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How to Prepare
Child Support Hearings

 

General Hearing Information

 

Why am I having a child support hearing?

 

You are having a hearing because:

Your hearing is held by the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) which is an independent state agency.  OAH will assign an administrative law judge (judge) to hear your case.  


 

What can a judge do in a child support hearing?

 

The judge can resolve disagreements about how much you pay in child support and whether it should change. The judge can also resolve some disputes regarding how DCS collects your child support.

 

The judge cannot change a court order regarding child support.  The judge cannot make any decisions about legal custody or visitation.  The judge cannot decide which parent can claim the child as a tax exemption.  You have to go to superior court to resolve these issues.      


 

Who attends the hearing?

 

In child support hearings, the people who attend are the:

 

If you have a witness you need to let the DCS Representative know.  You may ask to have someone attend as a support person. 


 

Do I need a lawyer?

 

Most people who attend child support hearings represent themselves.  You may choose to have a lawyer, family member, or friend represent you as long as they do not work for DSHS.  The state will not pay for your lawyer.


 

Can I change the hearing date?

 

You can change the hearing date if you have a good reason.  You must call the DCS Representative as soon as possible if you need to change the date or time of your hearing.  The judge will decide whether to grant your request.  If your hearing date changes, OAH will send you another notice with a new date and time.    


 

What if I need an interpreter?

 

If you do not speak English, call OAH as soon as you receive your hearing date so that we can schedule an interpreter.  Your friends or family members cannot be your interpreter.   The judge will send you the decision in English.  For a free translation of your order, call 360-407-2700 or 800-583-8271.   


 

What if I need help so I can attend the hearing? 

 

If you need help so that you can attend the hearing, you should contact OAH as soon as possible.  You will need to tell OAH about your special needs and how we can help you.  To ask for an accommodation, contact OAH at the telephone number on your Notice of Hearing. 


 

Do I have to participate in the hearing?

 

You should participate if you want the judge to hear your side of the story.  If you do not participate in the hearing, the judge may make a decision without any information from you.  The judge may dismiss your request for a hearing and the DCS notice will be final.  


 

Can I keep my personal information private?

 

In a child support hearing, you can keep some information private or confidential.  This includes you or your child’s Social Security number, your address, phone number, the name of your employer, and your child’s school and day care information.  If you do not want anyone else to have this information, you must black it out from all documents you send in for the hearing.  During the hearing, you can decide to share this information.   


 

What if there is a no contact order or protection order?

 

You can participate in a child support hearing even if there is a no contact order or a protection order with the other parent.  You should tell DCS about the order before the hearing.  That way, the DCS Representative can make sure that you are not on the phone with the other parent alone.  


 

What are the steps in a hearing process?

Click here to see the typical steps in a DCS hearing process.

 

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Additional Information

Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings | Build Version: 1.04c