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Frequently Asked Questions

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General information

Program Information

General information
What is Child Support?

Child support is a payment made by a noncustodial parent for the care of his or her child.

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Who is the Noncustodial Parent?

The Kentucky Child Support Program refers to a parent who does not have physical custody of a child(ren) as the noncustodial parent (NCP). A noncustodial parent is ordered to provide child and/or medical support for the children.

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Who is the Custodial Parent?

The Kentucky Child Support Program refers to the person who has physical custody of the child as the custodial parent (CP). Although this is typically a parent, a custodial parent could also be a relative or other caretaker of the child(ren). A custodial parent is the one that receives the child and/or medical support for the child(ren).

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What if my address changes?

At the time the address of the custodial or noncustodial parent changes, Child Support Enforcement must be notified. You may contact your local child support office (Locate Office) or update your address through “My Account”. A custodial parent can also report address changes for the noncustodial parent in his or her case. Failure to promptly notify the Child Support Enforcement office could result in payments being sent to an incorrect address, closure of the child support case or the parties not receiving notice of actions being taken on the case.

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What is the difference in a IV-D case and a Non-IV-D case?

IV-D Case: This type of case requires an application for services. Child Support Enforcement provides services to locate the noncustodial parent, establish paternity, establish child and medical support, modify obligations, and enforce and collect the child support obligation. Full cooperation from the applicant is required to receive these services.

Non-IV-D Case: In this type of case, Child Support Enforcement does not have a role in establishing or enforcing child support. This type of case may also include previous IV-D cases closed by the custodial parent. Child support payments on Non-IV-D cases are processed and then distributed based on the court information on record. It is the responsibility of the custodial parent, noncustodial parent, or private attorney handling the case to provide file-marked copies of orders to establish a case or update the court information on record to the NIVD office (Private Wage Withholding).

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Can the Child Support Enforcement Office assist me with visitation and custody issues?

No. Federal regulations do not allow the Child Support Enforcement Office to provide services for visitation or custody disputes. Child support and visitation rights are separate issues and may be addressed by contacting a private attorney.

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How do I close my child support case?

If the custodial parent is not receiving public assistance for the child, he/she may stop IV-D child support services at any time by sending a written request to the local child support office requesting a discontinuance of services. If there is an income withholding in effect, Non-IV-D payments will continue to be directed through the Centralized Collection Unit as required by State and Federal laws.

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Apply for child support services
What services are provided by the Agency?

The Child Support Enforcement Agency provides the following services:

  • Location of noncustodial parents
  • Location of the custodial parent for establishment of paternity in a putative father case
  • Establishment of paternity, including genetic testing
  • Establishment of child and/or medical support orders
  • Enforcement of child and/or medical support orders
  • Collection and enforcement of current and past-due child support obligations
  • Enforcement of medical support, specifically ensuring health insurance coverage is obtained when ordered
  • Collection and enforcement of medical expenses when there is a Judgment for the actual amount of expenses owed
  • Collection and enforcement of current and/or past-due spousal support when a spousal support order exists, child is living with the spouse/ex-spouse, and Child Support Enforcement is collecting support for the child
  • Review for possible modification of child/medical support obligations

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Who can apply for child support services?

Anyone who has physical custody of a child and needs help establishing the identity of the father of the child, establishing a child support order or collection of current or past-due child support is eligible to receive child support services. This includes a parent who is separated from his or her spouse even if no divorce action has been filed. A man who believes he is the biological father of a child born out of wedlock may also apply for services.

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Can I apply for child support services before the birth of my child?

No. Child support services cannot be requested until after the birth of the child.

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Can I apply for child support services if the father of my child lives in another state or country?

Yes. Your local child support office can work with the other state/country to establish paternity or a child support order. Child Support Enforcement might have to request the assistance of the other state’s or country’s Child Support Enforcement Agency when performing whatever case action is needed and this could delay the processing of your case. While child support agencies in other states/countries cooperate with each other when handling such requests, establishing or enforcing a court order in another state/country is not a simple matter and not all countries participate in these types of cases.

