What to Expect at your Child Support Hearing

The hearing process:

When the hearing begins, the judge will describe the hearing process and answer any questions. The judge will record the hearing.

The judge will decide who gets to talk first and in what order. Everyone will have a chance to tell their side of the story and ask each other questions. The judge may ask questions. The judge will consider two types of evidence: testimony and exhibits.

What is testimony?

Testimony is a statement given under oath. When a person is placed under oath, it means that they swear or affirm to tell the truth.

Once a person is under oath, they will tell the judge their side of the story. If a person is represented, their representative may ask questions.

The judge may stop or limit unnecessary testimony.

What is cross-examination?

After a person tells their story, the other parties are allowed to cross-examine them. Cross-examination is when you ask the other parties questions about their testimony.

You are only allowed to ask questions based on their testimony. You are not allowed to comment on their testimony. If you disagree with what the person said, you may ask the judge to let you testify again.

What are objections to testimony?

During your testimony, you can object to any questions. Objections are most commonly made when the question is not related to the case.

If you disagree with what the person said, you may ask the judge to let you testify again.

The judge will listen and respond to your objection. Wait for the judge to rule on your objection.

What are exhibits?

In addition to testimony, exhibits are also evidence. An exhibit can be a document, picture, or video that is used to prove a point. This includes the documents you received in the hearing packet from DCS.

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

Training and Resources:

What are objections to exhibits?

At the beginning of the hearing, the judge will discuss the exhibits. The judge will ask if you object to any exhibits. This is a way of asking you if it is okay for the judge to consider the exhibit when making their decision. The judge will listen and respond to your objection.

You cannot object to an exhibit just because you disagree with what it says. Remember, you can tell the judge what you disagree with when it is your turn to tell your story.

What are closing statements?

At the end of the hearing, the parties may give closing statements. A closing statement is your chance to tell the judge what you think the judge should decide. A closing statement is not a chance to give additional testimony. It should be very brief.

Can I send in documents after the hearing?

The hearing record will close at the end of the hearing. This means that you cannot submit any other evidence to OAH or to a higher court after the hearing is over.

In some circumstances, the judge will allow you to send in specific documents after the hearing. This only happens when the judge has given permission.

What happens if I missed my hearing?

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. This is a default.

If you did not participate, you may ask the judge to give you another hearing (request to vacate). You must send your request to OAH. You need to explain why you missed the hearing. You have a limited time to make this request. Please look at your order for details.