Skip to main content

Legal Division: OAH

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is “OAH”?

A: OAH is short for the Office of Administrative Hearings: Child Support. It is the administrative court in Oklahoma that hears child support cases. It is different from most other courts in that the judges of OAH conduct their hearings via telephone.

Q: What is the difference in the administrative court and the district court?

A: The administrative court has limited powers and cannot hear visitation or custody issues. The administrative judges cannot put people in jail but can revoke licenses.

Q: Will a real judge hear my case?

A: Yes, the administrative law judges of the Office of Administrative Hearings: Child Support are real judges although they do not wear robes. At the conclusion of your hearing, an order is generally 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 administrative judge 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 State and its representatives nor the judge can 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 at the Office of Administrative Hearings: 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 you want file-stamped copies mailed back to you, you must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Q: How do I get a certified copy of orders in my case?

A: You may request these in writing from the Office of Administrative Hearings: Child Support by mail or fax. You may also come to the Office of Administrative Hearings: Child Support in person and request copies.

Q: What kind of things should I bring to my hearing??

A: You are required to bring 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.  

Q: What should I wear to court?

A: You should wear clean, neat clothing. Baggy pants, shorts, tank tops and tops that show your midriff should not be worn. Any gang-related clothing is prohibited. Hats, caps or other headgear may be worn to the hearing but removed in the hearing room.

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 happens if I fail to come to a hearing or do not bring my information with me to the hearing?

A: You may request these in writing from the Office of Administrative Hearings: Child Support by mail or fax. You may also come to the Office of Administrative Hearings: Child Support in person and request copies.

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 the Office of Administrative Hearings: Child Support unless the hearing is within one week. 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 and advise them. They may be able to assist you in having the hearing set on another date. 

Q: Can I appear at the administrative hearing by telephone?

A: Many times, you may appear by phone so long as it is not a cell phone.  Each child support office and/or administrative law judge has their own rules regarding attending hearings in person.

You may file a written request for a phone hearing if the hearing is more than one week from the date your request is received. If it is less than one week, you must contact the child support office and request that your hearing be conducted via telephone. Only administrative hearings may be conducted by telephone. District courts require you to appear in person for your hearings.

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 involved with the case, and their attorneys, if they have counsel.

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 should plan on being at court all day.

Q: Can I bring my child(ren)?

A: Do not bring children to court unless you have been directed to bring a child for DNA testing. Children are not allowed in the courtroom during the hearing and there will not be anyone available to watch them while you are in your hearing.

Q: What should I bring to court?

A: You should bring proof of your income, childcare expenses, health insurance costs, living expenses, bills and anything proving child support payments paid or received. You should bring any witnesses or documents you believe are needed to prove your case. Do not bring family members or friends unless they are witnesses. They will not be allowed in the interview room with you or in the courtroom and may have to wait for you outside on large docket days.

Q: May I bring personal belongings?

A: All bags are subject to search. Do not bring large purses, bags or briefcases. You may be asked to leave large bags, purses or briefcases outside the courtroom or in your car.  Lockers are not available and you will be responsible for your bag.

Q: Will OKDHS provide me with an attorney?

A: OKDHS does not provide anyone with an attorney. OKDHS attorneys represent the State of Oklahoma and cannot represent you or provide you with any legal advice. You may represent yourself or hire an attorney to represent you. If you have an attorney who represents you in child support matters, you must tell the court and the Child Support Office. Your attorney must be with you at Court.

Q: Who should I talk to about the case?

A: You are not required to talk about your case with anyone. Do not argue with other parties or their witnesses..

Q: What happens at court?

A: If at all possible, your case will be finished at the first court date. Court dates can be more than a month apart so do not ask for your case to be set on another day. Your case may be changed to another date if more information is needed. You will be given time to talk with someone from OKDHS about settling your case. If you do not agree to settle, the court will hear your case. You are not required to settle. 

Q: Will I need to sign any documents?

A: Do not sign any legal document you have not read and understand.

Q: What happens if you do not show up for court?

A: If you do not show up for court, the court may revoke your license, order you to pay child support or determine you to be a parent without DNA testing. You may be able to appear for your hearing by telephone. 

To receive approval to appear by telephone, you must either write to the Office of Administrative Hearings: Child Support if your hearing is more than seven days from the date your request is received. Your written request should include a phone number where you may be reached on the day of the hearing and you should be available at that number all day or until the Court is ready to hear your case.

If your hearing is less than one week away, you may call the CARE call center 1-800-522-2922 and request a telephonic hearing. You must leave a phone number where you can be reached all day on the day of the hearing and be available until the court is ready to hear your case.

If you do not receive permission to appear by phone, you must appear in person on the day of your hearing at the time on you paperwork.

Last Updated: January 1, 2020

Back to Top