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Can I apply for child support services if I am not sure which man is my child’s father?

Yes. After receiving the application for services, the local child support office will determine the best course of action based on the circumstances of the case.

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How do I apply for child support services?

An application for child support services is required. The application can be obtained from your local child support office, by applying and submitting through the KCSI website (CSWS home page), or you can complete the application on the internet. Once the application obtained from the local child support office or from the internet has been completed, it then has to be either hand-delivered or mailed to your local child support office.

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Is there a fee to receive child support services?

An annual fee of $35.00 is charged on all child support cases in which the custodial parent has never received cash assistance (KTAP/AFDC/KINSHIP CARE). The fee is only assessed when the total payment amount sent to the custodial parent during the federal fiscal year (October 1 – September 30) reaches $550.00. Once this requirement is met, Child Support Enforcement will deduct the $35.00 fee from the next child support payment received after the first $550.00 has been sent to the custodial parent. In those cases where custody of the child(ren) has changed and there is past-due support owed to the inactive custodial parent and current support owed to the current custodial parent, the fee of $35.00 will be taken after the active custodial parent receives $550.00, regardless of how the money disburses on the case.

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How long does it take to get child support after I apply?

The length of time depends upon the unique circumstances of each case. Some cases are more complicated and require more time. Providing additional information when requested helps the child support agency in obtaining a child support order in a timely manner. Factors contributing to the complexity of the case can include difficulty in locating the noncustodial parent; paternity establishment; multiple potential fathers; or noncustodial parents living in another state/country.

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Does the child support attorney handling my case represent me?

The Child Support Enforcement attorney assigned to the case represents the state’s interest in seeing that the children are financially cared for, but not the interest of the custodial or noncustodial parent.

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Establishing Paternity
What is paternity?

Paternity is the legal establishment of a child’s biological father.

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How is paternity established?

Paternity can be established by Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity or through court. A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form can be completed by hospital staff at the time of the child’s birth or at a later date through the health department or local child support office. This form should only be completed if genetic testing is not needed. Once completed, this form is sent to the Office of Vital Statistics and recorded. The court can establish paternity for a child in several ways. If paternity is not contested, an agreed order can be signed by the alleged father and entered by the court. On the other hand, if paternity of the child is disputed and genetic testing is requested, the court will order genetic testing. If the genetic testing results prove the alleged father is the biological father of the child, the court will enter an order of paternity. The court may also enter a default judgment of paternity declaring paternity of a child when the alleged father is served with the paternity action and fails to respond within 20 calendar days.

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How is genetic testing performed?

Genetic tests require a DNA sample from the mother, alleged father and from the child. The sample is taken by rubbing a buccal swab (like a sponge swab) on the inside of the mouth. The DNA samples are sent to a lab for analysis and the results are usually back within a month but sometimes may take longer.

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How much does a genetic test cost?

Prior to July 14, 2018, CSE paid the cost of genetic testing and recouped the cost of the testing from the alleged father when paternity was established. After July 14, 2018, CSE pays the cost of genetic testing and does not pursue recoupment from the alleged father when paternity is established.

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Establishing and Modifying Child Support
When child support is established or changed, how is the amount determined?

All Kentucky orders are calculated using the Kentucky Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines are based on the principle that both parents are financially responsible for the support of their child(ren) (Child Support Estimation Calculator).

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How do I request an increase or a decrease in the child support amount?

A written request for a review must be submitted to the local child support office handling your case, along with income information such as W2s, tax returns, and pay stubs. Proof of day care expenses and health insurance costs should also be provided with the review request whenever possible. There must be a substantial and continuing change that results in the support obligation going up or down by 15% or more before the local office will file a legal action to change the amount. If a participant on a case requests an increase in child support and it is found that the new child support amount actually qualifies for a decrease, the child support office may then proceed with action to decrease the child support. The same applies when a participant requests a decrease and the case actually qualifies for an increase.

