Legal Division: OAH
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is “OAH: Child Support”?
A: OAH: Child Support is short for the Office of Administrative Hearings: Child Support. It is the administrative court in Oklahoma that hears child support and paternity cases.
Q: What is the difference in the administrative court and the district court?
A: OAH: Child Support has limited powers and cannot hear visitation or custody issues, while district court has broad powers and, for example, can hear paternity, child support, visitation, and custody issues. Generally speaking, OAH: Child Support has the power to determine the legal father of a child, set or modify current support obligations, determine the amount of unpaid support due, and enforce support obligations/judgments through different ways (including monthly payment plans).
Q: Will a real judge hear my case?
A: Yes, issues brought before OAH: Child Support for decision are decided by the assigned administrative law judge ("ALJ"). There are six administrative law judges, all of whom are licensed Oklahoma attorneys and "real" judges. At the conclusion of your hearing, the ALJ will make a decision and an order will be entered, which will also is generally be filed and docketed with the district court. You will not be entitled to a “do over” of the administrative hearing unless the decision of the ALJ is overturned in an appeal to the district court.
Q: Do I need an attorney to represent me in the administrative court?
A: You may hire an attorney to represent you although an attorney is not required. Most of the people that appear in the administrative court represent themselves and do not hire an attorney.
But, if you hire an attorney, your attorney must appear at all negotiations and hearings. The other parties and their attorneys or other representatives cannot speak with you unless your attorney is present.
Q: How do I file something in my case?
A: You may file something in your case via fax, mail, or in person (through a drop-off box in the lobby of Sequoyah Building) at OAH: Child Support. Paperwork must include the names of the parties involved, OAH case number, family group number (FGN) and your return address. Requests that do not include return addresses will not be processed. If the document that you file asks the court to do or not do something, you will also need to sign that document. If you want file-stamped copies mailed back to you, you must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. For more details, please read OAH: Child Support's rules, found in the Oklahoma Administrative Code ("OAC"), Sections 340:2-28-1 through 340: 2-28-57. The Oklahoma Administrative Code is available online at the Oklahoma Secretary of State's official website: https://www.sos.ok.gov/
Q: How do I get a certified copy of orders in my case?
A: You may request these in writing from OAH: Child Support by mail, telephone, or fax.
Q: What kind of information should I provide for my hearing?
A: You are required to provide any documents or paperwork that were listed in the subpoena you received. These may include, but are not limited to: payment receipts or cancelled checks, child care receipts, current income information, tax returns (including W-2s), proof of medical insurance availability and costs, and any other income or payment records. You should also provide proof of your income, childcare expenses, health insurance costs, living expenses, bills and anything proving child support payments paid or received. You should have available any witnesses or documents you believe are needed to prove your case.
Q: I have a power of attorney for someone that has an administrative hearing. Will I be allowed to represent them in the hearing?
A: No. The power of attorney only allows you to view the child support file and negotiate on behalf of the person who granted the power of attorney. Only attorneys licensed in the State of Oklahoma may actually represent someone in a hearing.
Q: What does “subpoena,” “subpoena ad testificandum” and “subpoena duces tecum” mean?
A: A subpoena is a command to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony on a certain matter.
A subpoena ad testificandum is simply a technical term for an ordinary subpoena. It is a command to appear and testify.
A subpoena duces tecum is a command to an individual that has control of certain documents to produce those documents.
Q: What if I can’t appear on the date I am supposed to have an administrative hearing?
A: You may file a written request for a continuance with OAH: Child Support. If your hearing is less than one week away or in case of an emergency that prevents you from attending the hearing, you may notify the CARE unit at 1-800-522-2922 and advise them. They may be able to assist you in having the hearing set on another date. You cannot call OAH: Child Support and have someone there continue the hearing for you. You must either file a motion (and give notice to the other parties or their attorneys) or get everyone to agree to continue to a different date.
Q: Can I call and speak with the judge personally?
A: All communication with the judge must be done in the presence of all the parties (and their attorneys).
Q: How long with the hearing take?
A: You may be in court all day. Many cases are scheduled on the same day and you (and your attorney and any witnesses) should plan on being available for court all day.
Q: Who should I talk to about the case?
A: You are not required to talk about your case with anyone, but you (and your attorney) will have an opportunity to discuss a possible settlement of your case with an agreed order. If you do not agree to settle, the court will hear your case. You are not required to settle.
Q: What happens at court?
A: All hearings are done through video and/or telephone. You (and your attorney) will need to provide your contact information, such as email addresses and telephone numbers, to the Child Support Services ("CSS") caseworker prior to hearing. At the scheduled time of hearing, you, your attorney, and your witnesses should be available until the ALJ is ready to hear your case. At that time, you will receive a Microsoft Teams invitation with a link to participate by video or a phone-only option, if you do not have the ability to participate by video. "In person" hearings are not available.
Please prepare for the hearing by being in a quiet environment so the judge can hear you well. The judge will not allow you to participate while also driving a vehicle. You should also arrange a way to view the documents provided to you prior to hearing and, also, the documents/information you plan to discuss.
During the hearing, each party will have a chance to tell the judge their side of the story, including asking the judge to consider their exhibits (i.e. documents), listen to their testimony (and testimony of witnesses), and consider each side's legal arguments. The judge is required to be impartial and enter a decision based upon the evidence and the law.
Q: Why should I appear by video?
People understand visual information faster and better than relying solely on written or spoken information. Appearing by video will help everyone, including the ALJ, understand you. Everyone, especially the ALJ, wants to see your facial expressions and body language.
Q: Will I need to sign any documents?
A: Do not sign any legal document you have not read and understand. Once you have read a particular document and do understand, you may be asked for your signature.
Q: What happens if you do not show up for court?
A: If you do not show up for court, the court may enter a "default" order against you, which generally means you lose your case. Some people believe that if they do not appear for court, the court won't do anything. This belief is wrong. If you do not appear, the court may enter a default order, which could, for example, order you to pay child support or determine you to be a parent without DNA testing.
Last Updated: September 22, 2021