Why is My Child Support Case With DCSS?

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You may have been recently served with papers from the San Diego Department of Child Support Services.

Why is your Child Support case with DCSS? Possible reasons you have a case with DCSS:

  • You are the non-custodial parent (payor);
  • You have less than 50% custodial time with your child/ren;
  • You owe, or will owe child support and/or child support arrears (past due amounts);
  • The other parent is the custodial parent (payee) who is owed child support by you.

What will DCSS do? They will calculate the child support payments due, going back prior to the payee assigning the case to DCSS. They will claim all child support and arrearages the payee is due.

Declaration of Child Support Arrearages: When the Custodial Parent opens and assigns the child support case to DCSS, the Custodial Parent will be required to fill out a child support arrearage declaration identifying what the Custodial Parent claims the Non-Custodial Parent has paid or not paid since the date the child support order was issued. These declarations are not always accurate. The parent receiving child support (Custodial Parent) only has to allege the Non-Custodial Parent (Payor) has not made the payment and the Payor now has the burden to prove that the payment was made. It is always important for the Payor to keep a record of all payments and NEVER pay cash.

Interest on Arrearages: By law 10% per annum is charged as interest on each delinquent child support payment. The 10% accrues starting the end of the month in which the payment was due. The family court judge does not have authority to waive the child support interest. The family court judge also has the power to impose penalties for non-payment of child support.

DCSS Statement of Arrears: In a child support arrearage case before DCSS, DCSS will provide the Payor with what it believes the child support arrearages are. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the Payee’s declaration regarding unpaid child support accurate?
  • Did DCSS document all my payments properly?

It is the burden of the Payor to show that past child support payments were made. Ways that this can be done are as follows: Money orders stubs; Check stubs; Bank Statements showing cashed checks. ATTN: It cannot be said enough- NEVER pay cash… you will not be able to prove a cash payment.

Human error is a fact of life and so it is important to double check DCSS regarding what they say you as the Payor owes because: The Payee is human and may have a bad recollection of child support received. DCSS is staffed by humans and humans make mistakes; it is possible that not all your payments were properly uploaded. It is possible that you were not credited with all the child support payments you made.

The first step is request an audit from DCSS of the alleged child support arrearages owed. A DCSS audit of past child support payments will take several weeks.

Do not assume that the audit is correct. If you dispute the child support payment credit DCSS is giving you, you need to immediately start looking for documentation showing proof of payments you made.

Here are some sources of documentation that would help show child support payment:

  1. Pay statements which show wage garnishments. The Payor can obtain old pay statements from the Payor’s employer.
  2. Cancelled checks if child support payments were made by check. Payor can contact his bank to see if the bank still maintains copies of old cancelled checks and go through his/her online statements to print the checks cashed by Payee.
  3. Statements of online transfers and transactions between the Payor and the Payee from either bank accounts, such as Paypal can also be used.

Remember if the Payor is not being credited with a child support payment that has actually been made, not only is the Payor not being credited the payment but the Payor is also being charged with 10% interest per annum on that non-payment. Getting this right is important!

If DCSS is claiming the Payor has substantial child support arrearages, the payor’s first step is to request that DCSS conduct an Audit. The Payor should look for documentation that would help support the payment(s) that were made. Never pay in cash to the payee. It will NOT get credited by DCSS.

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