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Will my child support stop when my child turns 18?

For Kentucky child support orders, the child support order ends when the child turns 18, unless he or she is still enrolled in high school, in which case child support would continue through the school year in which the child turns 19. Under certain circumstances, child support may continue past the child turning 18 (or 19 if still in high school) if ordered by the court. If the support order is for more than one child, the support obligation will not automatically end when one of the children reaches 18 (or 19 if still in high school) unless that child is the youngest child or the child support order listed a separate amount of child support for each child. If neither of these conditions exists, a request for a review of the child support obligation must be submitted before any change in the obligation amount can be made.

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If I go to jail or prison, will my child support obligation stop?

No. The child support obligation does not end when a parent becomes incarcerated. When released from incarceration, the parent will need to contact the local child support office handling the case to provide an updated address, employment information and make payment arrangements.

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Medical Support
Must the child(ren) be covered by health insurance?

Yes. Health insurance must be included in any child support order. Even if it isn’t available immediately, the court will order the insurance to be provided when it does become available. This applies to all cases.

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Which parent is responsible for health care coverage?

The court can order either parent, or both, to provide health care coverage. If health care coverage is not accessible and reasonable in cost, the order shall provide for cash medical support by ordering payment of extraordinary medical expenses (expenses not covered by insurance).

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What is reasonable cost?

Reasonable cost means the cost of providing health care coverage for the child(ren) does not exceed 5% of the responsible parent’s gross income.

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Payment Information
Where do I send my child support payments?

Child support payments can be paid on the KCSI website, by phone with a debit or credit card (by calling your caseworker), or by mail. All payments mailed must clearly list the name and social security number or IV-D number of the noncustodial parent. The check or money order must be made payable to Kentucky Child Support Enforcement and mailed to Centralized Collection Unit P.O. Box 14059 Lexington, KY 40512

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Can I pay on more than one case with the same check or money order?

Yes. The check or money order can include payments for more than one child support case; however, there must be clear instructions written on or attached to the check or money order that includes the IV-D case number for all cases and the amount that is to be applied to each case. If this information is not provided, the payments will be percentage-allocated among all of the noncustodial parent’s child support cases.

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How may I receive my child support payments?

Custodial parents can choose to receive their payments by electronic deposit to a checking or savings account or prepaid (reloadable) debit card obtained by the custodial parent.

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How can I have my child support payments deposited directly into my bank account?

An Authorization for Electronic Deposit of Child Support Payments (CSWS home page) must be completed and returned to the address or fax number listed on the form, or the form can be completed on the KCSI website and submitted electronically.

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How can I change my electronic deposit information?

To change your bank account information, complete the Authorization for Electronic Deposit of Child Support Payments (CSWS home page) and return to the address or fax number listed on the form or submit it electronically through the KCSI website.

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How can I find out when a payment has been received?

By phone: Custodial and noncustodial parents can call the IVR at (800) 443-1576 to find out payment and account balance information. Access is available most anytime day or night. A PIN number is required to access the IVR and may be obtained by calling the local child support office handling your case. We must have a current mailing address as a letter will be sent to you with the information.

Online: Custodial and noncustodial parents can manage their child support case online to find out payment and account balance information, provide address and employment updates, learn of upcoming appointments or court dates, update direct deposit information and more. Register here! Already registered? Go to My Account.

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How long does it take to receive my child support payments once they are paid?

Payments are processed and disbursed within two business days of receipt. The custodial parent will receive his/her payment within three business days from the date Child Support Enforcement disburses the payment.

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What should I do if I have not received a check?

If the check is not received within 10 business days of the date the payment was disbursed to you, call your local child support office. The payment will be researched and if the check has not been returned or cashed, a stop payment is placed on the original check and a new check is reissued. If the check has been cashed, further research must be done. It could take 2 to 3 weeks to determine the status of the original check before a new check can be reissued.

