Support Process

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Opening A Case

Any parent or guardian of a child in need of support may open a case with the Fresno County Department of Child Support Services. Click here for a list of documents and information that you will need in order to open a case. To help expedite your case, please provide as much information as possible about your child(ren) and the absent parent.

Locating the Absent Parent

To get an order for support, establish parentage or enforce a child support order, the Department of Child Support Services must know where the absent parent lives or works. Click here for more information.

Establishing Parentage

"Parentage" is the recognition of a parent's legal relationship to a child

The Parentage Opportunity Program (POP) is a voluntary program for eligible parents to establish legal parentage free of charge.  This significantly decreases the time and money required to establish legal parentage through the lengthy and expensive court process.  A filed Voluntary Declaration of Parentage (VDOP) has the same force and effect as a judgment for parentage issued by a court. Click here to read about the Parentage Opportunity Program.

Establishing a Support Order

Once the Department of Child Support Services locates the absent parent, and there is no previously existing support order, the Department of Child Support Services will seek a support order for money and/or medical coverage for your child. A number of factors will determine the level of monetary and medical support. Read on for more information.

Enforcing a Support Order

The Department of Child Support Services will enforce a support order if the absent parent is not making any payments, is not paying the full amount of support, or simply at the request of the custodial parent. In accordance with State and Federal guidelines, the DCSS will use several methods of enforcement to collect and distribute payments.

Information for Noncustodial Parents

Noncustodial parents, or parents who currently do not have primary physical custody of their child(ren), have an important role in the child support process. This section helps to explain their role and answers some of the most commonly asked questions of noncustodial parents.

Legal Information

It's important that you understand what your legal relationship is with the Department of Child Support Services. If you desire more personalized assistance for your support case, you may seek the services of a private attorney.

Military Personnel

As a member of the military, you should be aware of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. You may be entitled to some credit toward your child support arrears. Read on for more information.