Department of Child Support Services

Services Available

You Are The Difference In Your Child's Future

The responsibility for support of one's children is a moral and legal obligation. Furthermore, children have a specific legal right to receive child support.

The Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) is committed to vigorous enforcement of every child's legal right to receive support. Child support pays for food, clothing, and housing for children. Establishment of paternity provides emotional security for the child, as well as ensuring his or her entitlement to certain Social Security, pension, and health insurance benefits.

Receipt of child support benefits may enable a welfare recipient to leave the welfare system, or help a non-welfare parent to remain off welfare. In this way, the program not only assists children and parents, it also saves tax dollars.

The overall goals of the DCSS are to enforce the laws in this most important area and to provide excellent service to the public.

The mission of the Lassen County Department of Child Support Program is to promote the well being of children and the self sufficiency of families by delivery first-rate child support services and collection activities that contribute to meeting the financial, medical and emotional needs of children.

How Can You Get Help?

Any parent may request the help of the DCSS in obtaining child support. Child support orders may be established and enforced even if the parents are not legally separated or divorced, or were never married. The program is available to children and custodial parents whether or not they are receiving welfare.

What Help Is Provided?

  • Non-custodial parents are located.
  • Paternity is established.
  • Court orders are obtained and enforced against non-custodial parents in California, other states, and certain foreign countries.

How Is Support Collected?

Child support is collected in many ways, including Order/Notice to Withholds; garnishments; levies on property; and interception of state and federal income tax refunds, state disability and unemployment insurance benefits, and lottery winnings.

The DCSS is responsible for ensuring that children and custodial parents receive the court-ordered financial support to which they are entitled.

How Are Welfare Cases Handled?

Parents who receive public assistance assign their child support rights to the County. The support collected reimburses the taxpayers.

How Can You Help?

Your help will assist us in obtaining and enforcing court orders. The following information about the non custodial parent. could be useful:

  • Social Security Number
  • Last Known Address
  • Last Known Employer
  • Driver's License Number
  • Vehicle License Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Physical Description

Innocence Is All They Have Without Your Support

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Guide to Services For The Non-Custodial Parent

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this pamphlet is to provide general information to those of you referred to as a "noncustodial parent." The DCSS recognizes that often this label causes concern, especially when a "noncustodial parent" is actively involved personally and financially in his or her child's life.

The use of this term is not intended to offend or to demean such parent's relationship with his or her child but merely to distinguish the payor of child support from the recipient. Whenever the term "you" or "your" is used, we are referring to the "noncustodial parent."

THE LASSEN DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES

It is through the DCSS that paternity and child support orders are established, modified and enforced. The DCSS represents society's interest in helping children receive financial support from both parents.

The DCSS does not represent any individual and any information you provide to us is not privileged and may be disclosed as allowed by federal and state law. However, most of our records are confidential and may not be viewed by any individual without a court order.

You are entitled to see any record legally defined as a public record, your payment history, and any document you provided to the DCSS.

ENFORCING SUPPORT ORDERS

The DCSS has many methods of enforcing support orders. Not all methods may be utilized in every case.

Some of these methods are:

  • Earnings/Order/Notice to Withholds
  • Health insurance Withholdings
  • Judgment liens
  • Garnishments
  • Judgment debtor examinations
  • Contempt citations
  • Consumer credit reporting
  • State licensing match system
  • Child Support Full Collections Program
  • Receiverships and "till taps"
  • Writs of execution
  • Support security deposits
  • Tax refund intercepts (Federal/State)
  • Refer to District Attorney's Office for
    Criminal prosecutions:
    • Failure to support
    • Disobedience of court order

ESTABLISHING PARENTAGE

The DCSS is required to obtain a parentage judgment in every case it opens, unless legal parentage has already been established by other valid means. This is true whether or not welfare benefits are being paid.

ESTABLISHING SUPPORT ORDERS

After parentage has been established, the DCSS may seek to establish a monthly support order. The DCSS will compute the monthly amount of support pursuant to the state guideline. This guideline support is mandated by federal and state law.

