As Child Support Services (CSS) is a “law firm” under the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct, all of our staff is governed by the same rules that apply to our attorneys. One of the most important rules is that we not communicate directly with a customer who is represented by an attorney without first having that attorney’s permission to do so. This rule is for the protection of the client, so that he or she can have the benefit of the attorney’s explanation and advice before dealing with another lawyer in the same case, including us.
To avoid communication with a represented party, review the following Oklahoma State Information System (OSIS) screens to determine whether the parties on the case are currently represented by private counsel:
- ADI 15 (Attorney for Obligor);
- ADI 23 (Attorney for Custodial Parent Obligee); and
- ADI 18 (Attorney for Biological Parent).
Also, check the court record on Oklahoma Supreme Court Network (OSCN) or ON Demand Court Records (ODCR) to determine whether there is pending litigation between the same parties in an ongoing family or domestic court case.
If litigation is pending and there is an attorney for either party on the case, contact the attorney to ask if the attorney will represent the party in this child support case. Contact can be by phone, mail, or email. Record the attorney’s response on caselog. If the attorney has withdrawn as counsel, delete his or her name from OSIS.
If the attorney states he or she will represent the party in the child support case, advise the attorney that without his or her permission the customer will not be able to obtain case information from the CARE Customer Service as long as OSIS shows representation by counsel. As noted above, send the Request for Information questionnaire to the attorney unless the attorney directs CSS to send it directly to the party. If the attorney does permit us to send the questionnaire directly to the client, send a copy of the blank questionnaire to the attorney as well if requested by the attorney to do so.
If the attorney advises that he or she will not be representing the customer in the child support case, delete the attorney from OSIS and send the questionnaire directly to the customer.
No Pending Litigation
When family and domestic court actions result in entry of a final order (e.g. Journal Entry, Decree, or Order of Modification), representation is usually considered terminated. If there is a final order and no pending litigation between the same parties in an ongoing family or domestic court case, and there is no indication of current representation, delete the attorney’s name from OSIS. However, if the district CSS office is aware that the attorney has a practice of considering representation ongoing, even upon entry of a final order, CSS should contact the attorney to ask if the attorney will represent the party in this child support case as a precaution to avoid unintentionally violating the rule. We should also review the caselog on OSIS for other indications of ongoing representation, such as recent communications from an attorney on the party’s behalf, statements by the party that he or she intends to speak to an attorney about his or her case, or whether a family law matter only recently concluded. If the attorney no longer represents the party, send the Request for Information questionnaire to the party directly.
See this article: Civil Contempt Legal Authority.