Frequently Asked Questions
Additional Frequently Asked Questions are answered on the California Department of Child Support Services website.
If you did not find the answer you are looking for here please contact our office by phone at 1-866-901-3212, by text at 1-805-316-6272 or by email at email@example.com.
The other parent’s name and any other helpful information such as place of employment, home and work address, date of birth and any existing court order information.
Any parent can enroll for child support services. We can open cases for non-parent payees when public assistance is granted or verification of legal guardianship is provided.
There is no charge to open a case or establish a court order. There will be a $35 annual fee if the Department of Child Support Services successfully collects more than $500 during the year and the party receiving support has never received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
To enroll for services online, please click here.
If you prefer to complete a paper application, you may:
The child support obligation is based on the income of both parents, the amount of time each parent cares for the children, and several other factors. The court uses child support guidelines provided by the California Family Code. The Guideline Calculator used in court is available to the public on the California DCSS Website.
If you do not have a child support court order, our office will establish one for you. The process begins with a lawsuit for child support called a Summons and Complaint. The parent who will be paying will be served with the Summons and Complaint and will have 30 days to file an answer with the court or agree to an order for support.
If she/he makes no contact with our office, the court will enter a judgment based on the information in the Summons and Complaint. This process can be delayed if the parent paying support lives in another state or if we do not have a current address for her/him.
If you were served with a Summons and Complaint, please do not ignore it. If you want a hearing, you or your attorney should file an answer. You may also contact this office to resolve the case. If you do not respond, it may result in a court order that is not based on actual circumstances.
“Parentage” is the recognition of a parent’s legal relationship to a child.
The Parentage Opportunity Program (POP) is a voluntary program for eligible parents to establish legal parentage free of charge. This significantly decreases the time and money required to establish legal parentage through the lengthy and expensive court process. A filed Voluntary Declaration of Parentage (VDOP) has the same force and effect as a judgement for parentage issued by a court.
To learn more about the Parentage Opportunity Program please visit California Department of Child Support.
The court cannot order the a parent to pay child support until parentage is legally established. Parentage establishment allows the child to be eligible for coverage under parent’s health insurance plan, receive social security, military &/or survivor benefits.
If parentage is at issue and you have been served with a Summons and Complaint you may be able to request genetic testing. For information, contact us by phone at 866-901-3212, by text 805-316-6272 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call our office to discuss the case and/or make an appointment. You may also respond to the Summons and Complaint by completing the Answer contained in the packet and filing it with the Superior Court clerk within 30 days.
If you were served with the Summons and Complaint and do not respond, we will ask the court for a Default Judgment. The Proposed Judgment served with the Summons and Complaint will be made an order of the court.
When you file an Answer with the court, you will be given a court date to appear. At the hearing, you will have an opportunity to contest the Proposed Judgment.
Yes. If both parents agree to a child support amount, you can avoid going to court by signing a stipulation, a court order mutually agreed upon. We invite you to visit our office to discuss your case. To schedule an appointment, please contact us by phone at 1-866-901-3212, by text 1-805-316-6272 or by email at DCSS.Outreach@ventura.org, or visit our office at 5171 Verdugo Way, Camarillo, CA 93012. When you contact us, we will ask you for information regarding your income (e.g. pay stubs, proof of unemployment/disability benefits, etc.) and medical insurance coverage.
Case Management and Changes
Changing the child support amount is called a “modification” of the support order. Either party may ask for a review of their child support order by contacting the Department of Child Support Services. Documents will be sent to both parties to complete and return. For us to proceed, you must complete and return the documents within 20 days. You always have the option of making your request directly to the court.
When there is a change of visitation or custody of the child, you may either ask our office to review the court order for a modification or go to court and ask for a hearing. In some instances, the court ordered amount may be reduced or the other parent may be required to pay support when a change in custody or visitation occurs.
If you are the party that enrolled for services you may request case closure. We cannot honor the request if the children are receiving public assistance. If the children are not receiving public assistance but arrears are owed to the state, the case will remain open to enforce those arrears only.
After an order for child support is established, a wage assignment is sent to the parent paying support’s employer with instructions on how much to deduct and where to send the payments.
You are still obligated to pay your support, but you can call our office and ask to have your case reviewed for modification. If the Department of Child Support Services is unable to honor your request you may file a request directly with the court.
