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Child Support

General Information

Definition of an Order to Show Cause

Filing an Order to Show Cause

How to Prepare and File the Order to Show Cause Forms

Other things you should know

Fees

Custody and Support Packet Cover Sheet

Enforcement of Child Support Orders

Increase or Decrease a Child Support Order

Reinstating your Driver's License

Transferring a Child Support Case from Another County

Frequently Asked Questions

Representing Yourself

Procedure Regarding Telephonic Appearances in DCSS Cases

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General Information

To obtain an order for child support, you need to have an active case with the Court.  If there is no existing case, you need to file one of the following:

  • If you are married to other parent, you have to file a petition for divorce, legal separation or nullity. Click here to access information on Divorce, Legal Separation and Nullity.
  • If you are not married to the other parent, you have to file a petition to establish parental relationship. Click here to access information on Unmarried Parents (Uniform Parentage Act Case). A paternity action can be filed by either the mother or father.  If you file a paternity action yourself, you can request orders for custody and visitation as well as child support at that time.
  • A Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children (this petition will not terminate your marriage or establish a parental relationship).

You have several alternatives available to you assist you in obtaining a support order:

  • You can contact an attorney for legal advice or to represent you by looking in the telephone book.
  • You can contact the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS).  The Department of Child Support Services can help you with child support only and not with any other family law issues such as custody, property, or a divorce.  If you want custody or visitation orders, you may file an Order to Show Cause in the family support case, but the Department of Child Support Services office will not be involved in that portion of the case.  You can contact the Department of Child Support Services, located at 525 W. 3rd Street, Hanford, CA 93230 or telephone them at 1-866-901-3212.
  • You can represent yourself.  It may be helpful to drop by the Family Law Facilitator's Office. Click here to view the Family Law Facilitator’s schedule. The Facilitator's Office can provide information and assistance in completing, filing and serving the necessary documents.  The Facilitator is an attorney who is available to provide free legal advise in the area of family law when there are children at issue.  The Facilitator does not take appointments and sees customers on a first come first serve basis. 
  •  You can contact a paralegal to help you prepare the documents, but remember that a paralegal cannot give you legal advice, especially about important rights you might have.

Definition of an Order to Show Cause

An Order to Show Cause can be filed at this same time you file your petition for divorce, legal separation, nullity or parental relationship or if you already have an active case with this Court. This Order to Show Cause will get you a court hearing date for your support issues and require the other party in your case to appear in Court.  You can use an Order to Show Cause to:

  • Ask for child or spousal support order(s) when filing a petition to establish a parental relationship, or for divorce, legal separation or nullity, or to request a change to such orders.
  • Ask for modification of an existing order for support.
  • Ask to cancel (set aside) a Default Judgment in a Department of Child Support Services case. There are special rules that apply here and you should seek legal assistance.
  •  

Filing an Order to Show Cause

If you are the party filing the Order to Show Cause (the "moving party"), you will need to complete the appropriate Judicial Council of California  forms:

You can download these documents by clicking on the blue highlighted link above or they are available for a fee from any of the clerk’s offices in Kings County.

You may print the information on your legal forms neatly in blue or black ink.  For more information on filing requirements, please click California Rules of Court, rule 2.100 et seq..

How to Prepare and File the Order to Show Cause Forms:

Step 1.  Prepare the forms:

  • If you have an active Kings County case, no matter how old, be sure to use the same case title and case number.
  • Make three copies of the completed papers (for you, the other party, and the Department of Child Support Services, if involved).

Step 2. File the forms:

  • Take the set of completed forms to the Civil Division located at 1426 South Drive, Hanford.
  • The Filing Clerk will file/endorse stamp your original/copies and retain the originals.

Step 3. Serve the documents:

If the Department of Child Support Services is part of your case, you will need to have the Department of Child Support Services served with an endorsed/file copy.  You must have an endorsed/filed copy of the following documents delivered personally to other the party at least 16 court days prior to the hearing date (pursuant to CCP 1005(b)):

  • Order to Show Cause
  • Application for Order and Supporting Declaration
  • Income and Expense Declaration
  • A Blank Responsive Declaration (not filed)
  • A Blank Income and Expense Declaration (not filed)
  • A Blank Mediation Notice

You cannot serve the papers yourself.  Service must be done by an adult (over the age of 18 years) who is not a party to the case, a professional process server (see your local telephone book) or the County Sheriff's Civil Division, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford.   Whomever delivers the papers must complete a Proof of Service declaring that he or she has delivered the papers to the other party.

