Child support is money paid toward a child's living expenses and health insurance.
Any parent or person who has legal or physical custody of a child can get help in locating the child's other (non-custodial) parent, establishing a child's parentage, establishing a child support order, modifying or adjusting a child support order, obtaining health insurance for a child, collecting current child support, and enforcing a child support obligation (collecting past due child support/arrears) by completing an application for Services form.
Once the completed application is received and processed by our office, the child support process begins. This service is available for both welfare and non-welfare recipients. The more accurate the information provided regarding the non-custodial parent, the more effective our office will be in our efforts to collect child support.
People who receive public assistance through the Family Assistance, Safety Net or Medicaid, or Federally-Assisted Foster Care programs automatically receive child support enforcement services. As a condition of eligibility for these programs, applicants and recipients are expected to cooperate in pursuing the child's other parent for the purpose of collecting child support unless there is reason to believe that doing so would put the custodial parent and/or the child(ren) at risk of domestic violence.
People not receiving public assistance can receive child support enforcement services by simply applying for such services, and without regard to income.
If your child is currently receiving CalWORKs (cash) benefits you do not need to complete an application form; we will automatically open a case for you because the public social services agency must send us a referral. If your child is not receiving CalWORKs because you have exceeded the maximum family grant (you have other children who are receiving CalWORKs), we will also automatically open a case for you.
- Apply Online
- Apply for services online
- You will be taken to a secure website where you can enter all the information necessary to complete an application, which will then be automatically routed to the child support agency in your area.
- Please plan to take 30-45 minutes to complete all of the parts of the online application.
- Apply In Person or By Mail
- To apply in person or by mail, download and complete an Application for Child Support Services Packet (found below) and return it to our office at 251 E. Hackett Rd, Modesto CA.
- Applications are also available on a walk-in basis at all county and regional child support offices.
Per the Federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Public Law 109-171, all states were instructed to impose a $35 Annual Service Fee to families that have never received welfare assistance and who are disbursed $550 or more during the federal fiscal year. The mandate went into effect January 1, 2008. As of October 1, 2020, the Annual Service fee increased from $25 to $35. Find out details about this fee.
The child support enforcement program uses computer searches or matches against a large number of California, State, and Federal data banks to locate non-custodial parent. These data banks include information about motor vehicles/driver licenses, income tax, unemployment insurance, correctional facilities, utilities, cable television companies, banks, vital statistics, real property, and occupational and professional licenses.
Also, California has a "new hire reporting program" under which all California employers must report all newly hired employees to the child support enforcement program within 15 days of hire. This information is used for location and enforcement purposes. The most critical piece of information you can supply to help find a non-custodial parent is his/her social security number (SSN). If you do not have the SSN, check hospital records, bank records, insurance policies, credit card records, pay stubs, or income tax returns.
Child Support case information is not open to the public, but court files may be public record.
If your application includes siblings of your expectant child, you may include this information on your application. If you are applying for services for your expectant child only, then you will have to wait until the child is born to begin your application.
California State law mandates that all orders of child support require either parent to extend health insurance available through an employer at the time the order is issued or at any time in the future to cover the child(ren). If the non-custodial parent has health insurance available, but does not enroll the child(ren), the LCSA can help enforce this provision of the court order.
You have 30 days to respond (file an Answer) to the Summons and Complaint. A blank Answer form is supplied with the Summons and Complaint. Complete the Answer and file it with the Superior Court clerk within 30 days and provide a copy to the LCSA. You can contact the Department of Child Support Services or Family Law Facilitator to discuss the case.
Yes. When there is a change in visitation or custody of the child, you can go to court and ask for a change in the child support order, or you may ask the Department of Child Support Services to initiate court action to modify the existing order. You may be able to reduce child support or begin receiving child support from the other parent.
- You may call our Customer Contact Center at (866) 901-3212 or you may request a modification review in person at one of our office.
- When requesting a modification of your existing order, you must complete an Income & Expense Declaration. Here is the link to the form, Income & Expense Declaration. You will need to complete, print this document and mail. Once completed, send the signed, completed application and all forms (including Income & Expense Declaration) to:
Stanislaus County Child Support Services Department
P.O. Box 4189
Modesto, CA 95352-4189
In Stanislaus County, the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) hearings are held in Department 15 of the Stanislaus County Superior Court located at 800 11th Street, in Modesto, California. Law and motion calendars start at 8:30 am or 1:30 pm. Please be on time. If you are not in the courtroom on time, your case could be resolved without input, or your hearing could be cancelled.
Check out Going to Court for more information on what to expect when attending court and what to bring with you.