What can happen at a hearing on a support establishment notice? (WAC 388-14A-3140)

When a parent requests a hearing on a NFFR, the hearing is limited to resolving the noncustodial parent's current and future support obligation and the accrued support debt, and establishing the medical support obligations of both the noncustodial parent (NCP) and the custodial parent (CP), if the CP is the legal or biological parent of the child.

  • The hearing is not for the purpose of setting a payment schedule on the support debt.
  • The NCP has the burden of proving any defenses to liability. See WAC 388-14A-3370.
  • The NCP or the CP must provide testimony or proof to support their claim that the terms in the NFFR are incorrect.
  • The administrative law judge (ALJ) has authority to enter a support obligation that may be higher or lower than the amounts set forth in the NFFR, including the support debt, current support, and the future support obligation. The ALJ may enter an order that differs from the terms stated in the notice, including different debt periods, if the obligation is supported by credible evidence presented by any party at the hearing, without further notice to any nonappearing party, if the ALJ finds that due process requirements have been met.
  • The ALJ has no authority to determine custody or visitation issues, or to set a payment schedule for the arrears debt.
  • When a party has advised the ALJ that they will participate in the hearing by telephone, the ALJ attempts to contact that party on the record before beginning the proceeding or rules on a motion. The ALJ may not disclose to the other party the telephone number or the location of the party appearing by phone.
  • In certain cases, there is no "custodial parent" because the child or children are in foster care.
  • In certain cases, there can be two NCPs, called "joint NCPs." This happens when a husband and wife, or registered domestic partners, are jointly served a support establishment notice for a common child who is not residing in their home.

If you still have questions, contact your support enforcement officer at the phone number listed on the last page of the notice you received. If you are not sure which office handles your case, call the KIDS line at 1-800-442-KIDS (5437).