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Case Closure: Enforcement or Not

Question:

The other day a coworker mentioned that she always leaves liens in place after case closure – that way we can reopen and collect in the future.  I think I remember hearing that we have to stop all enforcement remedies when we close a case, but I can’t remember where…   Could you help us settle this?  (There’s a triple chocolate fudge cupcake riding on the answer!)

Answer:

Just remember: you can’t have your cupcake and eat it, too.  Either we keep the case open and pursue collections, or we close the case and let any future collections go.  We can’t have it both ways.

Have a look at Oklahoma Administrative Code 340:25-5-123(f).  This policy says that when we close a case, CSS “resolves enforcement actions filed and CSS processes that are specific to the case being closed.”  Instructions to Staff #12 goes on to list how we clean up all the different remedies, including:

  • Releasing liens and levies;
  • Dismissing pending court actions (like contempt);
  • Reinstating revoked or suspended licenses;
  • Removing the NCP from the Most Wanted and Missing Parents programs; and
  • Requesting the court withdraw bench warrants.

However, there is one big exception to all of this!  We only resolve enforcement actions specific to the case being closed; we leave in place enforcement remedies that impact cases staying open.  For example, let’s say an NCP’s license is revoked because of failure to pay on the 001 case, and a contempt action is pending for the 001 and 002 cases.  If the 001 case closes, we should reinstate the NCP’s license but continue with the contempt action for 002.  (We don’t want to stop enforcing an open case just because another has closed.)

So, to answer your question in a nutshell, we generally stop all enforcement at case closure, but leave in place remedies that impact open cases.  Enjoy your cupcake!