How to file for Child Support in Riverside County, California
Temecula Divorce Lawyers and Child Support Experts
Child support is an extremely important component of family law. The California legislature has placed an extremely high importance on ensuring that parents financially support their children. This guide discusses how to file for child support in Riverside County. Whether you live in Temecula, Riverside, Murrieta, Corona, or elsewhere in the county, this guide is here to help. This guide tells you WHAT child support is, WHERE to file for child support, WHAT FORMS you need to file, and how to GET CHILD SUPPORT FASTER. If you don’t find the information you need on this page, please contact us!
What is child support in Riverside?
Child support is the payment of money from one parent to another to cover the costs involved in the upbringing of a child. Payments are usually made from the “non-custodial” parent to the “custodial” parent, although in some cases the payment might be made by the custodial parent when the parties share equal or near equal time with the child.
Child support is calculated using the “guideline” formula, which is generated by a computer program. In general, the court will consider each party’s income, the amount of time each party spends caring for a child, whether the parent is underemployed, and the deductions (i.e. mortgage interest, health insurance, etc.) of each party.
Who is entitled to child support in Riverside & Temecula?
Any parent of a child that would be owed child support under California guidelines may request payment. The amount of child support is calculated using a “guideline” calculator that can be found in substance here: https://www.cse.ca.gov/ChildSupport/cse/guidelineCalculator.
Can a “non-custodial” parent be the recipient of child support?
Yes, it is possible. The “guideline” formula takes into consideration the incomes of each party and the amount of time that each parent spends caring for a child. It is possible that in a given situation a parent that does not have the “majority” of custody might still be entitled to child support under the guidelines. For example, suppose a mother has 60% of the parenting time with a child and the father has 40% of the parenting time with the child, but the mother’s income is three times more than the father’s income. It is possible that the guidelines will require the mother to pay child support to the father.
What forms do I need to file for child support in Riverside County?
The answer to this question depends on the “underlying case” that has been filed, which is discussed in detail below. Basically, if you do not have an open Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) case and you have a divorce or paternity action that has been filed, you will file a Request for Orders (RFO) in the courthouse where your divorce (also called dissolution of marriage) or paternity case is filed. The RFO is a motion where you file the requisite forms and a hearing date is set.
The RFO requires the following forms: FL-300, and FL-335 or FL-330. All the forms you need to file an RFO can be accessed by clicking here.
If you do have an open DCSS case, inform your DCSS case worker that you desire to have a motion filed to address child support immediately. Most often, DCSS will prepare the necessary paperwork. However, importantly, you do not have to wait for DCSS to file an RFO for you – you can file an RFO yourself to get a hearing date as soon as possible.
A link to open a DCSS case can be found here.
Where do I file for child support in Riverside County, California?
There are several places to file for child support in Riverside County. It depends on where you live and whether the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) is involved in your case.
For example, if you live in Temecula and you do not have an open DCSS case, you can file an action for child support in the Hemet Family Law building (click here for link).
If you do not have an open DCSS case
If you do not have an open DCSS case and do not wish to open such a case, you’ll have to initiate some “underlying action” (discussed below) in order to file for child support. This is typically requested within a paternity case, divorce case, or domestic violence case. The family court has the authority in each of these types of cases to order one party to pay child support to the other. There are various family court locations in Riverside Cunty, which include Hemet (serving Temecula residents), Riverside, and Indio.
If you do have an open DCSS case
If you do have an open DCSS case or plan to open a DCSS case, you will need to contact your local DCSS office and “open” a case. A DCSS case can also be opened online by clicking here. The contact information for the various DCSS offices can be found here.
There is also a DCSS office in San Jacinto, near the Hemet Family Law building, which is not advertised on the DCSS website but is located close to that courthouse. (Click here for info).
Does it matter that the person to pay child support lives out of state?
While it doesn’t matter that the person lives out of state because in one way or another they will be compelled to pay child support (unless they live in certain countries), it is very important to how a case is initiated and handled. For a family court in California to order an out-of-state resident to pay child support it must have “jurisdiction” over the person to force them to pay. Jurisdiction is garnered in a variety of ways. For example, if a couple has sexual intercourse in California that results in the pregnancy of a woman, the courts in California will have the authority to order the father to pay child support regardless of where he lives. If the family court in California does not have jurisdiction to order a person to pay child support, we often advise parties to initiate a DCSS case and they will work with the state agency where the support obligor lives to start collecting child support.
What is an “underlying action” and why is that important to child support?
In order to request child support, you have to begin a case that will allow the court to grant your request for child support from the other parent.
Here is a silly example: Suppose Bob wants to sue Beth, his neighbor, because she planted a tree on his property. He also wants to ask the court to order Beth to pay him child support. In this example, Bob and Beth are just neighbors and do not share a child together, and therefore there is no legal basis for the court to order Beth to pay child support.
Now suppose that Bob and Beth have a child together. Bob wants to seek child support from Beth. Bob needs to file some kind of case that gives the family court in Riverside County the authority to order child support, which generally stems from these types of cases:
- Divorce: Where parties are married and have a child together, during the divorce proceeding the family court can order one party to pay child support to the other.
- Paternity: Where parents of a child are unmarried, one parent can file an action seeking to establish a paternal relationship, which is called a “paternity” case.
- Domestic violence: Where one party seeks a court order for protection from a person that is “related” or having a current or past dating relationship.
- Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) cases: When a DCSS case is opened, the “underlying action” still must be established that gives the court authority to order child support. Often, DCSS gets involved in “paternity” cases where paternity is established and the court can then order child support to be paid by one parent to the other.
How long does it take to start receiving child support?
The amount of time it takes to begin receiving child support depends on a variety of factors. There are ways that we try and expedite things for our clients to start receiving child support. For example, when DCSS is involved it typically takes them awhile to open the case and to take action. Litigants with DCSS cases are still allowed to have their own attorneys, so we often step in to gently push the process along by filing a Request for Order (RFO) that will set a hearing date. The faster you get a hearing date and an order for the payment of child support the faster you will have the money.
Typically, it can take from 30 to 60 days to obtain a hearing date when you file a motion for child support, so the sooner you file the better. Note that the court has the ability and often will make a “retroactive” order for the payment of child support from the date of filing of a motion.
Where are child support payments sent for people living in Riverside County?
In Riverside County and throughout California, all child support payments are to be sent through the State Disbursement Unit (SDU).
Does Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP offer free consultations to discuss child support in Riverside County?
Yes, our office provides a free, private consultation for anyone that wishes to discuss child support in Riverside County. Call or email us today!