How long does the modification process take?

If handled by the San Mateo Department of Child Support Services, the review and modification should be completed within six months; however, this may vary according to court scheduling.  See Interstate Cases link for information on the modification process on orders from other states.

Could you give me an overview of the modification process?

To begin the process, you will need to complete a modification application packet.  If the order meets the criteria for a review for modification, we will collect financial information from both parties.  A modification would be justified if there has been a change in circumstance original support order would increase or decrease by 20% or $50.00 per month, whichever is less.

You have the option to file your own request for modification with the courts.  To obtain the necessary forms, you may go to the Clerks Office at Hall of Justice located at 400 County Center, Redwood City, CA 94063.  If you need assistance to complete the forms, the Family Law Facilitator is available to help you. There is no charge for their services. Access the web site at for their business hours.

What if the other party doesn’t turn in any information?

We check all of the financial information that is available to us from various data sources.  For example, copies of tax returns and employment verifications are requested at the beginning of the modification process.

When does the new amount go into effect?

Your new support obligation will start on the filing date of the order.  In some instances, your support obligation will go back to the date the obligor parent was served with the motion for child support.

Do I need an attorney to represent me?

You are not required to have an attorney for this process.  Whether or not you have private counsel is your decision.  We have an attorney that is here to represent the state.  This office does not handle any issues with custody or visitation.  You will need to contact an attorney or the Family Law Facilitator for more information.

How do I go about withdrawing my modification request after it has been initiated?

Usually, once the modification review process has been initiated, it cannot be stopped; however, in non-welfare cases, both parties can agree in writing to terminate the modification process.  

Where can I obtain modification forms?

You may request modification forms by contacting the Department of Child Support Services at (866) 901-3212 and mailing them to 555 County Center, 2nd Floor, Redwood City, CA 94063 or you may submit an online Request for Review and Adjustment

How do I respond to a modification request?

If you have not received the paperwork in the mail, you may request modification forms by contacting the Department of Child Support Services at (866) 901-3212 and sending the completed form to 555 County Center, 2nd Floor, Redwood City, CA 94063 or you may submit an online response to a Request for Review and Adjustment

What forms/documents are needed for a modification?

DCSS requires a completed Income and Expense Declaration, three most recent paystubs, a copy of your most recent tax return, child care expense verification, and a visitation verification form.

Does DCSS represent either parent?

The DCSS does not represent either parent or the child (ren) and its attorneys are not your attorneys. Because you are not a legal client, the information you provide is not confidential under the attorney/client privilege. Parents have the right to seek legal advice from a private attorney or legal aid group at their own expense, or the county family law facilitator.