child support

What Is the Role of the Department of Child Support Services?

What Is the Department of Child Support Services?

California’s Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) is a state government agency that provides the general public with various services related to the review, enforcement, and administration of child support.

In exchange for receiving federal funds for child support services, each state is responsible for establishing and maintaining a child support enforcement program that in compliance with federal regulations. Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations governs the administration of child support programs.

State agencies that are responsible for providing child support services and enforcement programs in accordance with federal regulations are known as “Title IV-D” agencies. California Family Code § 17000 et seq. governs the operation of the Department of Child Support Services. There are 49 local child support agencies in California that operate at the county level in cooperation with the Department of Child Support Services.

What Does the Department of Child Support Services Do?

At the county level, child support agencies offer various services to help parents honor their support obligations, including:

  • Establishment of paternity
  • Discovering the location of parents
  • Requesting court orders for child support
  • Seeking court orders for medical support
  • Enforcement of child support orders
  • Enforcement of spousal support orders
  • Modifying the terms of child support orders
  • Collection and payment of child support

An essential role of DCSS involves the enforcement of child support orders. Local child support agencies can report delinquent child support payments to the Department of Child Support Services to aid in collecting missing support payments.

California Family Code § 17400 defines “child support delinquency” as “an arrearage or otherwise past due amount that accrues when the obligor fails to make any court-ordered support payment when due, which is more than 60 days past due, and the aggregate amount of which exceeds one hundred dollars ($100).”

California Family Code § 17450 governs the collection of child support by DCSS and also authorizes the Franchise Tax Board of California—the government agency for state taxes—to coordinate with DCSS, such as sharing tax return information for the purpose of collecting delinquent support payments.

If you have a court order for child support, it may be helpful to take it to DCSS for enforcement, especially for parents subject to financial hardship. DCSS enforcement services are free. Parents who obligated to pay child support per a court order can significantly benefit from paying through the State Disbursement Unit (SDU), which provides records of payments that can be used as strong evidence against allegations of delinquency.

Have Legal Questions? Contact Family Law San Diego for Answers!

Are you looking for legal advice about a legal matter related to California family law, such as the enforcement or payment of child support? If so, it is in your best interest to get in touch with an experienced attorney at Family Law San Diego.

To schedule a consultation about your rights regarding a family matter such as child support in California, please call us at (619) 577-4900 or contact our office online today.