Do you owe child support but need help adjusting your child support order to something that you can afford?
- Have you ever been informed of your rights during this process? Do you even feel like you’ve been part of the process? Has your license or passport been taken from you?
- Do you feel like you have no control over the process?
- Have you ever been told of all of the defenses that you can claim or what your options are?
Are you owed child support and need an increase? Do you need past support collected?
- Does your ex have the ability but refuses to pay?
- Does your ex have assets while your child goes without?
- Do you have a child with special needs that needs additional support or support past age 18?
- Do you have medical expenses that were ordered but not paid?
- Have you been told of your collection options?
Have you been dealing with the Child Support Services Department?
Tired of waiting on the phone for what seems like hours with the Child Support Services Department (CSSD) only to find out that you don’t even get to talk to your caseworker?
Facts about Child Support in California
Each county in California has its own child support office or shares offices with an adjacent county. The Department of Child Support Services (CSSD) was created to reimburse to the counties those welfare monies that were paid out to single parents and their children. They will assist both welfare and non-welfare parents but the attorneys assigned to the Child Support Services Department do not represent the person who owes the money nor the person who is owed the money. They don’t even represent the child but they file on behalf of the child. Government attorneys represent the county in court. Their attorneys are not at court to give you legal advice. They will help you through the process but they are not your advocate. They have more cases on calendar than they can adequately prepare for or review. They may not have seen your file until the day they appear in court and you are in front of them. This is certainly the norm in Los Angeles.
So who is representing you? Who has your best interests at heart? You. That’s it. Unless you hire an attorney who knows the system and the law.
The Judge’s Role
Child support in California is handled normally by a commissioner. The law requires a commissioner in CSSD cases unless only a judge is available. The commissioner acts as a judge pro tem (temporary judge). You will be advised of this in court or asked to sign off on an advisement of rights. If you advise the court that you will not agree to a commissioner, then you will be sent to a judge. This might require your case to be continued as there may be no judge in the courthouse able to hear your case. In Los Angeles, the cases are heard normally at the Central District, the Mosk Courthouse (111 N. Hill St, LA).
The commissioners may explain some of the process to you but also will not give you legal advice. They are normally swamped and have a hard time dealing with all of their cases on calendar. They will hear whatever is “on calendar” (the motion that was filed for that day) but they will not review whether you have been afforded all of your rights through the process up to that point. They may review your right to an attorney, the right to genetic testing, the right to bring witnesses, etc. but they are not in a position to review how your case has gotten to where it is and if everything was handled correctly.
You need knowledge and experience on your side!
Whether you feel victimized or just need knowledge and experience on your side, our office can help you.
As a former deputy district attorney/child support attorney for over 20 years, my office can assist you in obtaining an order that is fair and just. More importantly, you will be informed of all of your rights and your options. You do have options!