When unwed parents have a child, parentage (legal fatherhood) needs to be established. There are three ways paternity can be established; both parents can voluntarily sign a Declaration of Paternity, by court order, or by DNA testing. Establishing paternity may allow for the father’s name to be on the birth certificate and may also allow for the child to receive the father’s medical and/or social security benefits.
The Kern County Department of Child Support Services works with parents to establish court orders that are based on the guidelines established by State law. Child support guidelines are based on many factors, including the income of both parents and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. State law mandates that court orders include health insurance requirements.
After a child support and medical order is established, the next step is to start collecting the designated amount of support. The Kern County Department of Child Support Services uses a variety of actions to enforce court orders for child support. The primary collection method is the Income Withholding Order, where money is automatically deducted from the parent’s paycheck. Other methods used include intercept of State and Federal tax refunds, bank levies, and property liens. Parents who owe past due child support may have their licenses suspended or passports revoked.
Sometimes when circumstances change, there is a need to increase or decrease child support payment amounts. Parents may request a modification to their child support order when their circumstances change. Examples of changes that could affect the child support amount include an increase or decrease in earnings, a change in custody or amount of time the child spends with each parent, military deployment, or incarceration.
Open a Child Support Case Online
To open a child support case online, click the link below. You may want to have the following items available before starting the online application:
- Name, address and social security number of the other parent
- Information on his/her income and assets—pay slips, tax returns, bank accounts, investments or property holdings