Hire an Attorney and Ask the Court to Change the Terms of Your Support
Video Transcribed: How do I request a child support modification in Oklahoma? I’m Tulsa attorney James Wirth, and that is the question we have received is how do I file or request a modification of child support? All right, so there are a couple of different things here.
If you’re requesting a modification, that means an order is already in place, so I’d want to know where that order was entered. Was it entered in an Oklahoma district court, your county court, or was it entered in a DHS administrative court, or perhaps it was entered in a tribal court? That’s going to make some difference.
The general information that you need here is if you want to modify child support, you have to file a motion to modify child support. In that motion, you have to note the prior order, when it was entered, and why it needs to be modified.
What has changed, and what circumstances have changed that make it in the child’s best interest or appropriate for the child support amount to be different? Typically, that would be the party’s income has gone up or down. Maybe somebody’s not exercising their visitation, and visitation is a factor in the amount of child support because it’s over 120 nights for the secondary parent. That would be a factor there.
Maybe daycare costs have gone up, health insurance or out-of-pocket medical, or any of these changes that affect caring for the child and the amount that it costs to care for the child or is a factor related to the Oklahoma child support guidelines in determining child support. If there’s been a substantial change, then that could be a ground to modify, so you file a motion to modify with the court.
They charge a filing fee if that’s in a county district court. That Filing fee, I believe, is around 80 $90 currently, so you’ve got to file that. Then you’d also want to file a notice to serve on the other party that tells them they’ve got to file a response within 15 days.
If DHS is an interested party, you’ve also got to give them notice. They’re going to participate in that action, but it could also mean that your order previously was in DHS administrative court. If that’s the case, you can file a modification there, and there are a couple of ways you can do that. You can do that on your own by filing it, or you can request the DHS attorney for a modification.
We get calls a lot of times from people that say, “Well, I filed a modification with DHS, and nothing ever came from it,” when in reality, they didn’t file the modification with the DHS; they requested that DHS follow that, file a modification and DHS didn’t ultimately do that. They get backlogged, takes them a long time to do things. You want to be careful about that scenario.
You want to make sure that you’re the one that files, that it’s filed with the actual clerk and that you’ve got a file-stamped copy because, ultimately, if it’s a year later. You don’t have a new order yet; if that was filed, then your new order, once entered, can relate to and modify the motion to modify as of the date that you filed the request.
But if you just request that DHS files a motion to modify and they don’t do so, then ultimately, when it is filed, you don’t get to go back to when you requested the DHS file. You get to go back to the date that something was filed with the administrative or county court, so you want to be careful regarding that.
These could be complicated processes regarding drafting up documents, knowing what court to file in, and what court you can file in, which is generally going to be where the prior order was entered. You’ll probably want to talk to an attorney before you do anything about that. To get that scheduled with a Tulsa Child Support Attorney at my office, you can go to makelaweasy.com.