Ombudsperson Program Is Here to Help YOU!
Who is the Ombudsperson?
The Ombudsperson helps you resolve issues with your child support case, explains your rights and responsibilities, and tells you the ways you can get child support services.
What are the Ombudsperson's responsibilities?
- To help you with child support issues.
- To assist you in understanding the Complaint Resolution Process before, during, and after the complaint is filed.
- To assist you in preparing for a State Hearing
An Ombudsperson is available in each county to assist parents, employers, and other members of the community.
Contact your local child support office for more information.
Complaint Resolution and You
- Parents or other custodial parties can file a complaint with the county Department of Child Support Services.
- You should give the county your contact information, the case name and number, and the issue to be resolved.
- Your complaint may be about any county Department of Child Support Services or Franchise Tax Board action or inaction except for complaints about court orders, custody or visitation.
- You must make your complaint within 90 days of when you knew about the problem.
- The county Department of Child Support Services will have someone other than the caseworker involved with your complaint investigate and try to resolve your complaint.
- If the complaint is out of that county's area, it will be sent to the correct county within five days.
- The county Department of Child Support Services must give you a written response to your complaint within 30 days of when they received your complaint.
- If a complaint cannot be resolved within 30 days, the county Department of Child Support Services may extend the time period for resolving the complaint up to 30 additional days. If the period for resolving a complaint is extended for any reason, the county Department of Child Support Services will mail you a notice stating the reason for the extension.
- The complaint investigator will tell the county Department of Child Support Services or Franchise Tax Board what they must do to resolve the issue.
- The county Department of Child Support Services will send a written notice to you with information on your rights to a State Hearing, if you are not satisfied with the county's response.
The State Hearing Process and You
The State Hearing Process is a process where you can have your case reviewed by an administrative law judge. You have a right to a State Hearing if you have gone through the Complaint Resolution Process and:
- The county has responded within 30 days and you are not satisfied with the response. You must request a State Hearing within 90 days after you received the county's response to your complaint.
- Or, the county failed to respond to you within 90 days after you filed your complaint.
The State Hearing will be held in your county.
What complaints can go to a State Hearing?
The following types of complaints can be heard at a State Hearing if you are not satisfied with the county's response to your complaint:
- Your application for child support has been denied or has not been acted upon within the required time frame.
- Your case has been acted upon and you believe the county acted illegally.
- Child support payments were not given to you, you received the wrong amount, or you don't agree with the past-due amount.
- The child support agency closed your child support case.
If needed, translation services and reasonable disability assistance are available to you free of charge.
What issues cannot be heard at a State Hearing?
Some issues cannot be heard at a State Hearing:
- Court-ordered amounts of child support.
- Child custody or visitation.
- Spousal support
- Contempt matters.
- Civil rights issues.
How to prepare for a State Hearing
The county Department of Child Support Services Ombudsperson can help you request a State Hearing and prepare needed documents. The following information would be helpful to prepare for your case:
- Write a statement of the facts of your case.
- Bring copies of any information and papers, such as statements and notices, that support your case.
- Prepare a list of witnesses and people who will speak on your behalf at the hearing, if any.