Anyone who has a child support and/or medical support order, or wants to establish one, can apply for child support enforcement services by completing an application form. After the application form is signed, the child support process begins. Parents who receive public assistance, including Medi-Cal, will automatically be referred to the DCSS by the Welfare Department. The DCSS will take the following steps to collect support from a non-custodial parent
Step 1: Open A Child Support Case
Either parent, or the caretaker/guardian of a child, may open a child support case by completing an application. The DCSS will also open a case for any individual receiving Welfare and/or Medi-Cal who has been referred by the county Welfare Department. The more information the custodial party gives about the case, the better service the DCSS can provide. Services are available to all persons whether or not they are receiving public assistance
Step 2: Locate the Parent
To get an order for support, establish paternity or enforce a child support order, the DCSS must know where the non-custodial parent lives or works. The DCSS will make every effort to locate the non-custodial parent.
Step 3: Establish Paternity
If paternity (fatherhood) has not yet been established, the DCSS will take the necessary steps to establish paternity. (Paternity must be established before child and medical support can be ordered by the court.)
Step 4: Establish a Support Order
If a court order for child support does not already exist, and the non-custodial parent is located, one will be sought by the DCSS and established by the court based on both parent's ability to pay support, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, and the financial needs of the child. The DCSS will also request that the court require the non-custodial parent to provide health insurance for the child.. The court will order the non-custodial parent to provide health insurance if it is available at a reasonable cost.
Step 5: Enforcement of Support Orders
The DCSS will take steps to enforce court orders for child support and medical support. Enforcement action will be taken by the DCSS if the non custodial parent does not pay or pays less than the amount ordered, or if the non-custodial parent does not provide health insurance for the child as ordered by the court. The DCSS will determine what type of enforcement action is to be taken, consistent with state and federal regulations.