Chapter 5. Complaint Resolution of California Family Law Code >> Division 17. >> Chapter 5.
Each local child support agency shall maintain a complaint
resolution process. The department shall specify by regulation, no
later than July 1, 2001, uniform forms and procedures that each local
child support agency shall use in resolving all complaints received
from custodial and noncustodial parents. A complaint shall be made
within 90 days after the custodial or noncustodial parent affected
knew or should have known of the child support action complained of.
The local child support agency shall provide a written resolution of
the complaint within 30 days of the receipt of the complaint. The
director of the local child support agency may extend the period for
resolution of the complaint an additional 30 days in accordance with
the regulations adopted pursuant to Section 17804.
(a) A custodial or noncustodial parent who is dissatisfied
with the local child support agency's resolution of a complaint shall
be accorded an opportunity for a state hearing when any one or more
of the following actions or failures to take action by the department
or the local child support agency is claimed by the parent:
(1) An application for child support services has been denied or
has not been acted upon within the required timeframe.
(2) The child support services case has been acted upon in
violation of state or federal law or regulation or department letter
ruling, or has not yet been acted upon within the required timeframe,
including services for the establishment, modification, and
enforcement of child support orders and child support accountings.
(3) Child support collections have not been distributed or have
been distributed or disbursed incorrectly, or the amount of child
support arrears, as calculated by the department or the local child
support agency is inaccurate. The amount of the court order for
support, including current support and arrears, is not subject to a
state hearing under this section.
(4) The child support agency's decision to close a child support
(b) Prior to requesting a hearing pursuant to subdivision (a), the
custodial or noncustodial parent shall exhaust the complaint
resolution process required in Section 17800, unless the local child
support agency has not, within the 30-day period required by that
section, submitted a written resolution of the complaint. If the
custodial or noncustodial parent does not receive that timely written
resolution he or she may request a hearing pursuant to subdivision
(c) A hearing shall be provided under subdivision (a) when the
request for a hearing is made within 90 days after receiving the
written notice of resolution required in Section 17800 or, if no
written notice of resolution is provided within 30 days from the date
the complaint was made, within 90 days after making the complaint.
(d) (1) A hearing under subdivision (a) shall be set to commence
within 45 days after the request is received by the state hearing
office, and at least 10 days prior to the hearing, all parties shall
be given written notice of the time and place of the hearing. Unless
the time period is waived by the complainant, the proposed hearing
decision shall be rendered by the state hearing office within 75 days
after the request for a state hearing is received by the state
hearing office. The department shall have 15 days from the date the
proposed decision is rendered to act upon the decision. When a
hearing is postponed, continued, or reopened with the consent of the
complainant, the time for issuance of the decision, and action on the
decision by the department, shall be extended for a period of time
consistent with the postponement, continuance, or reopening.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, the "state hearing office"
refers to the division of the office or agency designated by the
department to carry out state hearings, that conducts those state
(e) To the extent not inconsistent with this section, hearings
under subdivision (a) shall be provided in the same manner in which
hearings are provided in Sections 10950 to 10967 of the Welfare and
Institutions Code and the State Department of Social Services'
regulations implementing and interpreting those sections.
(f) Pendency of a state hearing shall not affect the obligation to
comply with an existing child support order.
(g) Any child support determination that is subject to the
jurisdiction of the superior court and that is required by law to be
addressed by motion, order to show cause, or appeal under this code
shall not be subject to a state hearing under this section. The
director shall, by regulation, specify and exclude from the subject
matter jurisdiction of state hearings provided under subdivision (a),
grievances arising from a child support case in the superior court
which must, by law, be addressed by motion, order to show cause, or
appeal under this code.
(h) The local child support agency and the Franchise Tax Board
shall comply with, and execute, every decision of the director
rendered pursuant to this section.
(i) The director shall contract with the State Department of
Social Services or the Office of Administrative Hearings for the
provision of state hearings in accordance with this section.
(j) This section shall be implemented only to the extent that
there is federal financial participation available at the child
support funding rate set forth in Section 655(a)(2) of Title 42 of
the United States Code.
To the extent that a custodial or noncustodial parent has a
complaint concerning the action or inaction of the Franchise Tax
Board in any child support case referred to the Franchise Tax Board
pursuant to Section 17400, that complaint shall be resolved pursuant
to Section 17800 by the local child support agency that is
responsible for the case. The Franchise Tax Board shall cooperate
with the local child support agency in resolving the complaint within
the timeframes required by Section 17800. If the custodial or
noncustodial parent requests a hearing pursuant to Section 17801, the
Franchise Tax Board shall ensure that a representative attends the
hearing if deemed necessary by the local child support agency.
The custodial or noncustodial parent, within one year after
receiving notice of the director's final decision, may file a
petition with the superior court, under Section 1094.5 of the Code of
Civil Procedure, praying for a review of the entire proceedings in
the matter, upon questions of law involved in the case. The review,
if granted, shall be the exclusive remedy available to the custodial
or noncustodial parent for review of the director's decision. The
director shall be the sole respondent in the proceedings. No filing
fee shall be required for the filing of a petition pursuant to this
section. Any such petition to the superior court shall be entitled to
a preference in setting a date for hearing on the petition. No bond
shall be required in the case of any petition for review, nor in any
appeal therefrom. The custodial or noncustodial parent shall be
entitled to reasonable attorney's fees and costs, if he or she
obtains a decision in his or her favor.
Each local child support agency shall establish the
complaint resolution process specified in Section 17800. The
department shall implement the state hearing requirements specified
in Section 17801 no later than July 1, 2001.