Essential facts about child support in California
The family court system in California works to ensure that both parents fulfill their legal obligation to support their children. California Family Code § 3900 clarifies this legal obligation, and details the circumstances in which you should collect child support.
Courts allocate child support to all minor children. Parents owe child support to both biological and adopted children. Additionally, parental marital status does not end the obligation for child support.
Filing for child support
A court support order must be issued to start the child support process. You may gain child support by filing with your local child support agency. If you choose this route, the child support agency will represent your support case in court.
Other parents choose to either represent themselves in court or allow a family law attorney to file for support through the family court.
Collecting child support
After you file for and receive a court order for child support, the court provides a start date for the support. In all cases in California, the court begins by issuing a wage garnishment to be served to the parent paying support. If an attorney represents the parent receiving support, or if that parent chooses self-representation, the court will allow the wage garnishment to be put on hold. In these instances, the parents decide how to pay the child support.
In cases involving the child support agency, both the parents and the agency must agree to place a garnishment on hold. If the child support agency does not agree, the wage garnishment will go forward as ordered by the court.
Providing for the children
Courts do not assign child support to punish either parent. They assign support in order to look out for the children’s best interests. When it comes to collecting support, parents should not feel guilty about making sure their child receives the support the court orders.