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Video Transcribed: How do you deal with a passport hold based on past due child support in Oklahoma? I’m Tulsa attorney James Wirth and we’re about to talk about how to remove a passport hold in Oklahoma.
This is governed by two different laws. We’ve got federal law at play and we’ve got state law at play.
Federal law at a 42 USC 652, deals with a system and creates a system to help states enforce child support obligations by allowing them to put a hold or revoke somebody’s passport to prevent their international travel or to prevent them from fleeing.
Under that law and under Oklahoma law, if DHS is involved in child support collections, then their child support services division can make that request to the United States Secretary of State.
And in order to do that, they would have to allege that the person is $2,500 or more behind on their court ordered child support obligation. That’s the triggering number, is $2,500.
And if they want to make that request, and if again it’s discretionary, but most states including Oklahoma regularly do it, but they’d send that request off to the United States Secretary of State and then they’d have to provide notice to that obligor that they’re trying to do this.
And once that notice is received, you’ve got an opportunity to object. You’re going to want to do that, but if it’s already too late and that hasn’t been done, the rules are pretty much the same for taking care of it later also.
Okay. How do you get that resolved once that’s already in place? Well, there are limited ways to do that and it is not easy.
It is difficult. First off, you pay your child support off in full so that you get completely to a zero balance, then at that point, DHS child support services can make the request to have that passport hold removed.
The next available option is if you can pay it down at least below the $2,500, and then you can work out a payment plan to pay the remainder, to get caught up over 36 months, three years.
You’d have to, for those three years, if you have a current child support obligation, you’d have to pay the current and an amount on the arrearage in equal payments, in installments over three years to get you caught back up.
If you get that plan worked up, get it below 2,500, get a payment plan on the remainder over three years, then you can request to get the passport hold removed.
All right, so the third option is the one that’s easier to fit within, but it’s harder to get approved because it’s up to the discretion of the DHS director.
And what that provides is first off, you have to demonstrate that the passport negatively impacts a reliable source of income, because it’s in nobody’s best interest to have you not able to work and make income so you can support your kids if they’re trying to punish you for not supporting your kids, that doesn’t help anybody.
If you can demonstrate that the fact that you have a hold on your passport and can’t travel internationally is affecting your livelihood, then from that point, you want to make a request and arguments to the director of DHS that they should remove the hold so you can better provide for your children.
Practically speaking, they are very strict on granting these, but that’s your only option if there’s no practical way to get it paid below 2,500, and it can be argued it’s in the best interest of everybody so that you can work, make money, pay on that child support.
You should definitely try to do that if it is impacting your income, but the percentage of those they grant is relatively low. You’re probably going to want legal representation on it.
If you are dealing with a situation where you’ve got a passport hole due to alleged back due child support, you’re probably going to want to consult an attorney. If you want to talk to somebody at my office, going to makelaweasy.com.