Administrative Hearings

In Ohio, hearings related to child support issues are either conducted Administratively, or by the court (Juvenile Court and Domestic Relations Court). Hearings held at The Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) are Administrative as they are held at the agency and are conducted by Administrative Hearing Officers. For more information about the Administrative Hearings, email or call 216-443-5234.

Administrative Orders and Judicial Orders are equally authoritative and enforceable; however, Judicial Orders have a wider range of authority. This means there are some issues that only the Courts can address. The Hearing Officers and Legal Service Assistants make up the Administrative Hearing Unit (commonly referred to as AHU). The Administrative Hearing Unit conducts hearings on the following items:

  • Establishment of Current Support (Legal Paternity must be established in advance)
  • Adjustment and Review (Modification) of current support orders
  • Terminations of Support
  • Mistake of Fact
  • Medical Mistake of Fact
  • National Medical Support Notice

Service of Process

Before an Administrative Hearing at OCSS can proceed, there must be verifiable Service of Process for BOTH parties. Service of Process is a legal term meaning that notice of the hearing was sent and verifiably received by the client.

  • If the client refused receipt of the notice and the refusal is verifiable, Service of Process is still achieved. In other words, there must be PROOF that the client received or refused the notice of the hearing.
  • If there is no Proof of Service for a party and that party does not appear for the hearing, the hearing may be rescheduled.
  • If there is no Proof of Service for a party and that party does appear for the hearing, a Waiver of Service will be offered to the party to sign. By signing the Waiver of Service, the party acknowledges they understand their right to Service of Process failed AND he or she is willing to waive it in order for the hearing to proceed as scheduled.

Addresses are extremely important! If you have a NEW address, or you or the other party has moved, please provide this information to OCSS as soon as possible to ensure Service of Process.

Administrative Hearing Notices

If you receive a hearing notice, be sure to review it for the date and time of the hearing. Also review the notice for the list of items to bring to the hearing. Items to provide at the hearing may include:

  • Income verification (printed pay stubs, W-2, 1040, 1099, Schedule C, letter of employment from employer; retirement payments;)
  • Unemployment Compensation (if applicable)
  • Social Security benefits (if applicable)
  • Insurance Cards
  • Cost of Insurance (for individual, plus one, and/or family)
  • Cost of child care (receipts, signed affidavit from child care provider, or child care voucher)
  • Out-of-State support orders (if paying)
  • Verification that the child is enrolled in school
  • Proof of Pending Court Matters
  • Verification of Disability


In calculating an amount for child support, the Hearing Officers are bound by law to follow the Guidelines. The Guidelines are a set of criteria created by State Lawmakers. Hearing Officers, Magistrates, and Judges are all bound by the Guidelines. However, Magistrates and Judges have some flexibility to consider other matters in addition to the Guidelines while Hearing Officers do not.

The Guidelines require an income amount for both parties. If a party is unemployed or underemployed, income must be imputed. Imputed income is income that the Hearing Officer determines that a person can reasonably earn if they were employed. However, various factors are considered when imputing income such as prior work history, age of the person, the local economy, etc. so there are a few exceptions where income is not always imputed when a party is unemployed or underemployed.

Cash Medical is considered part of a child support order, but cash medical is not child support per se. It is an additional amount of money paid along with the child support. Cash medical is a designated amount for medical support for the child. Though the amount is determined at the same time as the child support payment, it is only applicable if neither parent has affordable, private medical insurance available for the child.

Parenting Time Opportunities for Children (PTOC)

Parenting Time (commonly referred to as visitation), is a matter that is normally addressed by the court (Juvenile or Domestic Relations). Recently, the OCSS has been granted the authority to issue Parenting Time Orders on a limited basis. Parenting Time can be issued upon the establishment of NEW orders only if the parties are eligible, and both parties agree. Eligibility for PTOC is determined at the OCSS through an intake interview.

Adjustment and Review (Modification)

Either party may request an administrative hearing if they disagree with the recommended changes to the support obligation. At the hearing, the Hearing Officer will review the modification, including information previously submitted by the parties. Both parties will be given the opportunity to present new or additional information and/or give testimony. The Hearing Officer will not re-run the Modification Guidelines unless he/she has determined that an error exists, or new information needs to be considered. Either party may file an Objection with the proper Court if they disagree with the Hearing Officer’s Decision.

Emancipation and/or Termination

Either party may request an administrative hearing if they disagree with the recommendation to terminate support. The scope of the hearing is limited to whether support should be terminated; the date of termination; the reason for termination; remaining arrears on the case; and/or the ordered payment on arrears. Either party may file an Objection with the proper Court if they disagree with the Hearing Officer’s Decision.

Mistake of Fact

When arrears accumulate to exceed the monthly obligation, the OCSS may send an “Advance Notice of Default and Potential Action” to the Obligor (parent who is paying child support). This document will state the total amount of arrears owed and will inform that an additional 20% of the support obligation will be charged in effort to lower the arrears balance. The Obligor may request an administrative hearing if he disputes having arrears; the arrears stated; or disputes the additional arrears payment. The Hearing Officer will review the case, records or documentation provided by the Obligor, and listen to testimony. Upon conclusion of the hearing, The Hearing Officer will state whether a default exists. The Hearing Officer also has discretion to alter the amount of the arrears payment. If either party disagrees with the Hearing Officer’s Decision they may file a motion with the proper court.

Medical Mistake of Fact

If a party is ordered to provide private medical insurance, but the OCSS has no record that he or she is complying with the order, a notice will be sent to the party. The party may request a hearing if they dispute the notice or to provide proof of compliance.

National Medical Support Notice (NMSN)
If the OCSS determines that one or both parties have access to affordable, private medical insurance, a notice will be sent informing them that they are expected to provide medical insurance for the child. The party may request a hearing if they dispute the notice. The Hearing Officer will review any information or testimony provided by the parties to determine whether affordable private medical insurance is available to one or both parties.

Authorized Representatives

An Authorized Representative is someone (usually an attorney) who attends the hearing with the client or in place of the client. An Authorized Representation Form must be signed by the client and submitted to the OCSS. Once an Authorized Representative Form is on file the person named, can receive information contained in the file and make changes on behalf of the client he/she is representing.


Either party may request to continue (reschedule) a hearing. The Hearing Officer has discretion to grant or deny the request.


Only the party seeking child support or the party who requested a hearing may request a dismissal of the hearing. The Hearing Officer has discretion to grant or deny the request.

Phone Hearings

A phone hearing may be requested if special circumstances exist, including but not limited to: the parent is incarcerated; lives more than an hour’s drive from the OCSS; is enlisted in the military; or domestic violence. Phone Hearing requests must be in writing, dated, and signed by the party requesting the phone hearing. A copy of the requestor’s state issued I.D. is required.

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