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(1)(a) The department may issue a warrant for distraint to execute support liens established by 40-5-248 or to enforce and collect any money obligation authorized under this chapter.
(b) The warrant must be an order, under official seal of the department, directed to a sheriff of any county of the state or to any levying officer authorized by law to enforce a district court judgment. The order must command the recipient to levy upon and sell nonexempt real and personal property to satisfy the support lien upon which the warrant is based. The warrant must include notice of:
(i) the existence of exemptions from execution;
(ii) the procedure by which an exemption may be claimed; and
(iii) the right to request a hearing to determine an exemption claim.
(c) A warrant must be signed by the director of the department or the director's designee.
(d) The warrant must be for the amount of the support lien or the amount of any other money obligation determined under this chapter, including interest and fees, if any.
(e) A warrant for distraint has the same effect as a writ of execution issued by a district court to enforce money judgments.
(2)(a) A warrant for distraint may be sent by the department to the sheriff or levying officer. Upon receipt of the warrant, the sheriff or levying officer shall proceed to execute upon the warrant in the same manner as prescribed for execution upon a judgment.
(b) A warrant for distraint may also be served by acknowledgment of service, including a warrant received by electronic transmission. Upon receipt of the warrant, the served entity shall proceed to execute upon the warrant in the same manner as prescribed for execution upon a judgment and shall return the warrant, along with any funds collected, within 120 days of receipt of the warrant.
(c) A copy of the warrant must be mailed to the obligor at the obligor's last-known address at or promptly after the time of seizure.
(d) Within 10 days after the date of the mailing of the warrant to the obligor, an obligor claiming an exemption may request a hearing to determine the existence of the exemption. The department shall convene a contested case hearing to determine the claimed exemption. An order entered under this section is a final agency order, subject to judicial review under Title 2, chapter 4, part 7.
(e) A sheriff or levying officer shall return a warrant, along with any funds collected, within 120 days of the receipt of the warrant.
(f) Funds resulting from execution upon the warrant must first be applied to the sheriff's or levying officer's costs, any superior liens, the support lien, or other money obligation and to any inferior liens. Any amounts in excess of this distribution must be paid to the obligor.
(g) If the warrant is returned not fully satisfied, the department has the same remedies to collect the deficiency as are available for any civil judgment.
(3) A sheriff's or levying officer's levy against real and personal property of the obligor is not limited to property in possession of persons or other entities given notice of a support lien under 40-5-242.
(4)(a) Upon receiving payment in full of the unpaid warrant amount plus penalty and fees, if any, and accumulated interest, the department shall release the warrant.
(b) Upon receiving partial payment of the unpaid warrant amount or if the department determines that a release or partial release of the warrant will facilitate the collection of the unpaid amount, penalty, and interest, the department may release or may partially release the warrant for distraint. The department may release the warrant if it determines that the warrant is unenforceable.
(5) An obligor or other person or entity having an interest in real or personal property levied upon by a warrant for distraint at any time prior to sale of the property may pay the amount of the support lien or other money obligation and any costs incurred by the sheriff or levying officer serving the warrant. Upon payment in full, the property must be restored to the obligor or other person and all proceedings on the warrant must cease.
(6) An obligor or other person or entity having an interest in real property levied upon and sold by a sheriff or levying officer pursuant to a warrant for distraint may, within 240 days after sale of the property, redeem the property by making payment to the purchaser in the amount paid by the purchaser plus interest at the statutory interest rate payable on judgments recovered in the district court.
(7) At any time after distraint of property under a warrant for distraint, the department may release all or part of the seized property without liability if payment of the support lien or other money obligation is assured or if the action will facilitate collection of the support lien or other money obligation. The release or return does not operate to prevent future action to collect the warrant amount from the same or other property.
(8) The department may issue a warrant for distraint to collect a support lien or other money obligation under this section at any time within the statutory limitation period for enforcing and collecting delinquent child support.
(9) The use of the warrant for distraint is not exclusive, and the department may use any other remedy provided by law for the collection of child support amounts.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Montana Title 40. Family Law § 40-5-247. Warrant for distraint--effect--satisfaction of support lien--redemption - last updated April 27, 2021 | https://codes.findlaw.com/mt/title-40-family-law/mt-code-ann-sect-40-5-247.html
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