Either parent can open a child support case, as can a child’s legal guardian. Having an order from a judge for child support to be paid does not automatically open a child support case.
To open a case in California, fill out the online application or visit your local child support agency – agency locations can be found here.
After an application is submitted, the applicant will be contacted by their local office to assist with the process of obtaining a child support order with the court.
There are many benefits to opening a child support case:
If you do not yet have an order, we provide assistance to both parents through all steps of the process.
In certain situations, we can help you avoid court completely.
Once you have an order, we keep official records, protecting both the payer and the recipient.
We can assist recipients with enforcement of the order.
We can help payers avoid or resolve negative enforcement actions if you are unable to pay.
See our instructional video below, “How To Open A Child Support Case” for more details on this process.
More Important Information
For information about changes in family status please see: FamiliesChange.ca.gov
Before a child support order can be made, both parents of the child need to be located. There is no guarantee they will be found, but the more information we have, such as the parent’s date of birth and Social Security Number, the easier it will be.
Watch our “Locating a Parent” Quick Tip video below for more detailed information about this step.
After the case is opened, the parent being asked to pay child support will be given a Summons and Complaint packet. This is legal notification that you have been named in a child support case.
You only have 30 days to respond, or a “default” child support order may be ordered by the judge without your financial situation being considered.
See our instructional video below, “I Received a Summons and Complaint – What Do I Do?” for more information about this very important package of documents.
If you have been served with a Summons and Complaint, and you do not believe you are legally responsible for the child or children you are being asked to pay child support for, you have the right to request proof and we will assist you free of charge. This is either DNA testing to determine parentage (which is more than 99% accurate), or proof that the parents were legally married at the time of the child’s birth.
If you do not request proof, you can still be assigned legal parentage without your consent.
If you would like to avoid going to court, some local agencies offer “Family Meetings” that allow both individuals to meet with a child support caseworker, either together or separately. If both parents can agree on an amount, their signed document becomes the “Stipulated Agreement,” which is filed with the court.
This option may not be offered in all child support offices.
For more on the benefits of this, see our “Family Meetings” instructional video below.
If there is no Stipulated Agreement, a court date will be set. The judge will review the financial and other relevant information from both parties and decide on an appropriate amount of child support to be ordered.
If either parent can get medical insurance, the court will consider that cost in deciding the amount of child support ordered.
Below, our instructional video “How Does the Court Determine a Child Support Amount” includes more information on this decision, which becomes the official child support order.
After a child support order is set, payments are scheduled to begin. There are many options for payment but if the parent ordered to pay is employed, their employer will be required to make those payments by withholding the funds from their paycheck. This is mandated under Federal law for child support orders and does not imply a failure to pay.
All payments are recorded and this can provide security for the parent paying support in case there is any disagreement.
A child support order is a legal court order. Parents who refuse to pay or delay paying their child support face enforcement actions that can include:
Suspension of their driver’s license or passport
Revocation of professional and occupational licenses
Bank and property liens
Interception of tax refunds
Interception of lottery winnings
Also, by California state law, unpaid court orders get charged 10% interest.
As a last resort, civil contempt charges may also be filed. If you have trouble paying your child support, talk to your local agency right away. There are programs available to help parents who are trying in good faith to pay their support.
For more on the consequences of unpaid child support, see our instructional video, “My Driver’s License has been suspended due to child support. How can I get a release?”
If either parent or guardian has a change in circumstances after a child support order is set, which could be losing a job, changing jobs, or a change in custody or visitation, the order may qualify for modification.
Your local agency or the Family Law Facilitator at your county courthouse can assist with this.
There are many reasons why a child support case can be closed. The usual one is that the youngest child reaches the age of 18, is no longer a full-time high school student, and no past-due balances are owed. At that time both parents are notified by the child support agency, and the case stays open for 60 days after this notification.
All records are maintained for at least four years and four months in accordance with federal law.
For more information about the Child Support Process, visit and follow our YouTube channel:
For more information on changing family status please see: FamiliesChange.ca.gov
How Does Child Support Work?
Current as of:
The process begins when you apply for child support services or when your local child support office receives a referral from another public assistance program. Then your local child support office works to find the other parent, legally formalize parentage, set the order, and route the collected funds to the parent owed support.
Every state is different, so contact your local child support office to learn more about the process as it applies to your case. Our Handbook provides more information on how child support works.
