Opening A Case
Who Can Open A Case
- A parent or legal guardian who lives in California and who is not on public assistance
- A parent who lives outside of California and the other parent lives in California
- A parent who lives in California and the other parent lives in another state
NOTE: An individual who applies for public assistance is in most cases referred to us to open a case and is required to cooperate.
How To Open A Case
- You may make an appointment by telephone (209)-533-6408 or visit one of our offices to obtain the application and begin the process.
- You may apply online using the Simplified Application Process. Click here to get started.
Our Office Locations
All offices are open Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm, including the lunch hour. Offices are closed on major holidays.
- Jackson: 639 New York Ranch Rd, Jackson, CA 95642
- Markleeville: 75 Diamond Valley Rd, Markleeville, CA 96120
- San Andreas: 509 E. St. Charles St, San Andreas, CA 95249
- Sonora: 975 Morning Star Dr, Sonora, CA 95370
Parentage establishment is the process of determining a child’s legal parent(s). Legal parentage ensures that every child born to unmarried parents will have all the same legal rights and benefits provided to a child born to married parents. The benefits of legal parentage may give your child the right to:
- Social Security Benefits
- Military Benefits
- Inheritance Rights
- Health Insurance
- Survivors Benefits
Parentage can be established by the following actions:
Open a case with CSCSA and we will walk you through the legal process which can save you time and money. Click here for how to apply for this service
Parentage Opportunity Program (POP)
This program is free to eligible parents who agree to establish legal parentage without going to court. To find out more about signing a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage click here.
Locating the Parent Obligated to Pay Support
Information about a case participant is needed to carry out the administrative and legal services provided by Central Sierra Child Support Agency. We have access to several federal, state, county, and private resources that may assist in identifying information on a case participant, but your help is needed.
The most important information that you can provide is the other parent’s social security number, date of birth, and any employment information. In addition, an address or any other information relating to their residence or physical location is helpful for the legal process. When a legal action is filed, the other parent must be given notice of the legal action to allow them to take the necessary steps to protect his or her rights. If you do not any locate information about the other parent, we can obtain information from:
- Employment Development Department (EDD)
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) /Franchise Tax Board (FTB)
- Credit reporting agencies
- Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- Local and state criminal records
- The California and Federal Parent Locator Service (CPLS and FPLS)
- Court records
Establishing a Support Order
Central Sierra Child Support Agency can help you establish a child support order based upon each parent’s income, visitation, and other factors allowed by law. To estimate your child support order, click here Guideline Calculator. All child support orders require an Income Withholding Order (IWO) so child support can be withheld from the obligor’s paycheck, unless otherwise ordered by the court or agreed upon by the parents.
Child Support Enforcement
For parents ordered to pay support who become delinquent in their child support payments, there are automated enforcement actions and legal enforcement actions that may occur. Unless otherwise ordered by the court or agreed upon by the parents, an Income Withholding Order (IWO) and National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) are required to be issued to the other parent’s employer for the collection of child support and enforcement of health insurance.
Automatic enforcement actions include:
- License Suspension (SLMS)
- Credit Reporting
- Financial levies
Additional legal enforcement actions which may occur are:
- Seek-Work Order/Judgment Debtor’s Exam
- Civil Contempt
- Employer Contempt
- Referrals to other jurisdictions
To make a payment online, please visit the Payment options page here
Payments must have identifying information to insure proper credit:
- Participant Identification Number(s) – If you do not have this number, please contact the Agency, or;
- Case numbers, or;
- Social Security Number(s), and;
- Payor/Payee Name
- "Child Support" should be indicated in the Memo section of any check/money order
SDU offers parents more options – Today child support payments can be received by:
When a payment is received, it is forwarded to the family within two business days unless the money is owed to the county or must be held for some other reason. All collections, except federal tax refund intercepts, are credited to current monthly support (child support first, medical second, and spousal third.) If there is money remaining after paying current support, it is used to pay any past due child support. Payments applied to past due child support are first applied to principal and then to interest.
Modifying a Support Order
Once child support is established, it continues at the same rate until it is legally changed. A child support order is eligible for review every three (3) years, however a case can be reviewed for modification sooner if there is a substantial change in circumstance. Either party may request a review of their order and the support amount may increase or decrease depending on the facts presented at the time. We will gather visitation and financial information from both parties, such as pay stubs, tax return statements, child care verifications, and health insurance premiums. This information is entered into the California Guideline Child Support Calculator, which determines the monthly child support amount due.
If the parties agree to the new amount of child support without court appearances, we can prepare a stipulated agreement which is filed with the court. When parties do not agree, a request will be made to the court to review the order and the parties will be notified. The court then holds a hearing to determine the terms of the new child support order and if a modification is appropriate. The hearing provides an opportunity to the parties to be present and heard in court.
To estimate your child support order, visit State of California child support Guideline Calculator.
Out-of-State Child Support
The child support agency also establishes parentage and collects support when a parent lives outside of California – in any of the other 49 states, territories, and many other countries. If the law allows, support will be determined in California courts however, in some cases we must use the courts of the other state or country. Every state and country has its own court system, laws and procedures. By their very nature, these cases are more complex and may take more time to get results.
If you have a complaint against any Child Support Office for any action or inaction regarding your child support case, you have the right to request complaint resolution. Prior to filing a complaint, we attempt to resolve any complaints through your caseworker and/or their supervisor. If you are still not satisfied with the results:
- You can initiate a complaint in writing by completing and submitting a Complaint Resolution Form to any Child Support Office, the form can be found here or by calling (866) 901-3212.
- Your request for complaint resolution must be made within 90 days from the date you knew, or should have known, about the subject of your complaint.
- The Child Support Office has 30 days from the date it receives your complaint to give you a written resolution of your complaint. The Child Support Office will contact you if it needs more information or time to resolve your complaint.
State Hearing Process
You have a right to a State Hearing if you have gone through the complaint resolution process and you are not satisfied with the Child Support Office's written response to your complaint:
- Your request for a State Hearing must be made within 90 days of the date you received the Child Support Office's written decision to your complaint.
- If the Child Support Office does not respond to your complaint in writing, you must request a State Hearing within 90 days from the date of your complaint to the Child Support Office
You may contact the Ombudsperson Unit at (866) 901-3212 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following issues are not subject to the complaint resolution process:
- Child Support issues requiring a motion, order to show cause, or appeal in court
- A review of any court order for child support or child support arrears
- A court order or equivalent determination of parentage
- A court order for spousal support
- Child custody or visitation determination
- Complaints of alleged discourteous treatment by a local child support agency employee, unless such conduct resulted in a hearable action or inaction
If a hold has been placed on a license or you have received notification from the Department of Motor Vehicles regarding a suspension or revocation, contact us immediately by phone, in person, or by email to determine options available for a release.
Per Family Code Section 17520, driver's licenses and many professional licenses can be denied or suspended if the paying parent becomes delinquent with their child support payments. Some of the licenses affected by the suspension process include but are not limited to the following: driver's licenses, teacher, contractor, truck driver, hunting/fishing, real estate, lawyer, medical, barber, cosmetologist, and many others.