When it comes to divorce and paternity client’s don’t realize the State may assert an interest in your case. This is possible if the State of Oklahoma is providing services for the minor child(ren). Those service include things like Sooner Care, food stamps or other assistance.
DHS is a massive organization the state administers. It handles several types of issues pertaining to family law. Those cases include foster care, deprived children matters, child support collection, establishment of paternity and adult protective services. If the State of Oklahoma has provided services for the child such as Sooner-care, TANF, they will take an interest. If this is the case then DHS requires proper notice of any divorce and paternity filing involving minor children. This also includes motions to modify either child support or custody.
In Divorce and Paternity Cases What Authority Does DHS Have:
DHS has its own administrative court system that establishes paternity and child support. The administrative court does not have the ability to award visitation rights. DHS also has the ability to go after reimbursement for medical costs and child support. This period goes back up to 5 years and includes any pregnancy related expenses.
If you would like to learn more about child support, see our articles on it.
OKDHS can and will act as a child support collection agency and therefore, if they are an interested party, will need to sign off on any agreed orders prior to the judge approving them, whether that be temporary orders of final decrees.
Which Court Should my Divorce and Paternity Case be in:
Deciding whether to have a Oklahoma family case stay within the OKDHS administrative court or to pursue relief in a district court that hears divorce and paternity, is highly dependent on the case. For instance if it’s an initial paternity action at OKDHS for child support, we recommend that the father file a paternity action in the correct district court so that he can establish legal custody and visitation. However, if it is just for a modification of child support, and visitation and custody is already court ordered it could possibly be beneficial to just have the modification hearing through the administrative court.
Contact a Divorce and Paternity Attorney in Tulsa:
If you have any questions relating to DHS involvement in your Oklahoma divorce or paternity case, it is important to call an Oklahoma family law attorney to know your legal options and rights.
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