Tlingit and Haida Tribe and Alaska Child Support Services Division Agree to Release Garnished PFD Funds
February 29, 2012
“These funds will help ensure that tribal children receive the financial support they deserve from both parents,” said Eddie Brakes, Tribal Child Support Unit (TCSU) Manager.
The Tribe filed a lawsuit in January 2010 in Juneau Superior Court against the State of Alaska CSSD because the State was not recognizing and enforcing orders from the Tribal Court. While the case has been pending, the Tribe has submitted two years worth of Permanent Fund Dividend garnishment requests to CSSD. These garnished funds have been held in the Juneau court registry.
In October 2011, Juneau Superior Court Judge Pallenberg ruled in favor of the Tribe and agreed that the Tribe has jurisdiction over child support when the case involves a child that is enrolled or is eligible for enrollment with the Tribe. In the 2011 court order, Judge Pallenberg requested additional briefing on how to word the final judgment and injunction against the State. Briefs have been submitted to the Juneau Superior Court and it will issue a final order in the case in the near future.
The Clerk of the Court has released the garnished funds to the Tribe’s attorney, Holly Handler of Alaska Legal Services Corporation, and the check was presented to Central Council President Edward K. Thomas. The funds will be distributed according to IV-D regulations, and will be disbursed to either the custodial parent or to the Tribe. Central Council had asked the State to release these funds before the final orders are entered because some families have been waiting since October 2010 for the money owed to them.
“I am pleased with this agreement,” President Thomas said. “It is critical that Central Council and the State work together to the best interest of our children.”
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