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After I make a payment, how soon will the custodial parent receive the payment?

If the custodial parent in a non-public assistance (NPA) is receiving child support payments to a checking or savings account or a prepaid debit card it can take up to three business days from the date the payment is disbursed for the custodial parent to receive the payment. If the payment is made online, the timeframe increases to 5 - 10 days. If the custodial parent is receiving public assistance, the payment generally is kept to reimburse the state for the public assistance paid.

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Income Withholding
What is an income withholding?

Income withholding is the deduction of the current and past-due support, child support, child care support, medical support or spousal support obligation from a noncustodial parent’s wages or other sources of income.

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What kinds of income can be withheld?

The law permits the withholding of most kinds of income. Examples include:

  • Salaries/wages
  • Unemployment Compensation
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Social Security retirement or disability benefits
  • Veteran’s retirement benefits
  • Job retirement benefits

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What sources of income are exempt from income withholding?

  • Public Assistance (TANF, KTAP, AFDC, KINSHIP CARE)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Black Lung Benefits
  • Federal grants and fellowships
  • Veteran’s Disability Benefits

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Is it possible to collect child support from sources other than wages?

Yes. Child support can be collected from other types of assets. Examples include:

  • Tax refunds
  • Insurance settlements
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Property
  • Lottery winnings
  • Bank accounts
Custodial parents should inform their caseworker of any assets that the noncustodial parent has.

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What is the maximum amount that can be withheld each pay period from my income?

The percentage of disposable income (after taxes) that can be withheld cannot exceed:

  • 50% of a person’s disposable earnings if the person is supporting a second family (a spouse and/or dependent child)
  • 55% of a person’s disposable earnings if the person is supporting a second family and owes an arrearage that is 12 weeks or more past-due
  • 60% of a person’s disposable earnings if the person is not supporting a second family
  • 65% of a person’s disposable earnings if the person is not supporting a second family and owes an arrearage that is 12 weeks or more past due

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How long does it take for the income withholding to start?

The employer has 14 days from the date the income withholding order is received to begin withholding. The employer must send the payment to Child Support Enforcement within 7 days of withholding it from the employee’s pay. The employer is not required to change their pay cycle to accommodate the income withholding frequency. For example, if the order requires support to be paid at the rate of $50 per week and the employee is paid bi-weekly, the employer may send in bi-weekly payments of $100 each.

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I am the noncustodial parent and I have changed jobs, how can I report this?

New employment information must be reported. This can be done by contacting the local child support office or updating the information on the KCSI website. Once the information is received, an income withholding order will be sent to the new employer. The noncustodial parent is responsible for making child support payments until the income withholding begins.

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My caseworker tells me that I have to know where the noncustodial parent is working in order for income withholding to be started. Shouldn’t Child Support Enforcement be able to find that information?

Employers are legally required to report when they hire a new employee; however, they do not always comply in a timely manner. When an employer does report this information, it is sent to the child support agency and forwarded to the caseworker. This process can take months. When a custodial parent is able to provide employment information, it helps expedite the wage withholding so payments can begin sooner. Also, the noncustodial parent is sometimes self-employed or on contract and for these types of situations, an income withholding would not apply.

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My employer sent payments to Child Support Enforcement but they have not been posted to my account. What do I need to do?

This needs to be reported as soon as possible to identify the problem. The employer can contact the local child support office or the local child support office can contact the employer. The child support office will need to know if the payment was sent by EFT or paper check and the check date, check number and amount sent. Once the caseworker receives this information, they can research the payment.

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Enforcing Child Support
What can the Child Support Enforcement Office do when the noncustodial parent does not pay his/her child support?

There are many enforcement remedies that can be used to enforce and collect a child support obligation. The type of action chosen depends on the circumstances of the case. Some of the remedies that Child Support Enforcement can use to enforce a child support order are:

  • Court action resulting in jail time
  • Interception of tax refund
  • Passport denial
  • Liens
  • Driver’s, professional/occupational or wildlife (hunting/fishing) license revocation/denial
  • Levying financial institution (bank) accounts
  • Withholding of unemployment benefits

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How far does the noncustodial parent have to fall behind before the Child Support Office takes enforcement action?

