Child Support Services
The mission of the California Child Support Services Program is to promote the well-being of children and the self sufficiency of families by assisting both parents to meet the financial, medical, and emotional needs of their children through the delivery of quality child support establishment, collection and distribution services.
California’s Child Support Services Program works with parents — custodial and non-custodial — and guardians to ensure children and families receive court-ordered financial and medical support. Child support services are available to the general public through a network of 52 county and regional child support agencies (LCSAs).
Many parents and children who become separated have a need to locate each other at some other point in their lives. In some cases, these parents have never met their children, or have not seen their children for many years. Our local child support agencies can bring parents and children together in a very productive and positive way, both financially and emotionally.
To obtain or enforce a child support order, the LCSA must locate the non-custodial parent. Custodial parents can help the LCSA by providing any information they may have about the non-custodial parent’s whereabouts, income and assets.
Paternity in the child support program means fatherhood. The child’s paternity must be established prior to a court ordering child support and medical support. Genetic testing is generally accepted as proof of fatherhood, and is available through local child support agencies in California, at no cost to the participants.
Unmarried parents can also establish paternity by signing a voluntary Declaration of Paternity. This form can be completed at the hospital after the child is born or by the parents after they leave the hospital.
Establishing a Child Support Order
Trying to provide for basic necessities such as food and clothing, is a financial challenge for many families. Child support helps by ensuring that both parents share the financial responsibility for their children.
The amount of a child support order results from a mathematical calculation specified in the statute that takes into consideration several factors, including the parents’ incomes, childcare and visitation. The financial factors of both parents are considered in this calculation. Child support is a legal obligation that is recognized by the courts, and is enforceable through local child support offices in California.
Enforcing Child Support Orders
The California child support program has an array of tools and services designed to make the collection of child support efficient and effective including wage assignments, real estate property liens, income tax intercepts, passport denial, license suspension and criminal prosecution.
Collecting and Disbursing Child Support
Unless the court approves a different payment method, child support payments must be withheld from a non custodial parent’s paycheck. A wage withholding order is sent to the employer. The wage withholding remains in effect as long as there is an obligation and the parent remains employed. Payments may also be made by check, recurring automatic withdrawals from checking account, money order and/or debit/credit card.
Child Support payments can be disbursed through using Direct Deposit, Electronic Payment Card (EPC) or Check.