Child Support Collection

Child Support Collection Procedures

Anyone who has a child support and/or medical support order, or wants to establish such should go to or by calling 1-866-901-3212.

In order to start collection procedures for child support, the following steps need to be taken:

1. Open a Child Support Case

Any parent or guardian of a minor child in need of support may open a case with their local child support agency (LCSA). Once the completed application is received, the agency will contact you within ten (10) days from case opening.

2. Locate the Non-custodial Parent

The LCSA will need to locate the non-custodial parent to get an order for support, establish paternity or enforce a child support order. If the non-custodial parent's location is not known, there are various resources to attempt to gather information including: employment/unemployment records, credit reporting agency records, social services records, motor vehicle registration and driver’s license records, United States Postal Services, current and previous employers, current and previous utility companies, law enforcement agencies, parole and probation offices, state licensing boards and military records.

3. Establish Paternity

Paternity or fatherhood must be established before the court will order child support. If the child is conceived during marriage, paternity does not need to be established.

When an unmarried woman has a child, paternity must be established to provide the child with the same legal rights as a child born to married parents. For more information about establishing paternity, go to

4. Establish a Support Order

To establish a new child support and medical support order, a Summons and Complaint needs to be filed. The Summons and Complaint will include information about the child’s paternity, the amount of child support requested, and a request for medical support. The Summons and Complaint and a blank answer form are personally served to the non-custodial parent, who then has 30 days to file a response with the court.

5. Enforce a Support Order

Once a child support order is obtained, an Income Withholding Order (Wage Assignment) and National Medical Support Notice is served to the non-custodial parent's employer. Regular child support payments will then be withheld from the non-custodial parent’s wages. Usually within 10 days.

If a non-custodial parent is late or fails to pay court ordered child support, the LCSA has several enforcement tools to collect the support including: credit reporting, passport denial, property liens, suspending licenses, DCSS Full Collection Program and income tax refund intercepts.

6. Collect and Distribute Child Support Payments

Once a child support payment is received by the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) from either the non-custodial parent, the non-custodial parent's employer or through another enforcement method, LCSA will distribute the payment.

Families that are receiving public assistance through CalWorks or Foster Care assign their rights to child support to the County. Child support collected goes toward paying for these benefits.

7. Modify an Existing Child Support Order

Either parent may request a review for a modification of child support. A significant change in circumstances, such as a change in custody, in income or visitation may warrant a modification review. A modification may be justified if the support order would change by 20% or $50, whichever is less. If appropriate, our office will initiate modification proceedings which may result in an increase or decrease in child support ordered.

How Is Child Support Calculated?

Some factors that are considered in calculating child support are parent's income, time spent by each parent with the child/children (called the "J" Factor) and other factors such as child care expenses, home mortgage payments, tax filing status, and other costs that determine the family's financial situation. All California judges and courts follow the same guidelines when calculating child support. Because this formula is so complicated, the court depends on a computer program called a DissomasterTM to calculate monthly child support amounts. You and your spouse are responsible for providing the data to insert into the program. The California Guideline Child Support Calculator can be found here: CLICK HERE