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OAH FAQs

Legal Authority

OAC 340:2-28

O.S. 56 §  237.7(3)

This article clarifies some questions about the procedures for the Office of Administrative Hearings:  Child Support (OAH).  This Office within DHS Legal Services is the administrative court in Oklahoma that establishes and enforces child support orders by conducting child support hearings.

Please review this article with your CSS Attorney. The information comes from discussions with the Chief ALJ and CSS research of civil procedure.

The article touches on Agreed Orders, Court Record, and Non-OSIS DocGen Forms.

Agreed Orders

OAH requires:

  • A pleading for entry of an agreed order
  • Proof of service on parties:
  • Waiver of service document is acceptable
  • If no written/signed waiver of service (e.g., party appearing telephonically), can put the party on record
  • Best practice: have all parties sign acknowledgment/waiver form for agreed orders with no proof of service

If one party is not present, but wants to enter an agreed order:

  • Option 1:
    • Do not enter order on hearing date,
    • Mail/email order to party for signature, and
    • Enter upon return of the signed order
  • Option 2:
    • Put telephonic party on record to indicate consent to the agreed order, waiver of service, and signature on the order
  • Option 3:
    • Parties may “waive” signature

Providing support for information in agreed orders:

  • What if judge questions numbers or wants documentation?
    • The court always has discretion to inquire, even if the parties are in agreement
    • CSS can put in the order that parties stipulate (to the income amounts, childcare and medical support amounts) which should negate need for ALJ to take testimony on record of Agreed Order.

Court Record

Proof of underlying orders:

  • In general, OAH prefers the record include all underlying orders that establish and modify child support
  • If orders are administrative orders, they are already part of record
    • If the admin order is not included in the electronic record, do not upload it using workflow
    • Send the admin order by email attachment to the ALJ, who will research with OAH clerk and get the original put into the system
  • Offices can determine the best process for entering into OAH workflow, whether:
    • Enter district court orders at the time pleadings are filed,
    • Enter order prior to hearing,
    • Enter order on day of hearing as Exhibit “1”,
    • If confidential juvenile order: Do “Order Reinstating Juvenile Order”
    • Tip: Put OAH & FGN on face of order

Amending Documents:

  • Please be sure non-legal staff are trained re: not changing documents already in the record
  • If a document is incorrect, staff can prepare a [separate] document noted as “amended” or use the nunc pro tunc process

Docket Management and Workflow

Hearings:

  • Notify parties to appear approximately 15 minutes before actual hearing time so any late appearances won’t delay the hearing
  • Hearing will be delayed if all documents are not attached to the hearing request
    • By the time the hearing is requested, all exhibits should be scanned in

Requesting Hearings:

  • Request to *Legal.OAH.Staff
  • Use a “High Importance” flag to designate emails about hearings ready for the ALJ
    • Sometimes hearing requests come in the middle of a “flood” of emails
    • If the OAH clerk in charge of hearings is away from her desk, other clerks will provide backup

Delays in hearing:

  • Delay may occur if morning hearings run into ALJ’s lunch period (noon to 1:00 p.m.)
  • If a morning hearing cannot occur prior to lunch, CSS staff can:
    • Excuse parties for lunch and have them come back for an afternoon hearing
    • Continue the hearing to another date
  • Last morning hearing requested: 11am
  • Last afternoon hearing requested:  4pm

Docket settings vs. desk reviews:

  • Not everything needs to be on the OAH docket
  • Use the Desk Review process whenever possible to ease strain on docket limits and staff time
  • Example: License Probation Reviews
    • Rather than setting on docket for “pay or appear,” do this as a desk review under OAC 340:25-5-200.1
    • If the NCP is paying, Notice of Admin Review Decision can include date for further review
    • If NCP not paying, can issue Notice of Admin Review Decision showing NCP in non-compliance with payment plan and subject to immediate revocation
    • If no payment after time to object to Admin Review Decision is up, put on signature docket requesting revocation

Non-OSIS DocGen Forms

  • Generally, the process is easier if DocGen or ALC forms are used – please use them
  • If Word or other form versions are used, obsolete language may not be removed
    • Recent example: CLP language in NOIR order
  • If changes are needed to DocGen or ALC forms, contact PRC (Pleadings Review Committee) who will work with CBECS to fix the form

Contact Information

If you have any questions or ideas for best practices, please contact *OCSS.Center Operations.  Example: Center for Operations is working with OAH to explore options for uploading OSCN/ODCR documents directly into workflow.