INTEREST AND HOW YOUR
PAYMENTS ARE APPLIED

Interest will be calculated on your outstanding arrearage balance at the legal rate - which is currently 10% per year.

Your payment is credited first to your current month's support. Any amount you pay in excess of your current month's support will be applied to accrued interest, then to principal.

If there is a welfare arrearage, then when you miss a monthly payment and "double" your payment in the following month (to make up for it), your child will not receive both of your payments. Therefore, it is extremely important that you make your support payment each month.

REVIEWING YOUR SUPPORT ORDER

If you believe your child support order is too high you may make a written request to the DCSS to have your order reviewed. A form is available at the DCSS for this purpose.

If you request a review of your support order, DCSS is required to complete the review process even if your support order increases

Child Abduction Unit

The Child Abduction Unit of the District Attorney's Office will help parents (and others entitled to custody) locate and recover an abducted child after the parent has reported the abduction to the local law enforcement (either the police department or the sheriff).

Lassen County District Attorney Contact Information

Physical Address: 220 S. Lassen St., Susanville, CA 96130

Phone: (530) 251-8284

Fax: (530) 257-9009

RESOLVING BILLING AND ARREARAGE DISPUTES

If you believe that your billing statement or the arrearage amount is wrong, please call (866) 901-3212 to schedule an appointment to discuss your account.

If you made direct payments to your child's custodian that you believe were not credited properly, we will need to review your receipts or original and cancelled checks. If your bank retains your checks, we will need to see legible photocopies of the front and back of each check.

If the court has granted you custody, please provide us with a copy of the court's order showing the judge's signature. If you were the custodial parent during any of the months you were charged ongoing support, you must provide evidence that your child lived with you (such as school records or day care receipts).

We will contact the other party for verification of your claim. Upon receipt of their verification, your account will be credited.

If you disagree with the arrears total, you may file a formal complaint. If we cannot resolve the dispute, you will need to file your own action in Superior Court.

Guide to Services For The Custodial Parent

HELP IS AVAILABLE

The Lassen County Department of Child Support Services provides its services free of charge to all custodial parents, whether or not they receive welfare. The only requirements are that you have physical custody of the child and that you cooperate with us in working your case.

LOCATING THE OTHER PARENT

To obtain or enforce an order for support, we must know where the other parent lives or works. If you do not have that address, the DCSS will try to find it. We will follow up on information you provide us. Contacts will be made with businesses and other agencies as well as with the California Parent Locator and Federal Parent Locator services.

ESTABLISHING PATERNITY

Every child has the right to care and support from both parents, even if the parents are not married. The DCSS will file a civil action to establish paternity and to obtain a support order for your child. It may be necessary to have DNA tests performed; very rarely, the matter may have to be tried in court. Paternity must be established before any attempt can be made to collect support.

OBTAINING A SUPPORT ORDER

Establishing an enforceable support order depends on how successful you and the DCSS are in locating the other parent and in identifying his/her assets and present or potential ability to pay support. The other parent will be served with a civil action. A court order will be obtained by an agreement, by default, or after a court hearing.

MODIFICATION OF SUPPORT ORDERS

The DCSS will review the financial circumstances of you and the other parent upon request from either party.

INTERSTATE CASES

Even if the other parent lives in another state, the DCSS may be able to obtain and enforce a support order directly.

In other cases, the DCSS may request the assistance of the Child Support Agency in the other state to establish or enforce an order. The information you provide to us will be sent to the other agency. The support collected by the other agency will be sent to you through our office.

ENFORCING A SUPPORT ORDER

The DCSS uses a variety of actions to collect support, such as earnings Withholdings, real property liens, and credit reporting. The action we take will depend on the facts and circumstances of your individual case.

In addition to civil enforcement actions, the DCSS automatically collects delinquent child support each month by billing the non-custodial parent and by intercepting his/her federal and state income tax refunds, lottery winnings, and up to 25% of unemployment insurance benefits. The legal rate of interest, currently 10%, is added to support arrearages.

IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION

Once you have opened a case with the DCSS, Staff are available by telephone to assist you.

