Establish Child and Medical Support

Who is eligible?

California's Child Support Services Program works with parents - the person paying support (PPS) and the person receiving support (PRS) - and guardians to ensure children and families receive court-ordered financial and medical support. Either parent (PPS or PRS), or the caretaker/ guardian of a child may open a Child Support Case by completing an application. DCSS will also open a case for any individual receiving California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS) who has been referred by the county Department of Social Services. Court ordered legal guardians of a child, who do not receive Calworks may also open a case for support against both parents.

When and where is this service offered?

This service is available throughout the year during regular business hours except during scheduled holidays.


Within thirty (30) days of receiving the Summons and Complaint, you should complete and file the Answer form, included in the Summons and Complaint packet, with the Superior Court clerk. If you need assistance, contact your LCSA or Family Law Facilitator in your county.

Child support is determined using guidelines established by California law. Child support amounts are based on each parent’s monthly income and the amount of time the child is cared for by each parent.

The Court Commissioner or Family Law Judge will set the amount of a Child Support Order. The Court will consider income from all sources. The income can be in the form of money, property, or services and can include:

  • Wages from a job
  • Tips
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses
  • Self-employment earnings
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Disability and workers’ compensation
  • Interest
  • Dividends
  • Rental income
  • Social Security or pensions
  • Any payments or credits due or becoming due, regardless of the source, including lottery and prize winnings.

For more information, see the California Guideline Child Support Calculator.

If you have any questions about the child support guidelines, you should talk with a lawyer, contact a Family Law Facilitator, or call your LCSA at 1-866-901-3212.  LCSA employees can give you general information, but cannot give you legal advice.

Yes. If you respond to the Summons and Complaint and contest parentage or the amount of child support requested, you will be given a court date.

Yes. You can avoid going to court by signing a legal agreement (stipulation). The parent paying support and the LCSA can agree (stipulate) on the amount of child support if the party receiving support is receiving welfare benefits. If neither parent is receiving welfare benefits, then both parents may sign a legal agreement (stipulation) that establishes paternity and makes a formal arrangement to make child support payments.
Yes. Health insurance must be included in any Child Support Order. Even if it isn’t available immediately, the court order will order both parents to provide insurance when it does become available. This applies to all cases.
Stipulations vary with circumstances, but the usual stipulation contains the agreement that the parent paying support is:
  • the parent of the child
  • willing to pay child support
  • willing to provide health insurance for the child if it is available through the parent’s employer
  • willing to allow the court to enter an order without appearing in court
If the parent does not respond, the estimated child support payment stated in the Summons and Complaint will be the amount of child support ordered by the court. When the Court enters the order, the parent will need to ask the Court for permission to challenge it.