Frequently Asked Questions



Changing a Court Order

How can I get my child support amount changed?

Contact DCSS to request the order be reviewed for a modification. Either parent can request a modification review.

Is there a minimum amount it needs to change?

The child support amount should change $50 or by 20% for a motion to be filed. Participants may file their own motions at any time.

How often can I request my order be changed?

Either party can request a change to the order whenever there is a change in circumstances. There is no limit to the amount of review requests that can be made.

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Compromise Of Arrears Program (COAP)

What is the Compromise of Arrears Program?

COAP is a debt reduction program provided by the state of California for eligible parents to pay less than the total child support debt.

To be eligible for the program, the child support debt must be owed to the state for periods when the dependent(s) received cash aid.

For more information on COAP, click here.

What if I have my child(ren) back? Can I still apply for COAP?

Yes. COA – Family Reunification Program is available for parents whose child(ren) received cash aid with a guardian or relative caregiver, but have now been returned to the custody of the parent.

How much of my arrears balance will I be able to compromise and who do I pay?

Parents applying for a compromise may receive a substantial reduction and this amount must be paid to the state.

Am I able to compromise arrears that are owed directly to the custodial parent/party?

No. Only state debt is available for a compromise; however, you can apply for the COAP while still owing monies to the custodial party.

If I am able to compromise my state arrears, will I still owe child support because my dependent(s) are under 18?

Yes. If the child(ren) are minors, and current child support is owed, the parent must pay the terms of current support before and after an agreed compromise.

Will I be required to pay anything in exchange to compromise my arrears?

No. There are no penalties or fees attached to the COAP agreement. If approved, the parent must be prepared to pay off the reduced balance of the case.

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Collecting Child Support

Why did DCSS attach my wages?

The Family Support Act of 1988 requires that all court orders for child support include an income withholding order.

What happens if a parent falls behind on his or her child support payments?

If a parent falls behind, contact DCSS immediately to discuss the barrier to payment.

All available enforcement tools can be used to enforce the child support obligation.

Why is DCSS charging interest on my child support order?

According to current California law, interest accrues at the rate of 10% per year on any unpaid child support obligation. DCSS is mandated to enforce child support obligations including the interest at the legal rate owed on any unpaid child support (arrears).

Why was my license suspended?

Anytime you miss a payment, or fail to make the full support payment, your license may be referred for suspension.

Contact our office about your options with regard to getting your license released.

Why is there a lien filed against me?

DCSS is mandated to record a legal document with the County Recorders Office that creates a lien against any real property the noncustodial parent may own now or in the future.

I pay my ongoing child support and my arrears payment every month. Why did DCSS intercept my state and federal tax refunds?

State and federal laws provide that under most conditions, your federal and state tax refund can be intercepted by DCSS as payment on the past due support, even if you are current in your monthly payments.

I filed taxes with my spouse (married filing jointly). DCSS intercepted my taxes. What do I do?

Contact the IRS. They will provide you a form called the "Injured Spouse Claim." Once submitted to the IRS, they will review the taxes and make a decision.

Why is my child support debt on my credit report?

DCSS is required to report your ongoing child support obligation, arrears (past due) balance and your payment history to the major credit reporting agencies.

Can a noncustodial parent be arrested for non-payment of child support?

When the noncustodial parent is not meeting the support need of his or her child, DCSS has the ability to refer the case for prosecution. Prior to getting to this point, DCSS enforces the court order through various enforcement tools, such as license suspensions, bank and/or wage levies, and income tax intercepts, etc.

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Making Payments

How will I make my payments?

All payments should be made directly to the SDU. Payments should be sent no later than the 20th of the month.

You can make payments to the SDU online, telephone, via cash at participating MoneyGram or PayNearMe locations, or in the local office.

Be sure to allow for a 3-5 day processing time.

Can I continue to make credit card payments?


Can I go to my child support office and make a payment?

Yes, but you can also make payments online or through MoneyGram or PayNearMe with many locations near you.

My payment is taken out of my paycheck. How will I be affected?

Your employer will receive instructions for sending child support payments to the SDU.

All payments will be credited on the day the payment is received at the SDU, not when it is deducted from your paycheck.

It will be your responsibility to make the support payments directly to the SDU until your employer notifies you that the withholding is in place.

How can I check my account balance?

To check your balance due, you will need to log into Customer Connect.

If you have not set up your Customer Connect account, contact DCSS so we can help get you started.

Can I specify how my child support payments are applied?

No. DCSS must follow State regulations when applying child support payments.

Is the noncustodial parent obligated to pay child support while in jail?

Yes, however you should contact DCSS when either parent is incarcerated.

How can I get a list of previously made payments?

You may log into Customer Connect to access all payments made or received.

You may call the automated phone system to check the status of your last 10 payments.

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Receiving Payments

What can I do to make sure I get my check as fast as possible?

Sign up for direct deposit at SDU.

If I already have direct deposit, do I have to enroll again?

No. If your support payment is already going into your bank account, nothing will change. Your payment will continue to be deposited into your account.

Can I still call the local child support office if I have questions about my case?

Yes. The local office will still answer your case related questions. SDU is only responsible for collecting and processing child support payments.

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Closing Your Case

I am no longer getting cash aid, can I close my child support case?

You may close your portion of the case, but DCSS will continue attempting to collect the balance of the debt owed to the county.

I am only on Medi-Cal, do I have to have a child support case?

No, you do not have to have a case. However, if you were previously receiving cash aid, and a case was opened, we will keep the case open for health insurance enforcement only.

The father and I are back together, how do I close my case?

You may contact DCSS to request closure or complete the closure form and email to

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