Physical address: 1600 Chestnut St. Susanville, CA 96130

Mailing address: PO Box 999 Susanville, CA 96130

Director: Maria Carlomagno-Brice

Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Phone: (866) 901-3212 (Phone Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.)

FAX: (530) 251-2667

E-Mail: lccss@Lassen.cse.ca.gov

24 hour IVR # = 1-866-901-3212

SERVICES WE CANNOT PERFORM

State and federal law limits our services: we CANNOT assist you in obtaining a dissolution of your marriage or restraining orders to prevent harassment, or in settling child custody or visitation disputes.

Contact Lassen Family Services for issues regarding restraining orders or domestic violence, the Family Law Facilitator for dissolution issues and the Court Mediator for settling custody or visitation issues.

HOW DO I OPEN A CASE?

Call the office in the county where you live to request case opening forms be mailed to you. Or, you may drop by the office to pick up the forms. You can also make this request by E-mail.

Once you have filled out the forms, please call the office to schedule an intake appointment with a Child Support Specialist.

Please allow at least one hour to complete the intake process.

Physical address: 1600 Chestnut St. Susanville, CA 96130

Mailing address: PO Box 999 Susanville, CA 96130

Director: Maria Carlomagno-Brice

Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Closed for lunch daily from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm.

Phone: (866) 901-3212 (Phone Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.)

FAX: (530) 251-2667

E-Mail: lccss@Lassen.cse.ca.gov

24 hour IVR # = 1-866-901-3212

In addition to providing all available information about the other parent on the case opening forms, you should bring the following with you to the interview:

  • Copies of all court orders and judgments for support, and if married, your divorce judgment
  • Any information on present or past employment of the other parent
  • Any information pertaining to the other parent's income and assets, such as paycheck stubs, tax returns, credit applications, and bank statements
  • A picture and physical description of the other parent
  • Your last 3 paycheck stubs (if you are employed)
  • Your tax returns for the past 2 years
  • Birth certificates for each child
  • Marriage license

Questions About Paternity Establishment

WHAT IS PATERNITY?

Paternity means fatherhood. A child conceived by an unmarried couple does not legally have a father until paternity has been established by Court Order or Paternity Declaration.

Do I Need To Establish Paternity Now If The Father and I Are Getting Along and He Is Helping Me With The Baby?

Yes. Even if the father now agrees to help support the baby, he might change his mind later. He might move and become difficult or impossible to locate. Even worse, if he should die you may be unable to establish paternity or claim survivor's benefits for your child.

Why Is It Important To Establish Paternity?

You have a right to help and support from the father in raising your child. Establishing paternity means:

1. Money: Both parents are required by law to support their child . This is true even if the pregnancy was unplanned. Children who are supported by only one parent often do not have enough money to meet their needs.

What If I Am Not Sure Who The Father Is?

If there is a possibility that more than one man could be the father of your child, the DCSS will arrange for DNA tests that can help establish your child's legal father. It is important that you provide the DCSS with as much information as you can on each possible father.

Do I Have To Answer Questions That Embarrass Me?

You may need to answer some questions of a personal nature. The questions are necessary to assist in establishing paternity. Remember, we are here to help you and your child, not to make you feel uncomfortable.

Why Is Now The Best Time
To Establish Paternity?

Parents who begin to support their children early are more likely to continue supporting their children. When you wait, you take the chance that things may change and then you and your child might not get the help you need later. Give your child the best possible chance in life by getting paternity established as soon as possible.

2. Benefits: Your child has the right to benefits from both parents. These may include Social Security benefits if the father becomes disabled or dies; health insurance coverage; life insurance coverage if the father dies; inheritance rights; and military and veteran benefits. Unless paternity is established, your child loses these rights.

3. Identity: It is important to all of us to know who we are. Your child has the right to the sense of belonging that comes from knowing both parents.

4. Medical: Your child needs to know if he or she has inherited any special health problems.

P.O.P.

Paternity may be established voluntarily. Please see "Paternity Opportunity Program" link on the sidebar or use the POP link below.