Send in an objection and/or hearing request on time.
If you disagree with what the NFFR says you owe, ask for a hearing (an “adjudicative proceeding”).
There should be an “Objection – Request for Blood Test or Adjudicative Proceeding” form with the papers you got.
In that form, put why you are appealing. Deliver or mail it back to the DCS office that sent it.
The address should be on the form. If not, send your appeal to:
DSHS Board of Appeals
P.O. Box 45803
Olympia, WA 98204-5803
You have 20 days from the day you get the NFFR to send in your appeal. (If the twentieth day falls on a weekend or holiday, you have until the next regular business day.)
If you appeal within the 20 days, DCS cannot collect support from you until the appeal is over.
If you file an appeal after the 20-day period, DCS can start collecting support from you. If you wait more than a year to ask for a hearing, you must have had good cause for the delay.
- Keep a copy of anything you send DCS.
Try to settle the matter before the hearing.
A Claims Officer will represent DCS.
They might agree to a resolution that works for everyone. Then you will not need a hearing.
If your income is different than what DCS says, have proof of your income handy.
Go to the hearing if you cannot agree.
An administrative law judge (ALJ) conducts the hearing. It is less formal than court. This hearing can be in-person or by phone. The ALJ decides how much support you will pay after listening to you, the other parent, and the Claims Officer.
Take at least 2 copies of any documents you want the ALJ to see. If your hearing is by phone, call the ALJ’s office to ask how to send the ALJ your documents. If DCS says you make more than you actually do, bring copies of your tax return, W-2 statement, pay stubs, and bank statements.
The ALJ can also consider any support you have already paid. You can show receipts for clothes, medical bills, or other expenses you have paid for the child. You can have a witness who has helpful information about your ability to pay support.
The ALJ uses the support schedule to set support. The ALJ might set it higher or lower than (“deviate from”) the basic amount.
Example: If you are responsible for children from another relationship.
The ALJ writes an Initial Decision after the hearing. If you disagree with that decision, you can appeal to superior court. Our Petitioning for Superior Court Review: When you disagree with a DSHS/HCA benefits administrative hearing has the forms and instructions for doing this.