Opening a Case

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Either parent or the custodial party may open a child support case by completing an application. Child support applications may be picked up at any child support office,  may be requested over the phone or download from the internet.

  • For office locations and phone numbers, click here.
  • To apply for services on line, download a Statewide Online Application, click here.
  • To view a Child Support Handbook (PUB 160), click here.

CalWORKS, Medi-Cal, or Foster Care Cases

A case will automatically be opened for any child receiving CalWORKS, Foster Care, or Medi-Cal benefits. In these cases, the Department of Social Services will refer the case to the Department of Child Support Services, unless a good cause exemption is granted. In order to maintain their grant eligibility, parents who apply for public assistance must cooperate with the child support caseworker to establish paternity and to obtain child support payments. Except in a foster care case, the first $50 of child support collected each month for children receiving public assistance is paid directly to the primary custodial party. The remainder of the child support payment collected goes to the County for reimbursement of the welfare benefits. 

Domestic Violence Cases

The Department of Child Support Services understands the extremely sensitive nature of situations involving domestic violence. Special provisions are in place for dealing with child support cases where domestic violence is an issue. If you need help collecting child support from a violent or potentially violent individual, please inform child support staff immediately so that the proper precautions may be taken to protect you and the child(ren).

What To Bring To Your Appointment with Child Support Services

When opening a child support case, you should gather and bring to any appointment as much information as possible. A case can still be opened without all of the information listed below, but it will be easier to collect child support with complete information about each parent and child. The Department of Child Support Services will request the following:

Information about you:

  • Full name, address, and phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Paycheck stubs
  • Name, address, and phone number of employer or former employer
  • Tax returns for the last two years, including W-2 forms and 1099 forms
  • Existing child support orders
  • Marriage license
  • Divorce order or separation agreement

Information about the child:

  • Each child's full name, address, and phone number
  • Each child's date of birth and copy of birth certificate
  • Each child's Social Security Number
  • Proof of paternity

Information about the other parent:

  • Full name, address, and phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Name, address, and phone number of employer or last employer, union or self-employment information
  • A recent photograph or description
  • The names and phone numbers of friends or family
  • Information about past involvement with the child
  • The names of any clubs or organizations
  • Information about valuables, such as cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs, or other property
  • Copies of paycheck stubs, bank statements for checking, savings, or other accounts
  • Tax returns for the last two years, including W-2 forms and 1099 forms