Child Support in California

The Department of Child Support Services in California works with both noncustodial and custodial parents to make sure that their children receive needed child support. California has 52 county and regional agencies that are collectively known as LCSAs. For comprehensive information about the organization there is a very thorough DCSS Handbook available at:

Annual Fee for California Child Support Service

Under Federal Law (the Federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005) families are required to charge families that have never received TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families a $25 annual application fee as long as a minimum of $500 is collected from the non-custodial parent on the child’s behalf. This fee is assessed annually in October.

California Child Support Rules

The LCSA in your area asks the court to issue an order for the non-paying parent to appear. It is almost always the Court Commissioner of Family Law Judge who decides how much child support is required and who pays. The order can also take many forms and may be interim, temporary, permanent or modified and may be the result of a divorce, paternity call, and child custody ruling or back child support request. The court might also order that the non-custodial parent pay such items as medical support, daycare costs and other add–ons.

If you are asked to pay the child support then you must do so within thirty days of the date from which you are served to do so. If you disagree then you have to file an Answer Complaint form within thirty days of filing.

Both sides must also submit an Income and Expense Declaration and then agree on support or appear in court. The court then sets the child support amount. The LCSA then issues an Income Withholding Order to the non-custodial parent’s employer if necessary.

If there is no record about the income that the non-custodial parent is asked to pay then the court can ask the individual to pay a presumed amount.

It is possible to have your non-custodial child support payment reduced if you are enduring hardship.

Through the California Department of Child Support Services at you can do it all including check your child support account, make a payment online, contact a caseworker at your LCSA or take part in POP (the Paternity Opportunity Program. This progressive California child services support agency even offers an app that allows you to