Statewide Changes to Child Support


Child Support Services

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Statewide Child Support Changes For California

Change to Payment Processing

The federal requirement for child support is to have one automated computer system statewide to increase efficiency and accuracy in data and service delivery. The California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) has completed the transition to a new, single child-support computer system. Having all Local Child Support Agency (LCSA) on one system finally enabled the statewide allocation of payments.

What that means for you is that the State will be processing payments based on the number of cases belonging to a paying parent. How a payment is divided between cases is based on many things, including how much support is owned and paid, and whether the payments are for current support or past due support. 

The Child Support Enforcement (CSE) automated system will first allocate any payment received.  CSE allocates identified collections in the following manner:

  1. Pro-rates between unpaid current
  2. Pro-rates between arrears
  3. Aid status is not considered in allocation

    For example: A paying parent owes support in Counties A and B. The parent sends a support payment for the case in County A. In the past, the entire payment was applied only to the case in County A. Now, the payment will be divided between the case in County A AND the case in County B.

NP Smith has 3 cases  in the State of California and and the State Disbursement Unit received a $100.00 payment. Here is the current allocation of that payment:
Case 1: Current - $300.00, Arrears - $0.00
Case 2: Current - $300.00, Arrears - $600.00
Case 3: Current - $0, Arrears - $50,000.00
$50.00 will go to case 1 and Case 2 each because current support will always be paid first before arrears and the same amount in current is owed to each CP.  However, since CSE does prorate, if the amount of support received from the NCP from wage withholding is not sufficient to satisfy all obligations owed, CSE will prorate based on each case's proportionate share of money owed.  Here is another example:

If Case 1 has $100 in arrearages owed and Case 2 has $200 owed, a collection received in the amount of $100 would be prorated with Case 1 receiving 33% of the collection, or $33, and Case 2 would receive 67% or $67.  To prorate, you add the total amount owed in a particular pool and divide by the amout owed to each. That gives the percentage of proration. Then you prorate the money collected by the percentage and distribute the money accordingly.

No parent or child support agency may decide how the money is allocated. State regulation determines the priority for allocation.  Effective 10/1/2009 payments are allocated in the following manner: 

  1. Current Support

  2. Arrears Owed

  3. Interest Accrued

The effect of statewide allocation could be a change to the amount of support payments you receive.

A Message to Obligors, also known as Non-Custodial Parent (NCP):

Once the LCSA files a Summons and Complaint with the Court and serves the NCP with the complaint, the NCP has 30 days to respond to the LCSA. Once there is a filed judgment with the Courts, it is assumed the NCP has received legal notice of the child support obligation. Page 12 of the Child Support Handbook provides detailed information on this legal process. See more information in the Child Support Handbook.

Non-Custodial Parents are expected to pay full and timely support payment to avoid delinquency.  The LCSA has several remedies to enforce court orders and ensure compliance. NCPs receive initial and annual notices of actions that may be taken automatically if there is non-compliance with a child support order.  Some of the following actions may be taken: 

  • Interest will be charge to unpaid child support at the rate of 10 percent per year.
  • Other income will be intercepted, including:

    -Income tax refunds

    -EDD benefit

    -Workers' compensation benefit

    -SSA benefit

    -Lottery winnings

  • Driver license and professional license can be suspended.
  • Liens can be placed on your property and bank accounts
  • Passports can be denied
  • Unpaid Child Support will be reported as delinquent to credit bureaus
  • Other additional enforcment actions can be taken 

Please Avoid Delinquency.  Please keep your LCSA advised of your contact and income situation.  Report all changes within 10 days including change of employer so the required wage withholding can be mailed out timely to avoid arrearages. If you do not have a current employer to pay by the required income withholding order, you now have several options to make your child support payments.

  • Pay by check
  • Make a single automatic withdrawal from your checking or savings account
  • Make a single credit card payment online
  • Set-up ongoing (recurring) automatic withdrawals from your checking, savings, or credit card account. 

For more information click here.
Parents and employers who make support payments to the Napa County Child Support Services must send all support payments directly to the State instead of to Napa County. The address for mailing your payments is:
State Disbursement Unit
P.O. Box 989067
West Sacramento, CA 95798

This address is for payments only. Please send all other information to your Local Child Support Agency.
Napa County Child Support Services
929 Parkway Mall Suite 247
Napa, CA. 94558