“What Can the Department of Child Support Services Do To Help Me With Child Support?”

In California, the Department of Child Support Services (also known as DCSS) can do several things:

1. Collect support on an already existing order.
2. Obtain a new child support order.
3. Review an older order to ascertain the correct amount of current support.
4. Garnish wages and intercept tax returns.
5. Calculate arrears on an order they are collecting.

Child support services offers good help to people trying to obtain and collect support. There are some disadvantages, however, mainly consisting of a heavy case load and lack of resources for proving income. There can be quite significant delays in using DCSS because of the lag time between a request for support and getting an actual court hearing. You will generally be able to obtain an order more quickly through private counsel.

You may also find that DCSS does not have the resources to prove income if your ex works under the table, works multiple jobs, or claims he/she is unable to work. They do not generally issue subpoenas to potential witnesses, do written discovery, or subpoena records or documents except in unusual cases.

Where DCSS is really helpful is in collections. Aside from normal garnishments, they can intercept tax returns (which is a great way of getting a large payment when the payor is far behind in payments) and can even pull driver’s licenses and passports to obtain compliance.

Collecting through DCSS can also be useful where the parties disagree about what payments have been made—when all payments are to be made through DCSS, they track all payments, keep a running balance, and can give you a printout called an audit with the complete payment record.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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