California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) is a state-run program that helps children and families receive the court-ordered support that they are entitled to receive, including both financial and medical support. A network of 51 counties and regional child support agencies provide services to roughly 1.4 million children and families regarding child support. In fact, the DCSS touches virtually every aspect of child support for California residents.
Child support is an important part of a child’s life because it provides valuable resources for a parent to care for his or her child. When a parent fails to pay their support, there can be legal consequences. DCSS helps parents establish, collect, and maintain child support orders. DCSS recognizes that both parents need to provide support for their children, and encourages parents to file for court-ordered support if necessary.
DCSS provides the following services to the general public in California:
- Locating parents
- Establishing and maintaining court-ordered support
- Establishing paternity
- Collecting and processing child support payments
- Working with other states to enforce child support orders
These services are extremely valuable for many parents in California. Use of services provided by the DCSS is also required by those who are taking advantage of California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) benefits.
DCSS does not handle custody or visitation issues. Instead, those issues will need to be addressed by a family law court.
Using an Attorney to Collect Child Support
Determining the right amount of child support and collecting support can be complicated. While the DCSS can help you with this process, this state-sponsored agency cannot give you the type of individualized attention that an attorney can provide. A family law attorney can help you with all of the functions that the DCSS can do while also providing personalized attention.
If you and the other parent do not agree regarding the amount of child support, an attorney can negotiate on your behalf. Your attorney will actually fill out all of the necessary forms for you and will speak on your behalf at any trial or hearing. Going to court can be intimidating, but having an experienced family law attorney on your side can help the process go a lot smoother.
The DCSS also does not deal with visitation or custody issues. These issues are often intertwined with child support, so having an attorney to address all of these areas at once is often more efficient and cost-effective.
For more information about how an attorney can help you with child support matters in California or to schedule a free consultation, call (949) 353-6151.