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Hearing on Assets and Other Discovery Tools

The HOA discovery procedure is used to locate hidden assets and/or self-employment by requiring the NCP to appear at court and answer questions while under oath.  You should start with the information provided by the CP and children since either or both may have seen an expensive new truck, a new boat, a new satellite dish and big screen TV, or a new cabin on the lake.

The procedure begins with setting a district court date and personally serving the NCP with a Motion for Order Requiring Judgment Debtor to Appear and Answer and Order to Appear, and a subpoena to produce documents.  The documents subpoenaed will verify ownership and interest in assets.  The Order to Appear enjoins the NCP from transferring title to a third party to avoid having to answer.

Prepare a questionnaire before the hearing. Note: You may want to review the Asset Identification portion of the CSQuest article Interviewing NCP’s directly and Third Party InterviewsA sample copy of this document can be found in the OKDHS/OCSS Outlook at *OCSS.All/Legal Research\Alternative Enforcement example documents. Take the asset identification results to the hearing and be prepared to impeach the NCP’s testimony.

If concerned that the NCP may dispose of assets, have a colleague present or on telephone standby to attach assets as they are discovered.  When the NCP appears, he/she is sworn by the judge and must answer all inquiries about assets. Refusal to answer or dishonesty can be punished by contempt of court. Dishonesty can be punished by a charge of perjury.

This procedure is not recommended in every case. It is time consuming. However, if the lifestyle of an NCP indicates there may be assets that have not been previously discovered, or if the NCP is resistant to disclosure, it is useful to discover information about land and personal property, or a side‐line business.

Other Discovery Tools

Traditionally, child support programs have used enforcement remedies that do not generally require thorough pre-trial discovery, or programs become dependent on picking up information about assets as part of other proceedings, such as contempt. Refer to CSQuest article Documents used in Civil Contempt Cases.

Discovery tools are listed in the Oklahoma Discovery Code, 12 O.S. §§ 3224 ‐ 3237.

The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 created a powerful tool to compel discovery.  The director of the Department of Human Services (OK DHS) can issue a subpoena for production of documents. Refer to 42 U.S.C. § 666 (c) (1) and 56 O.S. § 240.23 (1).  The director delegated this authority to IV-D child support attorneys and caseworkers, who may sign a subpoena on his behalf.

There are two types of subpoena authorized under the Director Order’s law:

  1. The Order for Subpoena of Documents used in the paternity process can be issued directly to the NCP in establishment or enforcement cases (available in Adobe LiveCycle (ALC) documents—see CSQuest article Listing of ALC Documents).
  2. In establishing, modifying, or enforcing a child support order, a federal document Administrative Subpoena Form & Instructions (OMB Control No. 0970-0152) is used to obtain information from third parties, including individuals, businesses, agencies, or any other entity that may have financial or other useful information.

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October 20, 2016

Discovery of Asset Location