Child Support Law
The Child Support Process in California
Anyone who has a child support and/or a 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. The Welfare Department will automatically refer parents, who receive public assistance, including MediCal, to the FSD or local child support agency. The FSD or local child support agency will take the following steps to collect support from a noncustodial parent.
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 FSD or local child support agency will also open a case for any individual receiving CalWORKS and/or MediCal who has been referred by the county Welfare Department. The more information the custodial party gives about the case, the better service the FSD or local child support agency can provide.
Locate the Parent
To get an order for support, establish paternity or enforce a child support order, the FSD or local child support agency must know where the noncustodial parent lives or works. The FSD or local child support agency will make every effort to locate the noncustodial parent.
If paternity (fatherhood) has not been established, the FSD or local child support agency will take the necessary steps to establish paternity. (Paternity must be established before child support and medical support can be ordered by the court.)
Establish a Support Order
If a court order for child support does not already exist, and the noncustodial parent is located, an order will be sought by the FSD or local child support agency and established by the court based on both parents` ability to pay support and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. The FSD or local child support agency will also request that the court require the noncustodial parent to provide health insurance for the child. The court will order the noncustodial parent to provide health insurance if it is available at a reasonable cost.
Enforcement of Support Orders
The FSD or local child support agency will take steps to enforce court orders for child support and medical support. Enforcement action will be taken by the FSD or local child support agency if the noncustodial parent does not pay or pays less than the amount ordered, or if the noncustodial parent does not provide health insurance for the child as ordered by the court. The FSD or local child support agency will determine the type of enforcement action to be taken, consistent with state and federal regulations.