If a family has ever received public assistance money (AFDC or TANF), is receiving state health care coverage (Medicaid or SoonerCare) for a child or has an open case with us, CSS is a necessary party for the determination of any debt due to the State of Oklahoma and for the adjudication of paternity, child support, and medical insurance coverage for the minor child(ren) (43 O.S. § 112).
In situations where CSS is a necessary party, you need to notify us of any relevant court action, as any orders concerning paternity, child support, medical support, or the debt due to the State of Oklahoma will need to be approved and signed by CSS to be valid (43 O.S. § 112). When formal notice must be served, in addition to serving DHS's service agent, the DHS Director, you should send notice to the State's Attorney handling the case in the local Child Support Office. Our CARE Customer Service Center or our Internet site provides contact information for our offices. If the State's Attorney is not notified of your court action, CSS may ask the court to vacate or modify your order if it does not include provisions required by state and federal law.
In sum, these questions can help determine whether OKDHS is a necessary party:
- Has your client or the other parent ever received TANF or AFDC (cash assistance)?
- Are the children covered by Soonercare/ Medicaid?
- Are the parents receiving a child care subsidy?
- Has either parent opened a case with CSS?
If you are unsure whether CSS is a necessary party, pick up the phone and give your local office a call. If CSS is not a necessary party, CSS will disclaim an interest in the case and you can move forward with litigation without our participation. Keep in mind that if a case opens or one of the parties begins receiving benefits or services, CSS may later file an Entry of Appearance. You should determine CSS's necessary party status at the beginning of your representation and again prior to submitting any final orders to the court.
If you are an attorney representing a client in family court proceedings, you may use this disclaimer form after speaking to a CSS attorney and verifying that CSS is not a necessary party: Attorney Disclaimer of Interest
If you are a party proceeding pro se (without an attorney), you will need a CSS attorney to sign off on this disclaimer form: Pro Se Disclaimer of Interest.