Step 4. File the Proof of Service:

You must file the original Proof of Service with the clerk’s office (at any location in Kings County) as soon as possible and at least 10 days before the hearing.  Bring a filed copy of the Proof of Service with you to the hearing.

 Step 5. Attend the Court Hearing:

Come early to the hearing.  Look for your name on the court calendar posted outside the courtroom to make sure that your case is listed as being heard on the court's schedule for this date and time.  If it is not listed, and your papers indicate you have the right date and time, show your papers to the bailiff (deputy sheriff) inside the courtroom.  Do not forget to bring copies of all papers in your case, your copy of the filed Proof of Service, and any supporting documents such as pay stubs for the last three months, tax returns for the previous year, child care receipts, and anything else that will help prove the information in your Income and Expense Declaration.

Step 6. After the Hearing:

After the hearing is over you must write the Court's orders on the following documents as appropriate:

  • Findings and After Order Hearing and any Attachments (for child/spousal support and custody orders)
  • Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support

Deliver them or mail them directly to the Clerk's Office with a stamped self-addressed envelope, where they will be forwarded to the Judge for signature and returned to you.

Other things you should know

Amount of Child Support: If you want to know the amount of child support that would be payable under the California State Child Support Guideline, you can contact an attorney or go to the Family Law Facilitator's Office.

Health Care: When you apply for child support, you can also request the other parent share in the health care insurance and unreimbursed or uncovered health care costs for your child or children.

Child Daycare and other care costs: You may also request that child-care costs be shared or paid by the other parent.

Assistance: If you are completing your paternity, martial action or child support forms and need assistance, you can contact an attorney or go to the Family Law Facilitator's Office.

Fees

When you file your Order to Show Cause documents, you will need to pay a filing fee(s).  You may apply for a fee waiver if your income/expense levels meet the appropriate standards.

Enforcement of Child Support Orders

If the other parent fails to pay court ordered child support, you have several options available.  First you must decide if you want to proceed on your own, hire an attorney, or engage the services of Department of Child Support Services.

If you choose to enforce the court orders yourself, you should assess your current situation.  You may only need a wage and earnings assignment served on the other parent's employer.  The wage and earnings assignment orders the other parent's employer to withhold the child support amount and send it directly to you.  The amount withheld each pay period cannot exceed 50% of the parent's net income.

If the other parent has not paid support for a period of time, you may ask the court to make a determination as to the arrearages owed and set a monthly payment on arrears in addition to the ongoing support order.  Other options are available, such as interception of tax refunds, levies on bank accounts and personal property, as well as liens on real property owned by the other parent, and ultimately, you may ask the court to find the other parent in contempt of the court's order, asking to punish the other parent accordingly.  It is suggested that you hire an attorney or open a case with the Department of Child Support Services if you wish to pursue contempt orders as they are very difficult to prove and very strict rules apply that must be followed.  Generally, only trained legal professionals should pursue contempt orders.

If you choose to have the Department of Child Support Services enforce your support orders, they can do all of the same things you can as well as issue administrative orders such as suspension the other parent's driver's license a/or any other license they may hold.  Additionally, in the case of willful failure to pay child support, they may file criminal charges against the other parent.

Increase or Decrease a Child Support Order

If you want to increase or decrease child support, you can file a request for modification of the child support order in your existing case, no matter how old it is.  The law requires that you show a change of circumstances since the last order.  This section also explains what to do if you believe the Department of Child Support Services is taking too much money from your check.

You should also know.....

You have to file an Order to Show Cause or Notice of Motion to get a court hearing to decrease or increase child support.

If you are completing your child support forms and need assistance, or if you want to know the amount of child support that would be payable under the California State Child Support guideline, you can contact an attorney or get assistance in completing your legal forms at the Family Law Facilitator's Office. Click here for the location and hours of the Family Law Facilitator.

If you come to the Facilitator's Office for assistance to complete your legal forms or to have an agreement prepared, be sure to bring your court case number and a copy of your old order or your court papers if you have them.  If you have a Department of Child Support Services case, bring any court papers you have or bills or correspondence from the Department of Child Support Services.  Also, bring your payroll check stubs and recent income tax returns.

Reinstating your Driver's License

If your driver's license has been suspended or renewal denied as result of a failure to pay child support, first contact the Department of Child Support Services, located at

If the Department of Child Support Services denies your request to have your license reinstated, you may then file a Notice of Motion for Judicial Review of License Denial.  The form is available from the Judicial Council's web site and can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.