Complete an application with your local child support agency. If you receive help from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, check with your child support office to see if a case is already open.
Apply for child support with your local office
When necessary, we try to locate the other parent using information provided by the parent opening a case, plus information we gather from other resources to start the child support process.
Child Support Handbook - Finding the Noncustodial Parent (PDF)
Once we find the other parent, it’s important to establish a legal relationship with the child. Your state will help you find the right means to do this. Parents can make a voluntary acknowledgment of their parentage or can arrange for genetic testing.
The Changing Role of the Modern Day Fathervisit disclaimer page Visit disclaimer page
Child Support Handbook - Establishing Fatherhood (PDF)
A child support order determines how much the other parent will pay and includes important information like the payment structure and provisions for the child’s health care coverage. States and tribes have various procedures for establishing orders. Orders should be fair. You can request to modify yours, if needed.
Child Support Handbook - Establishing (PDF) the Support Order (PDF)
FAQS on Order Establishment (PDF)
The most common way to pay child support is to deduct the payment from the parent’s paycheck and distribute the money to the other parent or guardian. It’s an easy way to make and keep a record of child support payments.
Child Support Handbook - Collecting Support (PDF)
Child Support Handbook - Where the Money Goes (PDF)
When the parent doesn’t pay the full amount or doesn’t pay at all, your child support agency enforces the child support order. Other enforcement methods might include withholding child support from unemployment or worker’s compensation benefits, intercepting income tax refunds, and reporting delinquent child support payments to credit bureaus.
What Happens If Child Support Isn't Paid?
Either parent can ask their local child support office to review their order three years after the order is set. They can request a review before three years if a parent experiences substantial changes in circumstances, such as job loss or incarceration.
Changing an order
When does child support stop? - Lawyer in Samara and Moscow
If alimony is paid under an agreement
If alimony is paid on the basis of a notarized agreement of the parties, then their payment stops:
- in the event of the death of one of the parties to the agreement;
- after the expiration of the agreement;
- on the grounds provided for by the agreement (clause 1, article 120 of the RF IC).
If the above circumstances occur, you do not need to contact a notary. The alimony payer has the right to simply stop paying alimony.
If, on the basis of an agreement, alimony is collected as part of enforcement proceedings or withheld from earnings by the employer, then it makes sense to notify the bailiff or employer of the occurrence of these circumstances.
If alimony is collected by court order
Payment of alimony collected by court order is terminated:
- when the child reaches the age of majority or if minor children acquire full legal capacity before they reach the age of majority;
- in case of adoption (adoption) of a child for whose maintenance alimony was collected;
- when the court recognizes the restoration of working capacity or the termination of the need for assistance of the alimony recipient;
- upon entry of a disabled former spouse in need of assistance - the recipient of alimony into a new marriage;
- with the death of a person receiving alimony, or a person obliged to pay alimony (clause 2, article 120 of the RF IC).
When do I need to go to court?
To stop the payment of alimony in the event of restoration of working capacity or termination of the need for assistance of the alimony recipient (his financial or marital status has changed), you will need to go to court (clause 1 of article 119 of the RF IC). To do this, the alimony payer must file a claim with the Magistrate's Court for exemption from further payment of alimony. At the same time, in court, the alimony payer will most likely need to prove that the alimony recipient's ability to work has been restored, or that he no longer needs to receive alimony.
You may also need to go to court if you adopt a child. Note that, as a general rule, alimony is not collected from the date the court decision on adoption comes into force (clause 2, article 120 of the RF IC; clause 2, article 274 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Russian Federation; clause 17 of the Decree of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dated 04. 20.2006 N eight). However, it happens that even after adoption, the alimony payer retains obligations in relation to the child, including the payment of alimony. If such obligations are not reserved for the payer, then the court will release him from paying alimony.
When can I not go to court?
Upon termination of the payment of alimony collected in court, the rules for termination of enforcement proceedings are applied. As a general rule, the bailiff issues a ruling on the termination of enforcement proceedings (Article 43 of the Law of 02.10.2007 N 229-FZ). The executive document with a corresponding mark is sent to the court that issued the decision on the recovery of alimony. All enforcement measures taken by the bailiff-executor are canceled.
In order for the bailiff to stop the enforcement proceedings, inform him:
- about the child reaching the age of majority or acquiring legal capacity;
- entry of the former spouse into a new marriage;
- death of a person receiving (or paying) alimony.
