How to Prepare 
Child Support Hearings

 

Preparation for hearing:

How do I prepare?

You will receive a pre-hearing letter, an exhibit packet, and a Notice of Hearing. Read these documents carefully. You should have these documents with you during the hearing. If you need your Notice of hearing translated please call OAH.

If you have more documents you want the judge to see you must immediately mail them to OAH, DCS and any other party. If you do not have the other party’s address please contact DCS or OAH. Put your DCS case number on the documents so they are associated with your file. If the document contains information you do not want the other parties to know you must black it out before mailing them. Do not wait to submit your documents. If you do not follow these instructions, your documents may not be considered.

Examples of documents you may want the judge to see:

  • Court orders affecting your children
  • Current pay stubs, benefit statements, or disability payment records
  • Medical costs or health insurance costs for the children
  • Proof of any support paid
  • Tax returns and W-2 forms
  • Child support worksheets

You can file documents or review your case information through the Participant Portal.

Training and Resources:

If you have an address or phone number change, contact OAH and DCS immediately so you can continue to receive important information.  


How do I participate?

Your hearing will be held by telephone.  Your Notice of Hearing will have detailed instructions on how to participate. Before the hearing, you must call OAH to provide a telephone number where you can be reached for the hearing.  The DCS Representative will call you on the date and time of the hearing. 

  • Hearings typically last one hour.  Please plan for additional time as your hearing may take longer or start later.
  • If you use a cell phone, be sure the battery is fully charged and that you have good reception.
  • You must be able to receive calls from a blocked caller ID.
  • If you are disconnected at any time during the hearing, call OAH right away.
  • Have a pen and paper available for note taking.
  • At the time of the hearing, be in a quiet location. 
  • You may not drive during your hearing.

If you want an in-person hearing and you have a good reason, you must submit a request to OAH.  The judge will approve or deny your request.  If your request is granted, the hearing will be scheduled at a location near you where the judge will also appear in person. The other parties are not required to appear in person.


How do I research the law?

OAH cannot provide legal advice.  If you would like to research the law, here are links to some resources.

Resource Phone Number Website

 

Washington Law Help

 

  www.washingtonlawhelp.org

CLEAR:

  1. In King County
  2. Outside King County

 

Call 211

Call 888-201-1014

nwjustice.org/clear-hotline

Veteran’s Project

 

855-657-8387

www.nwjustice.org/veterans

WA State Bar Association

 

 

www.wsba.org/Resources-and-Services/Find-Legal-Help

Moderate Means Program

 

855-741-6930

www.wsba.org/Legal-Community/Volunteer-Opportunities/Public-Service-Opportunities/Moderate-Means-Program

Division of Child Support

 

  www.dshs.wa.gov

Find Law

 

  www.findlaw.org

Administrative Hearing Rules

WAC 388-02

Child Support Rules

WAC 388-14A

RCW Title 26


What if I want to settle my case?

You should contact the DCS Representative if you would like to try to settle your case before the hearing.