In California, once child support is owed, it is always owed until paid. There is no statute of limitations to legally erase the debt over a period of time.
When a court orders a parent to pay child support, that parent is known as the “obligor.” The person who receives the child support (usually the other parent, but it may be a government agency) is known as the “obligee.”
If the obligor fails to pay the ordered support, the obligee can go into court and ask that the obligor be found in arrears or contempt of court. For people of limited funds and other resources, going into court can be very daunting and a tremendous financial hardship.
Fortunately, in California, the legislature has put procedures in place to help through the obligee’s local county. Each county has a support agency to collect child support. This agency is known as the Local Child Support Agency, or LCSA. All LCSAs are under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Child Support Services, or DCSS.
The LCSA will help an obligee collect child support payments without any fees to the obligee. However, the LCSA cannot assist an obligee with other family law issues, such as custody and/or visitation rights, restraining orders, establishing spousal support, and/or enforcing spousal support.
Every county also has a family law facilitator. This person can help an obligee by:
Explaining legal procedures regarding child support orders;
Assist the obligee in filling out legal forms; and
Assist the obligee in calculating the amount of child support based on a procedure known as legal “guidelines.”
For further information regarding collecting child support through the State of California, access the state’s website at ca.gov, click on the Home & Family heading, and then click on the Children & Families subheading. When the Children & Families page appears, click on the Child Support subheading. On the Child Support Services page, click on I need to click on Contact my local child support agency. From that page, click on the county listed for your residence to obtain the information from your LCSA.