayed, or otherwise affected because of the availability of other remedies, nor shall relief under any other statute be delayed or denied because of the availability of the remedies provided by this Section.

F.(1)  Upon request of any representative of a newspaper and to the extent permitted by federal law, the Department of Social Services shall supply a list of names and addresses of all persons who have been found guilty of criminal neglect of family as provided in R.S. 14:74 et seq. or who have been found in contempt of court for failure to comply with a support order enforced by the Department of Social Services.  The newspaper may publish such a list or any part of this list it considers necessary.

(2)  The Department of Social Services may adopt rules governing the publication of the names of persons who are delinquent in the payment of child support obligations under orders which are enforced by the department and the publication of information which is related to those delinquent payments.  The rules shall be adopted in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act and shall establish the criteria for the selection of the individuals whose names may be published, the criteria for the determination of the types and amount of related information which may be published, and the criteria for the determination of the types of media and individual media outlets in which the names and related information may be published.  The department may publish the names and related information at the expense of the department or may release the names and related information for publication on a public service basis.

Acts 1989, No. 741, §1; Acts 1999, No. 519, §1; Acts 2003, No. 1068, §9, eff. July 2, 2003.

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