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§48-18-131. Access to records, confidentiality.

(a) All records in the possession of the Bureau for Child Support enforcement, including records concerning an individual case of child or spousal support, are confidential and shall not be released except as follows:

(1) Records shall be disclosed or withheld as required by federal law or regulations promulgated thereunder notwithstanding other provisions of this section.

(2) Information as to the whereabouts of a party or the child shall not be released to a person against whom a protective order has been entered with respect to that party or child or where the state has reason to believe that the release of the information to the person making the request may result in physical or emotional harm to the party or the child.

(3) The phone number, address, employer and other information regarding the location of the obligor, the obligee and the child shall only be disclosed: (A) Upon his or her written consent, to the person whom the consent designates; or (B) notwithstanding subdivision (4) of this subsection, to the obligee, the obligor, the child or the caretaker or representative of the child, upon order of a court if the court finds that the disclosure is for a bona fide purpose, is not contrary to the best interest of a child and does not compromise the safety of any party: Provided, That the identity and location of the employer may be disclosed on the letters, notices and pleadings of the bureau as necessary and convenient for the determination of support amounts and the establishment, investigation, modification, enforcement, collection and distribution of support.

(4) Information and records other than the phone number, address, employer and information regarding the location of the obligor, the obligee and the child shall be disclosed to the obligor, the obligee, the child or the caretaker of the child or his or her duly authorized representative, upon his or her written request: Provided, That when the obligor requests records other than collection and distribution records, financial records relevant to the determination of the amount of support pursuant to the guidelines, or records the obligor has supplied, the bureau shall mail a notice by first-class mail to the last known address of the obligee notifying him or her of the request. The notice shall advise the obligee of his or her right to object to the release of records on the grounds that the records are not relevant to the determination of the amount of support or the establishment, modification, enforcement, collection or distribution of support. The notice shall also advise the obligee of his or her right to disclosure of records provided in this section in order to determine what records the Bureau for Child Support enforcement may have. In the event of any objection, the bureau shall determine whether or not the information shall be released.

(5) Information in specific cases may be released as necessary to determine the identity, location, employment, income and assets of an obligor.

(6) Information and records may be disclosed to the bureau of vital statistics, Bureau of Employment Programs, the workers' compensation commission, State Tax Department and the internal revenue service, or other state or federal agencies or departments that are necessary or desirable in obtaining any address, employment, wage or benefit information for the purpose of determining the amount of support or establishing, enforcing, collecting and distributing support.

(b) Any person who willfully violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $1,000, or confined in the county or regional jail not more than six months, or both fined and confined.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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