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2A:17-56.23b. Judgment for child support lien

2A:17-56.23b. Judgment for child support lien against net proceeds of settlement; priority

1. a. A judgment for child support entered pursuant to P.L.1988, c.111 (C.2A:17-56.23a) and docketed with the Clerk of the Superior Court shall be a lien against the net proceeds of any settlement negotiated prior or subsequent to the filing of a lawsuit, civil judgment, civil arbitration award, inheritance or workers compensation award. The lien shall have priority over all other levies and garnishments against the net proceeds of any settlement negotiated prior or subsequent to the filing of a lawsuit, civil judgment, civil arbitration award, inheritance or workers compensation award unless otherwise provided by the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part. The lien shall not have priority over levies to recover unpaid income taxes owed to the State. The lien shall stay the distribution of the net proceeds to the prevailing party or beneficiary until the child support judgment is satisfied.

/As used in this act net proceeds means any amount of money, in excess of $2,000, payable to the prevailing party or beneficiary after attorney fees, witness fees, court costs, fees for health care providers, payments to the Medicaid program under section 6 of P.L.1979, c.365 (C.30:4D-7.1), reimbursement to the Division of Employment Security in the Department of Labor, the employer or employers insurance carrier for temporary disability benefits that may have been paid pending the outcome of a workers compensation claim as provided by section 1 of P.L.1950, c.174 (C.34:15-57.1), reimbursement to an employer or the employers workers compensation insurance carrier as provided in R.S.34:15-40, and other costs related to the lawsuit, inheritance or settlement are deducted from the award, proceeds or estate; prevailing party or beneficiary shall not include a partnership, corporation, limited liability partnership, financial institution, government entity or minor child; and agent means an authorized representative of the prevailing party or beneficiary, a union representative, an executor or administrator of a decedents estate, an arbitrator or any other person or entity if such person or entity is responsible for the distribution of net proceeds to a prevailing party or beneficiary.

/b./Before distributing any net proceeds of a settlement, judgment, inheritance or award to the prevailing party or beneficiary:

/(1)/the prevailing party or beneficiary shall provide the attorney, insurance company or agent responsible for the final distribution of such funds with a certification that includes the prevailing partys or beneficiarys full name, mailing address, date of birth and Social Security number; and

/(2)/the attorney representing the prevailing party or beneficiary shall initiate a search of child support judgments, through a private judgment search company that maintains information on child support judgments, to determine if the prevailing party or beneficiary is a child support judgment debtor.

/If the prevailing party or beneficiary is not represented by an attorney, the judgment search shall be initiated by the opposing attorney, insurance company or agent before the proceeds are distributed to the prevailing party or beneficiary. In the case of a workers compensation action, the Administrative Office of the Courts shall, at least once every 60 days, transmit information on child support judgment debtors to the Division of Workers Compensation in the Department of Labor. The information shall include the debtors name, Social Security number, the amount of the child support judgment, the Probation Division case number and the Probation Division office to which the judgment is payable. The Division of Workers Compensation shall match the data received on child support judgment debtors against the information it maintains for individuals who have filed workers compensation claims with the division. When a match is identified, the Division of Workers Compensation shall notify the appropriate judge of compensation of the child support judgment before the decision, award, determination, judgment or order approving the settlement is rendered. The judge of compensation shall incorporate in the decision, award, determination, judgment or order approving the settlement, an order requiring the employer or the employers insurance carrier to contact the Probation Division to satisfy the child support judgment out of the net proceeds of the workers compensation award, order or settlement before any such monies are paid to the employee. The Division of Workers Compensation shall be immune from any civil liability that may arise from any information provided by the division or any order issued by a judge of compensation relating to a child support judgment, in accordance with this section. In the case of judgments or settlements resulting from a labor arbitration involving employees of a school board or school district, a judgment search shall be initiated by the school board or district prior to the release of any net proceeds to the employees and only if there is an income withholding for child support active against the employee in the records of the school board or district. In the case of an inheritance, the executor or administrator of the decedents estate shall initiate the judgment search. The judgment search company shall provide a certification to the attorney, insurance company, agent or party initiating the lawsuit identifying whether or not the prevailing party or beneficiary is a child support judgment debtor.

/In the case of net proceeds that are to be paid through a structured settlement or other payment plan, the attorney, insurance company or agent shall be required to conduct the child support judgment search only at the time of settlement or prior to the distribution of the first payment under the plan. If a child support judgment is identified, the attorney, insurance company or agent shall provide the Probation Division with a copy of the structured settlement or payment plan within 30 days of identifying the child support judgment.

/If there are no attorneys representing either party in a civil lawsuit, the party bringing the lawsuit shall initiate the judgment search and shall be required to file the certification with the court at least 10 working days prior to the trial or with the stipulation that the certification shall be filed at the time of the settlement or dismissal of the lawsuit.

/For monies deposited with the court, no distribution of funds shall be made until the attorney, prevailing party or beneficiary provides the Clerk of the Superior Court with a copy of the certification showing that the prevailing party or beneficiary is not a child support judgment debtor.

/The fee for a judgment search which is required by this section shall not exceed $10 for each name of a child support judgment debtor that is searched. The fee for a judgment search is chargeable against the net proceeds as a cost of the settlement, judgment, inheritance or award.

