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Administrative Hearings

The Administrative Hearing Unit of the Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) is located on the main floor of the Virgil E. Brown building at 1640 Superior Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio. We are an administrative agency authorized by Ohio law to conduct certain type child support hearings. However, we are not a court and we do not determine issues of custody, visitation, past support, or maternity expenses. Our authority includes conducting hearings on paternity establishment, support order establishment, order modification, mistake of fact requests (past due support determinations), emancipation and termination of support proceedings, determination of arrears, and other related matters. If you have received a request to appear for an administrative hearing, please read your notice thoroughly. The notice will provide detailed information as to the time and date of the hearing, as well as what kind of documentation you should bring with you. Each party is entitled, but not required, to bring a representative to the hearing. If you are under the age of 18, you must bring your parent or legal guardian with you. Failure to attend your hearing may necessitate the OCSS to request the appropriate court to issue an order requiring compliance. 

If you have received a Notice of Administrative Hearing to Establish a Support Order

The primary purpose of an Administrative Hearing to Establish a Support Order is to determine the financial responsibility due the child or children from the Non-Custodial Parent. Your notice to appear requires that you bring documentation, which will verify and confirm past and current income. This documentation may include pay stubs, tax returns, expense vouchers, employer statements, proof of health insurance and child care expenses. The Hearing Officer will review this information and calculate the child support obligation using the State of Ohio legally mandated child support guidelines. The Hearing Officer is not permitted to deviate from these guidelines. Upon conclusion of the hearing, an order to pay support will be sent to both parties by mail. The obligation to pay support begins on the day the order is issued. A wage attachment is issued at the same time. It is the responsibility of the Obligor to make payments of support up until the time money is taken from his or her wages. If the obligor needs to make payments, they are to be sent to the Child Support Payment Central in Columbus, Ohio. If you disagree with the support order, you may file an objection with the Juvenile Court within 30 days of the date the Administrative Order is issued.

If you have received a Notice Regarding Adjustment and Review (Modification) of Your Order

Periodically, child support cases may be reviewed to determine whether or not the child support order should be modified (changed).  If the OCSS determines that the order is eligible for review, a support officer will gather income and other information from the Obligor and the Obligee . The Support Officer will then determine what the current support obligation should be, based upon the state legally mandated child support guidelines. If there is a 10% change in the child support order, either upward or downward, a new child support order will be issued. These recommendations for the new support amount are mailed to the parties.  If one or both of the parties disagrees with the new order, they may request a hearing with the Administrative Hearing Unit.

At this hearing, both parties will be given the opportunity to present any information, which supports their objection to the Support Officer's recommendation. The Hearing Officer will examine all prior information and any new data. The Hearing Officer will also listen to pertinent testimony. The Hearing Officer will not re-run the modification guidelines unless it has been determined that an error had been committed or there exists an omission of relevant information. The Hearing Officer does not have the authority to deviate from the legally mandated guidelines. Each party will receive the results of the hearing by mail. Either party may object to the Hearing Officer’s recommendation by filing an objection with the proper court within 15 days of the signature of the findings. Filing an objection does not change the effective date of a modification, which is the first day of the month following the original review date.

If you have received a Notice of Administrative Mistake-of-Fact Hearing

When Obligors are delinquent in the payment of support obligations more than 30 days, the Office of Child Support Services  (OCSS) may send an “Advanced Notice of Default and Potential Action” to the Obligor. This document informs the Obligor of the amount of unpaid support that is owed. Note that arrears may also include spousal support. If the Obligor objects to the arrears, he or she may request a Mistake-of-Fact hearing. This request must be made within seven days of receipt of the Advanced Notice of Default. The scope of the Mistake-of-Fact hearing is limited to whether the Advanced Notice of Default was mailed to the proper party, the amount of arrears, if any, that may exist on the case in question, and the amount of the additional Administrative Order for payment on arrears. No other issues will be addressed at a Mistake-of-Fact hearing. During the hearing, the Hearing Officer will review the OCSS’ records and documentation provided by the parties, determine if a default exists and the amount of additional support ordered to be paid for arrears. A determination will be sent to the parties. If either party objects to the determination, the party must file a motion with the court within seven days of the signing of the order by the Administrative Hearing Officer. 

If you have received a Notice Regarding Emancipation and/or Termination of Your Order

Parties may receive in the mail Findings and Recommendations from a Support Officer regarding emancipation and/or termination. The findings and recommendations will indicate termination date which may be based on the age of the child,  high school graduation, change of legal custody, or the marriage of the parties. The process of emancipation and/or termination is the direct result of legislation passed by the Ohio lawmakers commonly referred to as Senate Bill 180. You may request an administrative hearing regarding the findings within  the time frame indicated in the recommendations if you disagree with them. The scope of the emancipation and/or termination hearing is limited. During the hearing, the Administrative Hearing Officer will review all the data to determine the following:
  • Should the order be terminated due to emancipation
  • What is the effective date of emancipation/termination
  • Are other children subject to the order
  • Are there arrears and what is the amount?
  • Was an order to impound funds issued?
After review, the Hearing Officer will prepare the appropriate order and /or findings and recommendations. Copies will be forwarded to the parties and the appropriate judicial court. Parties have 30 days to file a motion with the court if they disagree with the order and/or recommendations issued by the Administrative Hearing Officer.

For Information on how to request a continuance of an Administrative Hearing

You may request a continuance of your hearing.  A hearing continuance must be received at least one week prior to the scheduled hearing date. It must be submitted in writing. The request should be FAXED to 216-443-5226. The party requesting a hearing continuance must state the reason for the continuance. A request for a hearing continuance does not guarantee that it will be granted. If it is granted, the parties will be duly notified.