Today’s ask your government

Q. My ex recently received notice of arrears in child support that he owed more than $11,000. Our daughter is 38 years old!

My ex told the clerk he was paid up. I signed a waiver. Made me curious: Could someone still collect after all these years? I’m guessing there’s probably a statute of limitations of some kind. But obviously, the court has to “close” the case.

Kathy Tofflemire, Fargo

A. Thanks for the question, Kathy! I asked the state Department of Human Services for an answer. Here’s what James Fleming, acting director of the Child Support Enforcement Division, had to say:

“The statute of limitations for collecting child support arrears was repealed in 1999. With the collection tools now available to the child support enforcement program, it is much less common for arrears to remain uncollected when the child is 38 years old, but it still happens.

If support was not paid in the month it was owed, the parent who had primary residential responsibility for the child needed to make up the deficit for the missing money. As a result, arrears can still be collected even after the child becomes an adult.

In older cases such as this, it is possible that payments were made directly between the parents rather than through the State Disbursement Unit or clerk of court, and that no current address was on file until recently for the parent who owed child support.

It is important for parents receiving notices such as this, or who want to confirm the amount of arrears, to contact Child Support Enforcement at (800) 231-4255 or by e-mail at, so the balance is accurate.”

Do you have a question for a state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

E-mail (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman. c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck ND 58505.

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The week ahead at the Capitol

There are three legislative meetings scheduled this week at the Capitol in Bismarck.

The interim Higher Education Committee meets at 9 a.m. Monday in the Roughrider Room.

The committee will hear an overview of the centers of excellence program and the status of current projects. Legislators will also hear from the North Dakota University System regarding the final ranking of capital projects for inclusion in the State Board of Higher Education 2011-13 biennium budget request.

Officials will also discuss the role of the State Board of Higher Education and the Budget Section in approving a new capital project or approving changes to a capital project approved by the Legislature.

On Tuesday, the Government Services Committee meets at 9 a.m. in the Roughrider Room.

Legislators will hear a presentation by an Office of Management and Budget representative regarding elected officials’ salaries. They will also hear from the state Department of Human Services regarding the possibility of Medicaid paying for eligible veterans’ prescription drug costs not paid by the federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

On Wednesday, the Energy Development and Transmission Committee meets at 9 a.m. in the Roughrider Room.

Legislators will discuss a bill draft to create a biodiesel plant production incentive fund. They will also discuss a bill draft to reduce the special fuels tax on diesel fuel blended with biodiesel fuel and discuss a draft to require energy-efficient public buildings.

N.D. Citizen Corps finalist for honor

The North Dakota Citizen Corps Council is a finalist for the 2010 National Citizen Corps Achievement Awards–Celebrating Resilient Communities presented by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The council has been recognized for exemplary community preparedness efforts and was selected as a finalist in the category of Outstanding State/Territory Citizen Corps Initiatives Award.

The North Dakota Citizen Corps Council was chosen as a national 2010 finalist, in part because of its work during the 2009 spring floods and the Dickinson, N.D., tornado.

The council also helped establish the state’s first Teen Community Emergency Response Team program in Cass County and provided a leadership role in North Dakota Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and the state’s donations management activities.