In California, the monthly child support obligation stops once a child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. Support may be charged up the child’s 19th birthday if proof of full-time high school attendance is provided in writing. The court may order child support to continue beyond the age of 18 in special circumstances. When the child emancipates, any past due support balance owed, remains due and payable.
Parties receiving support have three (3) methods to receive their child support payments. These methods include:
- Direct Deposit – Your payment is automatically deposited into your checking or savings account
- Way2Go Card – Similar to an ATM or debit card. When a payment is received and processed, it is then applied to the card.
- Bank check sent to your current mailing address
You can sign up for Direct Deposit:
- To sign up for Direct Deposit, access the California State Disbursement Unit (SDU) website here (you will then be taken to the SDU website). Then, select “Person Receiving Support” and you will be taken to the Direct Deposit sign up option.
- by calling 1-866-901-3212, then selecting option 1, option 3 and then option 2
- by picking up a paper application at your LCSA
Paper applications should be mailed to:
CA State Disbursement Unit (SDU)
PO Box 989064
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9064
For Parents of Children Receiving Public Assistance (TANF or Medi-Cal)
We are required to open a case and pursue child support when children are receiving cash aid or MediCal and one parent is not in the home. The Human Services Agency sends us a referral notifying us that aid is active..
Our office must establish parentage and a court order for child support when children are receiving public assistance.
By law, when you receive public assistance you assign your rights to child support. This gives the state the right to keep any child, spousal, and medical support money that was owed to you while you received public assistance.
If you are receiving public assistance and you do not cooperate, your benefits may be affected. To “cooperate” means you must provide information and documents needed by the Department of Child Support Services to establish parentage, locate the other parent, and to help secure payments for your children. To be excused from cooperating, you may claim “Good Cause” with the Human Services Agency. Good Cause means you have acceptable reasons for not cooperating such as the probability of physical or emotional harm to you or your children. If the Human Services Agency finds that there is a Good Cause, we will close our case.
No. As long as you cooperate with the Department of Child Support Services and your eligibility will not be affected by the other parent’s failure to pay.
We will continue to collect child support on your behalf unless you ask us to close your portion of your case. If you request that we close your portion of the case, the case may remain open to collect any child support arrears owed for the time period you were receiving public assistance.
Privacy laws prohibit our office from discussing or verifying any aspect of your case with the third parties. If an attorney is representing you in the child support case, our office cannot speak with you directly without authorization from your attorney. Even with authorization, we can only provide general information without your attorney present.
The Department of Child Support Services may enforce a spousal support obligation as long as there is an active child support obligation being enforced.
Our agency only handles matters related to child support. Custody and visitation issues must be addressed through the courts. You may see the Family Law Facilitator at the Ventura County Hall of Justice, Rm 30 to provide child support information and assistance to parents. Family Law Facilitators help parents obtain and complete court forms and all services provided are free of charge.
Even when parents or guardians live in different states, a child support case can be opened at your Local Child Support Agency (LCSA). The LCSA can work with the other state to establish or enforce the support order.
Yes, even when parents live in different states, a child support case can be opened at your Local Child Support Agency (LCSA). The LCSA will work with you and the other state to establish an order or enforce the current support order.
All states are required to pursue all child support enforcement program functions for out-of-state cases in the same way they do for in-state cases. All states must cooperate with each other in these matters.
Direct Payments occur when the parent paying support gives money directly to the custodial party. This is not allowed when a case is open with the Department of Child Support Services as all payments must be made through the State Disbursement Unit.
California law has various provisions that determine when the child support obligation will end. In general, child support continues until:
- The child becomes legally emancipated through marriage, military service or court order
- The child turns 18
- If the child is still in high school, child support will continue until the child completes high school or turns 19, whichever comes first
- The court may order child support to continue beyond the 18th birthday regardless of age or school enrollment in some cases
Full-time Student Verification forms will be sent to the parent receiving support several months before the child turns 18. It is important that these forms be given to the school to complete and return them to our office. If we do not receive verification of school enrollment, we must stop charging child support in the month the child turns 18.
The court may order child support to continue beyond the age of 18 in special circumstances. When the child emancipates, any past due support balance owed, remains due and payable.