CHILD SUPPORT is money paid by both parents to meet their child's living and medical expenses. In addition to child support, the court may also order payment of expenses such as child care, doctor and dental bills, and transportation.
Once paternity has been established, DCSS and the court use California guidelines to obtain a child support order. The order is based on:
- The ability of both parents to pay support
- The amount of time each parent spends with the child
- The child's financial needs.
Within 90 days of locating the noncustodial parent, DCSS begins what is called "service of process." We serve the person named as the noncustodial parent with a Summons & Complaint & Proposed Judgment. These documents contain information about the child's birth and paternity, a proposed child support amount based on information DCSS has about your income, and a blank Answer Form delivered with the S&C it can be used to request a blood test or a court hearing.
For information about receiving a Summons & Complaint, go to Frequently Asked Questions.
Here are your options if you receive an S&C/Proposed Judgment.
- Make an appointment with a Child Support Officer to sign a stipulation, a legal document that states you agree you are the father. You can provide documentation (such as pay stubs and tax forms) at this time to verify your income. File an answer to the complaint if you believe you are not the father.
- The forms for filing the answer are included in the complaint and include a request for genetic tests.
- You must file the answer within 30 days. If you do nothing, the court will set a child support amount based on the information it has 30 days from the date you were served.