Necessary Party Process
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 an DHS child care subsidy, 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.
What the Order Must Contain
Oklahoma law requires that child support orders include the following twelve provisions:
- Child Support Obligation and attached to the order a Child Support Computation form (43 O.S. §§ 118 and 120).
- Support through high school (43 O.S. § 112(E)).
- Immediate Income Assignment provision
- Required in all Title IV-D child support cases (43 O.S. § 115)
- Required in non Title IV-D child support cases, unless the court makes a finding of good cause not to have an immediate income assignment, or the order includes a written alternative arrangement for payment of child support (43 O.S. § 115).
- Medical Support provision for a parent either to provide medical insurance for minor child or pay a cash medical amount (43 O.S. § 118F).
- Medical Expenses provision for each parent to pay a proportionate share, including but not limited to dental, orthodontic, optometric, psychological expenses (43 O.S. § 118F).
- Uninsured medical costs provision to be paid by each parent directly to the person advancing payment of such expense or to the provider of the service (43 O.S. § 118F).
- Child Care expense provision for each parent to pay a proportionate share if reasonably necessary to enable either or both parents to be employed, seek employment, or attend school or training (43 O.S. § 118G).
- Reimbursement of public assistance (56 O.S. § 238).
- That support paid by income assignment is to be paid through the Oklahoma Centralized Support Registry (OCSR) or alternatively, that all support payments are to be paid through the OCSR. (43 O.S. § 413).
- Address of Record for the custodial person and the noncustodial parent (43 O.S. § 112A).
Parenting time adjustment (43 O.S. § 118E).
- Child support and/or spousal support judgment with a monthly judgment payment provision if an arrearage accrued from a temporary order, a paternity order or other prior order (43 O.S. § 112(G)).
Necessary Party Forms
In some instances, money from a settlement or
enforcement action should be paid to only one of the
noncustodial parent’s Child Support Services cases instead of allocating among multiple cases. In these circumstances, contact the assigned Child Support Services Attorney who will arrange
for it to be applied case specific.
Working with OAH
The Office of Administrative Hearings has jurisdiction over child support matters when CSS has a case open for services. OAH decisions are final orders of the court and are appealed to district court. OAH is a court of record and prepares records for cases on appeal.
Information on filing with OAH or records on appeal are available at OAH.