/c./If the certification shows that the prevailing party or beneficiary is not a child support judgment debtor, the net proceeds may be paid to the prevailing party or beneficiary immediately. If the certification shows that the prevailing party or beneficiary is a child support judgment debtor, the attorney, insurance company or agent that initiated the search shall contact the Probation Division of the Superior Court to arrange for the satisfaction of the child support judgment. The attorney, insurance company or agent shall notify the prevailing party or beneficiary of the intent to satisfy the child support judgment prior to the disbursement of any funds to the prevailing party or beneficiary. Upon receipt of a warrant of satisfaction for the child support judgment, the attorney, insurance company or agent shall pay the balance of the settlement, judgment, award or inheritance to the prevailing party or beneficiary. If the net proceeds are less than the amount of the child support judgment, the entire amount of the net proceeds shall be paid to the Probation Division as partial satisfaction of the judgment.

/If there are no attorneys representing either party in a civil lawsuit and the certification filed with the court shows that the prevailing party or beneficiary is a child support judgment debtor, the court shall order that the opposing party pay the amount of the child support judgment to the Probation Division before any funds are paid to the prevailing party or beneficiary. The court shall also insure that any judgment related to the lawsuit docketed with the Clerk of the Superior Court reflect the Probation Divisions superior claim to such funds.

/d./An attorney, insurance company or agent shall not be liable for distributing net proceeds to the prevailing party or beneficiary based on the results of a judgment certification showing the prevailing party or beneficiary is not the debtor of a child support judgment, if it is later shown that the prevailing party or beneficiary provided inaccurate personal information on the initial certification to the attorney, the insurer or agent.

/e./An attorney, insurance company or agent who, in accordance with this act, satisfies a child support judgment from the net proceeds of a settlement, judgment, inheritance or award, shall not be liable for payments which otherwise would have been made pursuant to subsection a. of this section which were not so identified to the attorney, insurance company or agent at the time of satisfaction.

/f./An attorney, insurance company or agent who, in accordance with this act, satisfies a child support judgment from the net proceeds of a settlement, judgment, inheritance or award, shall not be liable to the prevailing party or beneficiary or to that partys creditors.

/g./An attorney shall not be required to challenge a child support judgment unless retained by the prevailing party or beneficiary to do so.

/h./A private judgment search company is prohibited from using any information provided by an attorney, insurance company or agent in accordance with this act for any purpose other than: (1) determining if the prevailing party or beneficiary is the debtor of a child support judgment; and (2) preparing a certification as required pursuant to subsection b. of this section.

/i./To the extent feasible and permitted by the Rules of Court, the Administrative Office of the Courts may share information on a child support judgment debtor with an insurance carrier for the sole purpose of complying with the provisions of P.L.2000, c.81 (C.2A:17-56.23b et al.).


Kenneth Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year
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Kenneth Vercammen is the Managing Attorney at Kenneth Vercammen & Associates in Edison, NJ. He is a New Jersey trial attorney has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has appeared in Courts throughout New Jersey each week for litigation and contested Probate hearings.

Mr. Vercammen has published over 125 legal articles in national and New Jersey publications on elder law, probate and litigation topics. He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation issues for the American Bar Association, NJ ICLE, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published in noted publications included New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer.

He is chair of the Elder Law Committee of the American Bar Association General Practice Division. He is also Editor of the ABA Estate Planning Probate Committee Newsletter and also the Criminal Law Committee newsletter. Mr. Vercammen is a recipient of the NJSBA- YLD Service to the Bar Award. And past Winner "General Practice Attorney of the Year" from the NJ State Bar Association. He is a 22 year active member of the American Bar Association. He is also a member of the ABA Real Property, Probate & Trust Section.

He established the NJlaws website which includes many articles on Elder Law. Mr. Vercammen received his B.S., cum laude, from the University of Scranton and his J.D. from Widener/Delaware Law School, where he was the Case Note Editor of the Delaware Law Forum, a member of the Law Review and the winner of the Delaware Trial Competition.

RECENT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS ON WILLS, ELDER LAW, AND PROBATE

Edison Adult School -Wills, Elder Law & Probate- 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 [inc Edison TV], 2001, 2000,1999,1998,1997
Nuts & Bolts of Elder Law - NJ Institute for Continuing Legal Education/ NJ State Bar ICLE/NJSBA 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1996
Elder Law and Estate Planning- American Bar Association Miami 2007
Elder Law Practice, New Ethical Ideas to Improve Your Practice by Giving Clients What They Want and Need American Bar Association Hawaii 2006
South Plainfield Seniors- New Probate Law 2005, East Brunswick Seniors- New Probate Law 2005
Old Bridge AARP 2002; Guardian Angeles/ Edison 2002; St. Cecilia/ Woodbridge Seniors 2002;
East Brunswick/ Halls Corner 2002;
Linden AARP 2002
Woodbridge Adult School -Wills and Estate Administration -2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996
Woodbridge Housing 2001; Metuchen Seniors & Metuchen TV 2001; Frigidare/ Local 401 Edison 2001; Chelsea/ East Brunswick 2001, Village Court/ Edison 2001; Old Bridge Rotary 2001; Sacred Heart/ South Amboy 2001; Livingston Manor/ New Brunswick 2001; Sunrise East Brunswick 2001; Strawberry Hill/ Woodbridge 2001;
Wills and Elder Law - Metuchen Adult School 1999,1997,1996,1995,1994,1993
Clara Barton Senior Citizens- Wills & Elder Law-Edison 2002, 1995
AARP Participating Attorney in Legal Plan for NJ AARP members 1999-2005

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