Collecting Child Support
The Santa Clara County Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) strives to make sure that the custodial person receives prompt and full child support payments.
Our primary tool for collecting Child Support is the Income Withholding Order (IWO). An IWO is a deduction from income; Federal regulations require that we issue an IWO when a new or modified order is established.
Other collection tools include liens, license revocations of permanent, state-issued licenses and tax refund intercepts.
Regarding distribution of Child Support collections, regulations require that we process a payment within two (2) days of the date we receive it.
Other Collection Tools
We use other collection tools, including:
Suspending licenses: Permanent, state-issued licenses can be suspended or withheld to collect past due Child Support. This includes professional, business, and driver's licenses. If the non-custodial parent receives a license suspension notice in the mail, the parent may need to contact us immediately to determine what arrangements might be made to get his/her license back; this will often require payment of some or all of the past due Child Support.
Liens on property: when property is bought, sold or refinanced, past due Child Support may be collected from the proceeds.
Intercepting state and federal tax refunds: The Internal Revenue Service and the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) may intercept state and federal tax refunds to pay past due Child Support. The law requires that we submit to intercept any arrears (back Child Support not paid) plus interest. The minimum amount for the FTB is currently $100. The Minimum amount for the IRS is currently $150 for welfare arrears and $500 for non-welfare arrears. DCSS submits accounts in early August and reports changes each month.
We also intercept disability insurance benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, lottery winnings and lump sum workers' compensation awards.
Full Collection Program (FCP): Anytime a person is more than $100 and 60 days past due in paying Child Support, FCP is empowered to collect back Child Support. It can take real and personal property, funds from bank accounts, rental incomes, royalties, dividends and commissions.
Contempt citations in court and sometimes filing criminal complaints: We take these actions when a non-custodial parent who has the ability to pay willfully refuses to pay court-ordered Child Support.
Visit the Non-Custodial Parent section of the CA DCSS website
Link to Guideline Calculator