The noncustodial parent must be behind by the amount equal to one month’s obligation.

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Why are you taking my child support from my unemployment benefits when I have been making my child support payments?

When Child Support Enforcement is notified that a noncustodial parent is receiving unemployment benefits, action is immediately taken to notify the unemployment agency to withhold child support.

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How much of my unemployment check can you take?

Child Support Enforcement can withhold up to 50% of the unemployment check amount or the child support obligation, whichever is less.

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My passport has been denied. What can I do?

If a noncustodial parent owes past-due child support in an amount exceeding $2500, Child Support Enforcement reports this information to the U.S State Department. Once this information is received, the U.S. State Department will refuse to issue a passport. The passport can only be released under the following conditions:

  • The noncustodial parent pays the past-due amount in full
  • The noncustodial parent provides documentation on company letterhead verifying that travel is necessary for employment purposes and alternate acceptable payment arrangements have been made
  • The noncustodial parent provides proof that travel is necessary due to extenuating circumstances, such as a death in the family or medical emergency
Once the passport denial agency has been notified, it can take 7-10 business days for the passport to be released.

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My license has been suspended. What can I do?

Child Support Enforcement may deny, suspend or revoke a license or certificate if the noncustodial parent owes past-due support that equals or exceeds the amount owed for 6 months of nonpayment, or if the noncustodial parent fails to cooperate with a subpoena or warrant relating to a paternity or child support case. A noncustodial parent may have his/her license reinstated by meeting one of the following requirements:

  • Paying the past-due child support amount in full
  • Making a payment and entering into a payment agreement
  • Cooperating with a subpoena or warrant

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How can I remove a lien that has been placed on my property?

A lien will only be released when the noncustodial parent pays the child support arrearage in full plus any interest and penalties that may be owed.

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Why has my bank account been frozen?

When a noncustodial parent owes past-due support, Child Support Enforcement has the authority to issue a notice to withhold and deliver funds in a bank account.

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What can be done when the noncustodial parent's payments are due on the first of the month, but they are always late?

The current month’s payment is not considered delinquent until 30 days have passed and the amount that is owed equals or exceeds one month’s obligation. Once the payments are past-due 30 days, enforcement action can then be taken.

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How can Child Support Enforcement collect child support if the noncustodial parent is paid in cash?

Income withholding might not be effective if the noncustodial parent is paid in cash. If payments are not made, other enforcement remedies can be taken.

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Tax Refund Interception Program
What is tax intercept?

Child Support Enforcement can intercept the federal and/or state tax refund of a noncustodial parent who owes past-due child support. For federal tax intercept, the noncustodial parent must owe at least $500 in past-due support for his/her cases in which the custodial parent is not receiving Public Assistance or at least $150 for his/her cases in which the custodial parent is receiving Public Assistance. For state tax intercept, the noncustodial parent must owe at least $150 in past due support in his/her cases whether or not the custodial parent is receiving Public Assistance. Intercepted federal tax refunds are used to pay the child support debt owed to the state first. Custodial parents cannot receive tax intercept payments unless the noncustodial parent has filed taxes and is eligible for a tax refund. Noncustodial parents might not be eligible for a tax refund if they owe past-due taxes or did not pay enough taxes during their employment to qualify for a refund. Any funds that remain after the noncustodial parent’s past-due child support is paid off are returned to the noncustodial parent.

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Why are intercepted federal tax refunds held for 6 months?

When the noncustodial parent files a joint tax return, some of that tax refund could be owed to his/her present spouse. Child Support Enforcement is required to place a 6-month hold on these types of refunds in order to allow the spouse to file a claim for his/her share of the refund.

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Can the tax refund holding be released early?

No. Joint returns are held for 6 months and single returns are held for 30 days.

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