Po v. Child Support Enforcement Agency, 012221 HIICA, CAAP-18-0000352

Docket NºCAAP-18-0000352, CAAP-18-0000353
Party NamePO, Petitioner-Appellant-Appellant, v. CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, STATE OF HAWAI'I, Appellee-Appellee, and JK, Respondent-Appellee-Appellee and PO, Petitioner-Appellant-Appellant, v. CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, STATE OF HAWAI'I, Appellee-Appellee, and JK, Respondent-Appellee-Appellee
AttorneySelf-represented Plaintiff- Appellant-Appellant. Tracie M. Kobayashi, Deputy Attorney General, for Appellee-Appellee Child Support Enforcement Agency, State of Hawaii.
Judge PanelLeonard, Presiding Judge, Hiraoka and Nakasone, JJ.
Case DateJanuary 22, 2021

PO, Petitioner-Appellant-Appellant,

v.

CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, STATE OF HAWAI'I, Appellee-Appellee,

and

JK, Respondent-Appellee-Appellee

and

PO, Petitioner-Appellant-Appellant,

v.

CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, STATE OF HAWAI'I, Appellee-Appellee,

and

JK, Respondent-Appellee-Appellee

Nos. CAAP-18-0000352, CAAP-18-0000353

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawaii

January 22, 2021

NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN WEST'S HAWAII REPORTS AND PACIFIC REPORTER

APPEAL FROM THE FAMILY COURT OF THE THIRD CIRCUIT (FC-AP NO. 17-1-0001) and (FC-AP NO. 17-1-0002)

On the briefs:

Self-represented Plaintiff- Appellant-Appellant.

Tracie M. Kobayashi, Deputy Attorney General, for Appellee-Appellee Child Support Enforcement Agency, State of Hawaii.

Leonard, Presiding Judge, Hiraoka and Nakasone, JJ.

SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER

In CAAP-18-0000352 self-represented Petitioner-Appellant PO (Father) appeals from the "Order Affirming the Administrative Findings and Order Filed on December 9, 2016" entered by the Family Court of the Third Circuit1 on March 23, 2018, in FC-AP No. 17-1-0001 (Appeal No. 1). In CAAP-18-0000353 Father appeals from the "Order Affirming the Administrative Findings and Order Filed on December 9, 2016" entered by the Family Court of the Third Circuit on March 23, 2018, in FC-AP No. 17-1-0002 (Appeal No. 2). We consolidated the appeals on March 21, 2019. For the reasons explained below, we affirm both orders.

BACKGROUND

Child was born in 1992. Appellee JK (Mother) is Child's natural mother. Child's birth certificate identified someone other than Father as Child's father. Father believed that he was Child's natural father, and sought to correct Child's birth certificate. He went to the State of Hawai'i Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) for assistance.

On July 28, 1994, Father submitted a CSEA Application Form. He identified himself as the "Absent Parent" and Mother as the "Custodial Parent[.]" The form stated: I understand that I, the applicant, if eligible, will be a recipient of services of the [CSEA], and that the deputies Attorney General and deputies Corporation Counsel who may be involved in my case represent the [CSEA], not me, in any child support matter.

I understand that the [CSEA] may pursue . . . current child support, arrears, and modification of existing child support orders either administratively or through judicial process. I agree that the decision of how to proceed in my case is the [CSEA's], not mine.

In signing this application for Child Support Enforcement Services, I declare under penalty of perjury that -i-have physical


custody of the
following
child (ren)
for whom services are sought: [blank]

(lined out text in original.) Father signed the application form.2

Mother denied that Father was Child's father. Father requested genetic testing for himself and for the person who Mother claimed was Child's father. On December 28, 1994, in State, Child Support Enf't Agency v. JK, FC-P No. 94-222 (Paternity Action), the family court entered an order for genetic testing. The order stated: 5. That as Defendant [Father] has requested genetic testing, but is unable to pay for the entire cost at this time, the [CSEA], shall advance the entire cost of the genetic testing fees, to wit: $400.00. Said amount of $400.00 shall be subject to reimbursement by Defendant [Father] at the rate of $25.00 monthly installments with the first installment due on December 7, 1994. Defendant [Father] shall make said monthly payments of $25.00 in the form of a cashier's check, certified check or money order made payable and sent to the [CSEA.]