Notice of Motion for Judicial Review of License Denial, FL-670 

You may also contact the Family Law Facilitator's Office for assistance.

Transferring a Child Support Case from Another County

There are two ways to have your case brought here from another county:

  • Registration of California Support Order
  • Change of Venue

Registration of California Support Order: If you are the parent receiving child support, you may register your child support order from a different California county here in Kings County.  The paying parent may not.  Keep in mind that if you register the support order, you are only allowed to modify or enforce child support orders.  You are not allowed to change custody or visitation.

How to Register Your Order:

Step 1. Prepare the forms:

Fill out the Statement of Registration of California Support Order, Judicial Council of California Form FL-440 and attach a stamped copy of the support order or income withholding order.  If the paying parent owes back support, you may attach a Declaration of Arrearage, Judicial Council of California Form FL-420.  Make 2 copies of your documents. The form is available from the Judicial Council's web site and can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.

Statement of Registration of California Support Order, Judicial Council of California Form FL-440

Declaration of Arrearage, Judicial Council of California Form FL-420

Step 2. File the forms:

File the forms at the clerks office (Civil Division) located at 1426 South Drive, Hanford.  Include an envelope addressed to the paying parent with enough postage to assure delivery.

Change of Venue: If you have a dissolution, legal separation, nullity or parentage case in another county and you and your child(ren) now reside in Kings County, you may ask the court in the other county for permission to transfer the entire case to this county.  This is done by filing a Motion for Change of Venue.  If granted, the entire case moves to this county and all future orders including support and custody will be decided here in Kings County.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my spouse's income going to be counted for child support?

Generally, the Court will only use the parents' income for calculation of child support.  However, the Court can inquire about your spouse's income for the purpose of setting taxes, and in unusual cases, for other purposes.

How do I stop the Wage and Earning Assignment Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support, if the child is over 18 years of age and out of high school?

You can file an Ex Parte Application for Wage and Earnings Assignment Order with proof of the child's age and education.

Do I still have to pay child support if I have a 50/50 custody?

If you earn more than the other parent, you may still have to pay some child support.

Will the Court consider that I have other children to support?

The Court can consider other court orders for child support and may give you credit for children in your home that you are supporting.

Generally, you cannot receive credit for step-children, foster children or grandchildren.

Will my support go down if I have the child(ren) more often?

The amount of time that the children are in your custody is a factor in calculating child support.  Generally speaking, the more time you have the children, the lower your child support because it is reducing the expenses of the custodial parent.

How long do I have to pay child support?

Until the child is 18 years of age, if he or she has already graduated from high school. If your 18 year old child is still a full time high school student residing with a parent, the child support is payable until your child graduates or reaches 19 years of age, or your child marries, dies, becomes self-supporting or emancipates.

Can I get rid of the interest accruing on the back child support I owe?

Generally speaking, the Court cannot reduce or forgive interest on past due child support.  Consult an attorney or the Family Law Facilitator's Office.

How do I stop them from taking half my paycheck?

If your employer is deducting up to 50% or more of your check, then you have a very large arrearage (past due child support).  You should first contact the Department of Child Support Services  located at 525 W 3rd Street, Hanford, CA 93230 or by telephone at 1-866-901-3212 to see if arrangements can be made with them.  If that does not work, then you may need to file a motion with the Court to ask a judge to set a payment on the arrearages that you can afford.

What if the other party does not pay child support?

If a wage assignment was not already signed, you may apply directly to the Court.  You may also contact the Department of Child Support Services located at 525 W 3rd Street, Hanford, CA 93230or by telephone at 1-866-901-3212 who will help any parent, regardless of income and at no cost, to enforce child support orders.  You do not have to be on public assistance to get help from the Department of Child Support Services.

Representing Yourself

If you have decided to represent yourself, you have taken on the responsibility of knowing the procedures and timelines relating to your paperwork.  You may also learn about the rules you must follow in the Family Code, Code of Civil Procedure and the  Local Rules of Court as, well as the California Rules of Court.  You can find those resources, as well as guide books to assist you, at the Law Library located in Building 4 of the Government Center, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd.  Click here to view the Local Rules of the Court. You can also purchase the Local Rules of the Court for $10.00 from any of the clerk’s offices or download them at no cost by clicking on Kings County Superior Court Local Rules. If you wish to view the Family Code or Code of Civil Procedure, they are available through the California Law web site located at www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html. Then, follow the directions for finding the code(s) you are interested in.

 
Superior Court of California, Kings County
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