Child Support Enforcement
What is this service?
For non-custodial parents/obligors who don't make the court ordered payments there are a number of ways to pursue enforcement for collection of support. LCSA's are mandated by the state to issue an income withholding order (IWO) to the non-custodial parents/obligors employer. If the IWO is not honored or the non-custodial parent/obligor's employer is unknown there are further actions to consider for enforcement. Due to the nature of each case being unique, the best method of enforcement is determined on a case-by-case basis.
- Income Withholding Order (IWO)
- National Medical Support Notice (NMSN)
- License Suspension (SLMS)
- Credit Reporting
- Seek-Work Order/Judgment Debtor's Exam
- Civil Contempt
Who can use this service?
If you are a parent, caretaker, or legal guardian with custody of a minor child, you may apply for Child Support Services.
Is there a charge for this service?
Under federal law, the California Department of Child Support Services is required to charge a yearly service fee for certain, non-assisted cases. If the fee applies to you, you will receive an annual service fee assessment notice in October for each case to which the fee applies. This annual fee changes from $25 to $35 on cases that received payments equal to or more than $550 when assessed on 10/1/2020, and annually thereafter.
When and where is this service offered?
This service is available throughout the year during regular business hours except during scheduled holidays.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I collect child support from the parent paying support if they live out of state?
Even when parents or guardians live in different states, a child support case can be opened at your LCSA. The LCSA can work with the other state to establish or enforce the support order.
How long do I have to pay child support?
Child support generally continues until the minor child emancipates or until otherwise noted in the child support order. Under California law, a parent’s obligation to pay support continues until the child becomes eighteen (18) years old. However, the current support obligation may continue until the child is nineteen (19), if the child is unmarried and attending high school full time. Also a court may order current child support to continue after the child emancipates because of special circumstances.
If there are arrears (past due support) owed on the child support case, the LCSA may continue to enforce collection of the arrears until the case is paid in full, including any accrued interest.
I am receiving CalWORKs or KinGAP, does this affect my child support?
Yes, your child support will be affected, contact your LCSA for more information.
Click here to Contact San Luis Obispo County Department of Child Support Services
I have a California Support Order and the other parent now lives in another state. Can the California court change the standing State's Court Order?
No. Laws known as the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) prevent a state from changing another state’s court order. If the child lives here and an order is issued in California, only a California court can change it.
I have tried speaking to someone about my child support case, but I am not getting my questions answered. What can I do?
The Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) continuously strives to ensure that individuals receive the highest level of service through the program’s 51 Local Child Support Agencies (LCSAs).
If you are not satisfied with the customer service you received from the LCSA, you can speak to the LCSA Ombudsperson. The Ombudsperson helps you resolve issues with your child support case, explains rights and responsibilities, and helps you get child support services.
If the LCSA cannot find the parent ordered to pay support, can I still get CalWORKS, KinGAP, or Medi-Cal benefits?
Yes. If you are eligible and cooperate with the Local Child Support Agency (LCSA), you can receive CalWORKS, KinGAP, or Medi-Cal benefits while the LCSA tries to find the parent.
My driver's license has been suspended due to child support. How can I get a release?
To get a release of your driver's license, you must contact the Local Child Support Agency (LCSA) handling your child support case. They can assist you in making arrangements to obtain a release.
My passport has a hold on it. How can I get a release?
Federal law requires that a parent paying support who has past-due (arrears) child support in excess of $2,500 shall not be issued a passport. In California, you must bring your arrears balance to zero ($0.00) by paying it in full or having the case closed in order to get your passport released. Contact your Local Child Support Agency (LCSA) to make arrangements to bring your arrears to zero ($0.00) or if you have additional questions regarding the release of your passport.
What happens when the parent ordered to pay support has money to pay child support but still won’t pay?
Individuals can assist the LCSA by providing any information they have about the parent’s whereabouts, income, place of employment and assets such as homes, cars, etc. The court may find a parent in contempt of court if that parent has the ability to pay but is willfully not paying the child support. This enforcement tool is used only when all others have failed.
What is the Child Support Warning Notice (CSWN)?
The CSWN is a notice that the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) sends annually to all parents ordered to pay support who have an arrears balance. The CSWN provides information regarding the arrears balance and some of the various avenues that are available to assist in collecting the child support arrears. If you have any questions regarding this notice, please contact your LCSA at 1-866-901-3212.
What should I do if the parent paying support moves away?
Tell the LCSA when you or the parent paying support moves – no matter where. Child support can be enforced anywhere in the United States. For the party receiving support, the LCSA can transfer your child support case to the county or state where you move.
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