When the obligor parent doesn't pay the full amount, or doesn't pay at all, enforcement action is necessary.  The San Mateo County DCSS strives to make sure that child support payments are regularly made and in the correct amount and that health insurance, if ordered, is provided for the child.

The San Mateo County DCSS will try to get the obligor parent to voluntarily pay.  If the obligor parent is not paying the court ordered support amount in full each month, automated enforcement actions will occur. Legal action may be taken for failure to comply with the court ordered payment amount and may result in jail time.  It is important for an obligor parent to contact our office as soon as a change in circumstance prevents them from making payments in full each month.

Some of the enforcement actions taken by San Mateo County DCSS are detailed below.

Wage Withholding

The Family Support Act of 1988 requires that child support payments be withheld from an obligor parent's paycheck from the time child support is ordered.  The obligor parent's earnings will be withheld unless she/he can: 1) show good cause why it should not be done, or 2) has an alternative arrangement with the San Mateo County DCSS.  (Good cause and alternative arrangements concerning earning assignments are specified in California Family Code Section 5260).

The employer of the obligor parent is served with an Income Withholding Order for a specified amount of current support and past-due child support, with instructions to send the payment to the California Statewide Disbursement Unit for processing and disbursement to the Custodial Party.  Once an Income Withholding Order is served, the employer must honor it as long as the obligor parent remains employed.

An employer may not take more than 50 percent of the obligor parent's disposable earnings unless ordered to do so by the court.  The Incoming Withholding Order has priority over most other withholding orders against the obligor parent.

National Medical Support Notice (NMSN)

A National Medical Support Notice serves as notification to the obligor parent's employer to enroll the children in the parent's health insurance plan pursuant to the child support court order.  The notice authorizes the employer to deduct the cost of the health care premiums from the obligor parent's earnings.  The employer is instructed to notify the San Mateo County DCSS of any lapse or change in the health insurance coverage. The obligor parent should contact San Mateo County DCSS if health insurance coverage poses a hardship.

Real Property Liens

The San Mateo County DCSS will record support orders and judgments with the county recorder to create a lien against any real property in that county in which an obligor parent has or acquires an interest.  Any action by the obligor parent to sell or refinance is prevented unless the lien is satisfied in full, or other arrangements are made with the San Mateo County DCSS.  Title companies should contact San Mateo County DCSS for a request for a demand and lien release.

Department of Child Support Full Collection Program

Anytime an obligor parent is more than $100.00 and 60 days past due in paying child support, the Full Collection Program will be alerted.  Through a Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM), funds may be taken from bank accounts, savings accounts, rental income or dividends to collect past-due child support.

Statewide Intercept and Information Systems

Internal Revenue Service and Franchise Tax Board Tax Refund Intercept Systems: Intercepts obligor parent's state and federal income tax refunds to pay their past-due child support.

Unemployment Insurance Benefit Intercept System: Intercepts up to 25% of state unemployment payments owed to obligor parents to pay their past-due child support.

Disability Insurance Benefit Intercept System: Intercepts up to 25% of state disability payments owed to obligor parents to pay their past-due child support.

Lottery Winners Intercept: Intercepts lottery winnings owed to obligor parents to pay past-due child support.

Credit Reporting System: On a monthly basis, the payment history and balances owed by an obligor parent will be submitted to all major credit reporting agencies.  This can adversely impact an obligor parent’s overall credit score.

Passport Denial: Cases with balances greater than $2500.00 are automatically submitted for Passport Denial.  A new application or renewal of a passport will be denied until all past-due support is paid in full.  A passport may be issued or renewed in extraordinary situations such as death of an immediate family member which requires travel outside the United States.

State Licensing Match System (SLMS): Denies and suspends permanent state issued business, professional and driver's licenses (for example: cosmetologist, contractor, doctor, teacher, attorney, truck driver) to obligor parents who are more than 30 days delinquent.  Revokes the licenses of any obligor parent who fails to comply with an agreement to pay past-due support in order to obtain a license.

New Hire Registry: Employers must report new or rehired employees to the Employment Development Department within 30 days.  Matches with the New Hire Registry provide the Local Child Support Agency with early identification when an obligor parent becomes employed.

Workers' Compensation Appeals Board Match System: The San Mateo County DCSS may issue an Income Withholding Order to a Worker’s Compensation Insurance Company when temporary benefits are being paid to an obligor parent.  The amount to be withheld may be up to 25% of the amount of each periodic payment.  In addition, lump sum injury settlement payments may be taken to collect past-due child support owed from the date of injury forward.

Legal Action

The obligor parent’s duty to pay child support may be enforced by a contempt action, punishable by jail sentence, community service and/or fine.

Click on the following link to view a flowchart of the child support process: Child Support Case Process