Complaint Resolution and State Hearing Program

Either a custodial party or a noncustodial parent may file a complaint over the handling of a child support case. Complaint forms are available at each local child support agency and on the California Department of Child Support Services website.

The local child support agency cannot resolve complaints regarding actions taken by the court, such as the amount of a child support order, custody, visitation, or spousal support orders. Only the court can resolve these matters.
The local child support agency will resolve complaints about:

  • Customer service
  • Timeliness of service
  • Payment and billing issues
  • Decisions to close a child support case

Important!

Complaints about court services cannot be resolved by the local child support agency. See the Family Law Facilitator at the courthouse, an advocate, or a lawyer for help in resolving these issues.

Complaint Resolution Process

The local child support agency is required to respond to every complaint - in writing - within 30 days. If a complaint cannot be resolved within 30 days, the local child support agency may extend the time for resolving a complaint up to a maximum of 30 additional days. If the period for resolving a complaint is extended for any reason, the local child support agency will mail a notice stating the reason for the extension.

State Hearing

Some complaint decisions made by the local child support agency can be appealed to a State Hearing. Only the following issues are subject to State Hearing:

  • Denial of child support services
  • Child support services not provided timely or in the manner required by law
  • Incorrect or missing support payments or the amount of arrears owed
  • Decisions to close a case

Requesting a State Hearing

Forms to request a State Hearing are available at each local child support agency office or by calling toll-free (866) 289–4714. For your convenience, the Request for State Hearing form can be downloaded here.
The local child support agency will assist a custodial party or noncustodial parent in requesting a State Hearing. Instructions for requesting a State Hearing are included on all complaint resolution forms used by the local child support agency.

 Important!

You will be notified of the date, time and place of the hearing. If you are unable to attend, ask for a new hearing date or for the hearing to be held by telephone.

Important Complaint Resolution Dates!

  • You must file your complaint within 90 days of the date you knew, or should have known, about the subject of your complaint.
  • You must request a State Hearing within 90 days of the date of the written decision of the local child support agency on your complaint.
  • If the local child support agency does not respond to your complaint in writing, you must request a State Hearing within 90 days from the date of your complaint to the local child support agency.

Downloadable Pamphlet

Forms

Formas en Español