On January 31, 1996, the family court entered "Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Judgment" (Judgment of Paternity) in the Paternity Action. The family court concluded, based on genetic testing, that Father was Child's biological father. The Judgment of Paternity ordered: 3. That Defendant, [Father], who has a duty to support [Child], shall pay child support in the amount of $130.00 per month, by an Order for Income Assignment upon Defendant, [Father], obtaining employment, with the first payment commencing June 1995 and continuing until [Child] reaches eighteen (18) years of age, and so long thereafter, including summer months, as [Child] is pursuing a high school diploma or so long as [Child] continues [their] post-high school education on a full-time basis at an accredited college or university, or in a vocational or trade school, or until [Child] attains the age of 23 years whichever occurs first, unless [Child] thereto shall die, be adopted, become emancipated or self-supporting, or until further order of the Court;

4. That all payments shall be made by cashier's check, certified check or money order made payable and sent to the [CSEA.]

According to Father, Mother and he agreed that Mother would not require Father to support Child, but Father was not to be involved in Child's life in any way. Nevertheless, Father did not appeal any of the provisions of the Judgment of Paternity.

On December 9, 2016, CSEA filed findings and orders in two administrative proceedings based upon the order for genetic testing and the Judgment of Paternity. The order in FC-P No. 94-0222 stated, in relevant part:

GENETIC FEE TESTING FEES DEBT OWING TO STATE OF HAWAII:

$400.00 for the period December 7, 1994 through October 31, 2016 is owing to the State of Hawaii and JUDGMENT THEREFOR IS HEREBY ENTERED. Responsible Parent [Father] shall pay $25.00 per month until said debt is fully satisfied.

CHILD SUPPORT ARREARAGE OWING TO [JK]:

$2, 870.00 for the period January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009. In addition, a remaining balance of $0.00 is owing for the previously established arrearage.

Total arrearage is $2, 870. 00 and JUDGMENT THEREFOR IS HEREBY ENTERED. This amount includes all monies received by CSEA as of October 31, 2016. Responsible Parent [Father] shall pay $50.00 per month until said arrearage is fully satisfied.

PAYMENT AMOUNT: Payment for the obligation(s) addressed in this order shall be $75.00, per month commencing November 1, 2016.

The order in FC-APB No. 10-1-0016 stated, in relevant part:

CHILD SUPPORT ARREARAGE OWING TO [JK]:

$700.00 for the period January 1, 2010 through August 31, 2010. In addition, a remaining balance of $19, 630.00 is owing for the previously established arrearage.

Total arrearage is $20, 330.00 and JUDGMENT THEREFOR IS HEREBY ENTERED. This amount includes all monies received by CSEA as of October 31, 2016[]. Responsible Parent [Father] shall pay $125.00 per month until said arrearage is fully satisfied.

PAYMENT AMOUNT: Payment for the obligation(s) addressed in this order shall be $125.00, per month commencing November 1, 2016.

Father appealed to the family court from each of the administrative orders, creating Appeal No. 1 and Appeal No. 2. The family court heard consolidated arguments on February 23, 2018. On March 23, 2018, the family court entered orders affirming the administrative findings and orders in each of the appeals. These secondary appeals followed.

DISCUSSION

Father contends that the family court: (1) erred by holding CSEA had authority to enforce the child support orders without a request from Mother; (2) violated Rule 72(k) of the Hawai'i Family Court Rules (HFCR); and (3) erred by affirming the order requiring that Father pay for the genetic testing he requested, contrary to 45 C.F.R. § 303.5(e)(3)[3].

Our review of a family court decision on an appeal from an administrative agency determination is a secondary appeal; we must determine whether the family court was right or wrong in its decision, applying the standards set forth in Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) § 91-14(g) (Supp. 2017) to the agency's decision. Flores v. Bd. of Land & Nat. Res., 143...

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