The bailiff will inform you what documents may be needed to terminate enforcement proceedings.
If alimony is collected at the place of work, then you need to inform the accounting department about the occurrence of the listed circumstances. The accountant will let you know if they can stop withholding child support and if any additional paperwork is required to do so.
Remember, at any stage of a family dispute, the Legal Center for Family Affairs of Attorney Anatoly Antonov is ready to provide you with legal support. Call us by phone in Samara + 7 (846) 212-99-71 right now and sign up for a consultation at a convenient time for you.
Lawyer Anatoly Antonov's family law center provides the following legal services on issues of paying alimony for minor children, as well as other family members:
drawing up an agreement on the payment of alimony;
drawing up a statement of claim for the issuance of a court order;
preparation of a statement of claim for the recovery of alimony and attachments to it, as well as filing it with the court;
preparation of objections regarding claims for the recovery of alimony, for a reduction in the amount of alimony;
familiarization with the materials of the case on the recovery of alimony, on the reduction of the amount of alimony;
participation in court hearings (possibly without the presence of the principal) for the recovery of alimony;
obtaining a court decision on the recovery of alimony;
appeal against the decision of the court in a higher instance.
The original article is taken from the website of the Electronic Journal "Azbuka Prava"
Relevance date of the material: 01/05/2016
To sign up for a consultation, call the round-the-clock number +7 (846) 212-99-71 or leave a request below
2.2. Child support agreement
A child support agreement is a mutual agreement between parents regarding the payment of child support for minor children. Such an agreement determines the amount of payments, the frequency of transfers, and the method of withholding payments.
In accordance with art. 103 of the Family Code of the Russian Federation (hereinafter referred to as the RF IC) the amount of alimony paid under an alimony payment agreement is determined by the parties in this agreement. At the same time, the amount of alimony established by an agreement on the payment of alimony for minor children cannot be lower than the amount of alimony that they could receive when collecting alimony in court. The amount of alimony is subject to indexation , which is carried out in accordance with the agreement on the payment of alimony (Article 105 of the RF IC). If the indexation procedure is not provided for in the agreement, indexation is carried out in proportion to the increase in the subsistence minimum for the corresponding socio-demographic group of the population established in the corresponding subject of the Russian Federation at the place of residence of the person receiving alimony, and in the absence of the specified value in the corresponding subject of the Russian Federation, in proportion to the increase in the value the subsistence minimum for the relevant socio-demographic group of the population, established as a whole for the Russian Federation (clause 1 of article 117 of the RF IC).
The agreement on the payment of alimony also determines the methods and procedure for paying alimony (Article 104 of the RF IC). So, alimony can be paid:
in shares of earnings and (or) other income of a person obliged to pay alimony;
in a fixed sum of money paid periodically;
in a lump sum paid in cash;
· by providing property;
· in other ways as agreed.
A child support agreement may provide for a combination of different ways of paying child support.
An agreement on the payment of alimony is concluded in writing and is subject to notarization . Failure to comply with this requirement entails the nullity of the agreement (Article 100 of the RF IC). A notarized agreement on the payment of alimony has the force of a writ of execution. This means that if the obligated person evades the payment of alimony, the other party has the right, bypassing the court, to directly apply to the bailiff service for their enforcement.
The provisions of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation governing the conclusion, execution, termination and invalidation of civil law transactions are applied to the conclusion, execution, termination and invalidation of an agreement on the payment of alimony (Clause 1, Article 101 of the RF FC).
The maintenance agreement may be amended or terminated at any time by mutual agreement of the parties. The change or termination of the agreement on the payment of alimony must be made in the same form as the agreement on the payment of alimony itself, i.e. notarized (clause 2 of article 101 of the RF IC).
A unilateral refusal to execute an agreement on the payment of alimony or a unilateral change in its terms is not allowed (Clause 3, Article 101 of the RF IC).
In the event of a significant change in the financial or marital status of the parties and if an agreement is not reached on changing or terminating the agreement on the payment of alimony, the interested party has the right to apply to the court with a claim for changing or terminating this agreement. When deciding on the issue of changing or terminating an agreement on the payment of alimony, the court has the right to take into account any noteworthy interest of the parties (clause 4 of article 101 of the RF IC).