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Basic child support information for California residents

Any parent who is raising a child alone knows how important it is for the other parent to help out financially. One way for this to happen is through the child support system. The California Department of Child Support Services is the agency that deals with child support payments in the state.

CDCSS works with local child support agencies to collect child support payments, process those payments, establish paternity and establish child support orders. It can also help to find parents and work to enforce child support orders from other states.

When the CDCSS collects child support payments, the California State Disbursement Unit is the entity that sends the payments to the custodial parents. All child support payments in California have to go through the SDU, even if those payments are private child support payments, as long as they are being paid through the paying parent's employer.

Some parents might want to avoid court when deciding on child support matters. In order for this to happen, there has to be a stipulation signed by two parties. The paying parent is one party in all stipulation cases that bypass court. The other party is the local child support agency if the recipient parent is receiving welfare or the receiving parent if that parent doesn't receive welfare payments.

All child support orders and stipulations in the state are individualized. This means that each parent should understand how to apply specific laws to his or her case. In some cases, monetary support is all that is ordered. In other cases, health insurance is also included in the child support order. Understanding how each of these will affect you is vital as you go through the court or stipulation process.

Source: California Department of Child Support Services, "General FAQs" Sep. 13, 2014

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