The DCSS and You
The DCSS does not represent either the parents or the child(ren), and our attorneys are not your attorneys. Because you are not a legal client, the information you provide is not confidential under the attorney/client privileges. The information in your case may be discussed or disclosed to other public agencies that are authorized by law to receive such information, the other parent's employer and to the other parent or her/his attorney to the extent required by law. See "How the DCSS Handles Confidential Information" below.
By law, the DCSS has the final decision on what child support enforcement actions will be taken, even if the custodial parent disagrees. Parents have the right to seek legal advice from a private attorney or legal aid group at their own expense at any time.
Seeking Alternative Legal Assistance
In addition to the Fresno County Department of Child Support Services, private attorneys and legal clinics can provide legal assistance in child support cases.
A private attorney can provide personalized services to parents. They can give as much time to a case as is necessary to do an effective job. The biggest drawback is expense. A private attorney will charge for the time required for personal interviews, telephone calls, legal research, court appearances, and the preparation of pleadings. If the custodial party cannot afford an attorney, the noncustodial parent may be ordered to pay reasonable attorney fees and court costs. However, it is up to the judge to decide how much, if any, of the legal fees the noncustodial parent may be ordered to pay.
Services offered by a legal clinic may cost less than those provided by a private attorney. Legal clinics may charge for services based on the actual time spent on a case or on a contingency fee basis.
Family Law Facilitator's Office
There is a free legal service available to those clients representing themselves in child support issues. The Fresno County Family Law Facilitator's Office can be reached by calling (559) 457-2100. Clients are seen by appointment only.
By law, the records kept by our office are strictly confidential and may not be seen without a court order by the custodial parents, the children, or the noncustodial parent. However, you are entitled to see:
- Any document you provided to the Department of Child Support Services
- Your payment history
- Any record legally defined as a "public record"
Frequently Asked Questions