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General FAQ Information

 What is child support?
Child support is defined by law as the ongoing monetary expenditures and payments necessary to cover a child’s living and medical expenses. Both parents have a legal duty to provide financial support for their children. The court may order either or both parents to make ongoing payments to cover a child’s living and medical expenses.

 How do I open a child support case?
Click here to apply online using SOLA, the statewide online application for Child Support Services. If you prefer, you can have an application packet mailed to you. Applications for service are also available at any one of our offices. Completed applications with an original signature can be mailed or dropped off at any one of our offices to be processed. For more information on opening a case, click PUB 246: Opening a Child Support Case

 What can I expect when I visit DCSS?
DCSS needs your help and cooperation to open a case. A caseworker will ask for information about you, your children, and the other parent. The more information the caseworker has, the faster a child support order can be obtained. When you open a child support case, the process to obtain child support begins.

 Can I still open a child support case even if the other parent has been gone a long time?
Yes. The longer parents are gone, the harder it may be to find them, but DCSS has a number of tools which it uses to locate absent parents.

 Can DCSS establish an order if I don't know where the parent is working?
DCSS will still pursue establishment of a court order. The parent will still need to be served with appropriate legal documents to obtain an order.

 After a case is opened, how long does it take to receive child support payments?
Receiving child support payments depends on the circumstances of each individual case, such as: paternity needs to be established, the other parent needs to be located, current employment information is not available, and a court order exists or needs to be obtained.

 Why did the welfare office refer my case to DCSS?
When the custodial party receives cash aid or Medi-Cal, a referral is automatically made to DCSS to open a child support case against the absent parent. If the parents reside together, the welfare office may refer the case to the child support office for paternity establishment if paternity for the children has not legally been established through a Declaration of Paternity or a court order.

 Is my child support case open to the public?
Child support case information is not open to the public, but court files may be public record.

 What should I do if the parent required to pay child support moves away?
Tell DCSS when and where you or the other parent moves. Child support can be enforced anywhere in the United States and in many foreign countries.