A Tulsa Child Support Lawyer Responds
Oklahoma Child Support Services has announced the first child support amnesty in more than a decade for non-custodial parents with active warrants. According to an Oklahoma Department of Human Services press release, DHS is inviting non-custodial parents to contact the child support collection agency during the month of August, 2015, and “work to get back on track.”
Relief from quasi-criminal contempt of court warrants for a child support arrearage could be a significant motivator for parents behind in child support payments. If you are among those parents, before you call the child support collection agency, there are a few things you might want to consider.
Are You Eligible for a Child Support Modification?
First, the agency offering the amnesty program is the child support collection agency. The agency might offer you a payment plan, but they cannot represent your interests if you are eligible for a child support modification.
If your original child support order does not align with your current ability to pay because of a significant change in circumstance, you may be eligible for a modification. Likewise, if you spend more time with your child than was allocated during the original child support computation, that could be a significant change that could qualify you for a child support modification.
While a modification would not erase past-due child support arrearage, a new computation could affect the amount you would pay going forward, and increase your ability to pay down the back child support.
What You Say Can Be Used Against You
Another thing to remember is that the agency offering the amnesty may be the agency that initiated contempt of court charges that led to the warrant against you. DHS represents the State’s interests – not yours.
On top of that, the Child Support Services amnesty offer is not legally binding. The agency almost certainly extended the amnesty offer in good faith, but it is an executive agency’s internal decision whether or not to grant amnesty. The State could at any time, of its own volition, withdraw warrants or move forward with arrest and prosecution. Information you reveal during a courteous negotiation for a payment plan could be used against you if your attempt to reach an agreement fails.
With those things in mind, the short term child support amnesty program could nonetheless be a valuable opportunity for non-custodial parents facing arrest warrants for an Oklahoma child support arrearage. Before you contact the Oklahoma child support collection agency directly, you would do well to contact an Oklahoma child support attorney to explore your options.
Free Consultation: Tulsa Child Support Attorney
Oklahoma is not the only state that uses child support amnesty to encourage non-custodial parents to catch up on back child support. The programs offer much needed relief, but also put pressure on non-custodial parents to negotiate quickly, before the amnesty program lapses. The pressure can result in parents acting hastily without the benefit of legal counsel. A Tulsa child support attorney can provide information you might not get from Child Support Services. A Tulsa child support lawyer can consider all aspects of your child custody and child support case.
For a free, confidential consultation with a child support attorney in Tulsa, contact Wirth Law Office’s Tulsa divorce attorney at (918) 879-1681. You can also send your question using the e-mail form at the top of this page.