Frequently Asked Questions
There is no charge to open a case or establish a court order. There will be a $25 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).
Any parent can apply for child support services. We can open cases for non-parent payees when public assistance is granted or verification of legal guardianship is provided.
The other parent’s name and Social Security number are the most important pieces of information needed. Other helpful information would include place of employment, home and work address, date of birth and any existing court order information.
The court cannot order the non-custodial parent to pay child support until paternity is legally established.
Once paternity is established, the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) will establish a child and medial support order. After establishing an order, the DCSS will use all resources available to enforce the court order.
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.
If you have been served with a Summons and Complaint you may be able to request genetic testing. For information, call our office at 1-866-901-3212.
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.
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. Call our office to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.
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 applied 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 non-custodial parent’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.
For Parents of Children Receiving Public Assistance (TANF or MediCal)
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 paternity 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 paternity, 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 non-custodial 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.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions are answered on the California Department of Child Support Services website:
For definitions of some common child support terms please see the Glossary at:
If you did not find the answer you are looking for here please contact our office at 1-866-901-3212.
NOTE: As a convenience to our visitors, this page may contain links to external websites that are not managed or controlled by the County of Ventura.