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Do I still have to pay child support when I Provide your name, the other party’s name, To file with

To file with the court by mail, send the

am unemployed or incarcerated? the type of case, the case number (if original and two (2) copies to the court clerk,
available), and the approximate date of the along with a self-addressed stamped return
Yes. You continue to owe the monthly child court order or document requested. There is a envelope and a cover letter asking the court
support plus 10 percent interest on any past- photocopy charge unless you have no income clerk to file your forms.
due support until the court changes the order. or qualify as low income. Ask the court clerk
To change the child support amount, you must for a fee waiver application form to waive this When the court clerk returns the “Filed”
THE BASICS OF CHILD SUPPORT file a request for a court hearing. photocopy fee. stamped copy to you, find someone over 18
years old, and not a party in your case, to
FOR INCARCERATED PARENTS NOTE: The court cannot change your child serve your documents. You cannot serve
support retroactively. The earliest date the What forms do I need to file to change my your own documents. There are two ways to
court may change your support order is the child support order? serve documents: (1) by personal delivery or
date you file your court papers or the date of (2) by first-class mail. The person who serves
This pamphlet provides a quick reference your court hearing. There are many different forms that you may the documents must complete a Proof of
use. Here are the typical forms you will need Service and file it with the court clerk. He or
for general information and answers to to fill out for each child support order you want she must serve the local child support agency
Where do I get the forms to request a to change: (LCSA) and the other parent at least:
commonly asked questions on child support hearing to change my child support court o 16 court days before the hearing (if
and the court process. order? A. Notice of Motion (form FL-301) serving by personal delivery), or
o ADD 5 calendar days (+ 16 court
Court forms are available at every court clerk’s B. Application for Order and days) if serving by mail within
office in California. Child support forms are Supporting Declaration (form FL-310).
California, or
This pamphlet is not a substitute also available at the Office of the Family Law Explain all the reasons why you are
o ADD 10 calendar days (+16 court
Facilitator. Always provide a self-addressed asking to change the court order. (For
days) if serving by mail outside
for legal advice in your case. stamped envelope if you want any forms to be example, state when you became
California, but within the U.S.A.
mailed to you. unemployed, why you are no longer
o See C.C.P. §1005 for other situations.
employed, why you cannot pay the
Court forms can be printed from the California court-ordered support, why you cannot
Protect your rights. attend the court hearing, and what
Courts Web site: What paper do I file if I am served with a
Always get legal advice so you understand your change you are asking the court to make
Notice of Motion or an Order to Show
in the current order).
rights, responsibilities, C. Financial Statement (Simplified)
Is there any filing fee to request a hearing? (form FL-155) You must file a Responsive Declaration at the
and any legal documents. court clerk’s office at least 9 court days
D. Application for Waiver of Court
Yes. If you receive public assistance, have low before the hearing date, or the court may grant
Fees and Costs (form 982(a)(17))
income, or have no income, you can ask the the requested relief mentioned in the papers.
Published by: court to waive any court filing or copy fees by E. Order on Application for Waiver of
completing forms D and E from the list in this Court Fees and Costs (form
You must also have someone (over 18 years
Judicial Council of California brochure. 982(a)(18))
old who is not a party to your case) serve a
Administrative Office of the Courts
copy of the document on the other parent and
455 Golden Gate Avenue Complete and sign (in black or blue ink) the
San Francisco, California 94102-3688 the local child support agency (if applicable)
How can I get a copy of a past court order above forms.
o 9 court days (if by personal
or other court papers filed in my case? delivery). ADD 5 days if by mail Make three (3) copies of each document.
service within California. (See
You must contact the court clerk in the (Always keep one copy for your records!)
C.C.P. §1005 for other other
courthouse where your case is filed to get File your forms with the proper court in the
copies of your file. county where you owe child support.
Where can I get free or low-cost How is child support calculated? What paper do I file if I am served with a If you are not successful in setting aside an
information or help with my child support The California Family Code (sections 4050– Summons and Complaint or a Petition? order for child support, you may also seek to
questions? 4076) establishes a statewide guideline for change the order by filing a Notice of Motion
child support. The amount of child support You must file the Answer to the Complaint or for modification of child support.
Free self-help information is available from ordered by the court depends on: the Response to the Petition at the court
the Office of the Family Law Facilitator (FLF) clerk’s office within 30 days after you receive How can I avoid the interest charges?
in every county, where you can get help with Number of children the papers, or a default judgment will be You can contact the local child support agency
child support, spousal support, and health entered against you. You must pay the (LCSA) to determine how much you owe plus
Percentage of time each parent shares
insurance issues. The FLF can: required filing fee or submit a completed interest and work out a payment plan. You
with the children
Application for Waiver of Court Fees and should also file a request for a court hearing to
• Provide educational materials. Income, earnings, or earning capacity of Costs form with your papers. (Sending your determine the arrears and interest.
• Provide court forms. each parent Answer or Response to the child support
• Provide assistance with court forms. Tax filing status agency without filing the original with the court
• Prepare guideline child support Support of children from other clerk will not protect you.) You must have Which agency in California is responsible
calculations. relationships someone over 18 years old who is not a party for child support enforcement?
• Provide referrals to the local child to your case serve your Answer or Response
Health insurance expenses on the other party and the local child support The Department of Child Support Services
support agency, family court services,
and other community agencies. Mandatory union dues agency and file a Proof of Service with the (DCSS) is the state agency responsible
Mandatory retirement contributions court clerk. for child support enforcement. The local office
in each county is called the local child support
The FLF is not your attorney and does not Child care and uninsured health agency or the local Department of Child
represent either party. A FLF may assist both expenses Support Services.
The court “presumed” that I earned a
parties in the same case. The FLF is not Other factors certain amount of money. How can I
responsible for the outcome of your case. Toll-free DCSS number: 1-866-249-0773
change the order?
The court will order that health insurance be TDD: 1-866-223-9529
There is no attorney-client privilege and no maintained, if available, at no or reasonable
If a judgment for child support was based on a
confidential relationship between any person cost through the employment of the parent(s). _locations.htm
“presumed income,” you have 1 year from the
and the FLF. The court will also order, as additional child date of the first collection of money by the
support, reasonable uninsured health-care local child support agency to file a Notice and
You should contact your own attorney if you costs and child-care costs related to Who can I contact if the local child support
Motion to Cancel (Set Aside) Support Order
want personalized advice or strategy, a employment or to education or training for agency does not respond to my request for
Based on Presumed Income (form FL-640)
confidential conversation, or representation in employment. assistance?
plus the forms C, D, and E on the other side of
this pamphlet.
The child support order may also include the You can contact the ombudsperson of your cost of travel for visitation, educational WARNING: Do not wait to file your motion. local child support agency, who can:
expenses, and other special needs. Your deadline for filing may be less than one • Help you resolve issues with your
year if there are other legal grounds. See a child support case;
Where on the Internet can I get information lawyer for help. • Explain your rights and
about self-help in family law matters? When will the child support order end? responsibilities; and
The court may, where appropriate, set aside • Tell you the ways you can get child Child support payments are usually court- the original support order and recalculate the support services. ordered until the child reaches the age of 18 guideline amount based on your actual years and completes high school, or age 19 if income, or possibly your income earning Call 1-866-249-0773 (toll-free) to find the
the child is still in high school full time and not ability, for the period of time for which a ombudsperson in the local child support
self-supporting. Disabled adult children may support judgment was entered. agency handling your child support case.
be entitled to be supported by both parents
beyond this period.