In order to begin receiving child support, a child support order and/or medical support must be established.  Anyone who has a child support and/or medical support order, or wants to establish one, can apply for child support enforcement services by completing an application form. After the application form is signed and received by the San Mateo County Department of Child Support Services (DCSS), the child support process begins. Parents who receive public assistance, including Medi-Cal, will automatically be referred to San Mateo County DCSS by the Welfare Department. San Mateo County DCSS will take the following steps to collect support from a obligor parent. 

Step 1: Open a Child Support Case

Either parent, or the caretaker/guardian of a child, may open a child support case by completing an application. San Mateo County DCSS will also open a case for any individual receiving Welfare and/or Medi-Cal who has been referred by the county Welfare Department. The more information the custodial party gives about the case, the better service San Mateo County DCSS can provide.

You can complete an Online Application for Support Services and submit it electronically.

Step 2:  Intake Interview

After receiving a completed application, San Mateo County DCSS will open a case within 20 days, and will contact the custodial parent within 10 days to conduct an Intake Interview. The custodial parent may be asked to provide documentation that was not included with the application, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, tax returns, paystubs, photo identification, etc. In addition, the custodial parent will be asked to provide information about the child(ren) and the obligor parent.

Step 3: Locate a Parent

To get an order for support, establish paternity or enforce a child support order, San Mateo County DCSS must know where the obligor parent lives or works. San Mateo County DCSS will make every effort to locate the obligor parent.

Step 4: Establish Paternity

If paternity (fatherhood) has not yet been established, San Mateo County DCSS will take the necessary steps to establish paternity. (Paternity must be established before child and medical support can be ordered by the court.)

Step 5: Establish a Support Order

If a court order for child support does not already exist, and the obligor parent is located, an support order will be sought by San Mateo County DCSS and established by the court based on both parent's ability to pay support, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, and the financial needs of the child. San Mateo County DCSS will also request that the court require the obligor parent to provide health insurance for the child if it is available at a reasonable cost.

Step 6: Enforcement of Support Order

San Mateo County DCSS will take steps to enforce court orders for child support and medical support. Enforcement action will be taken by San Mateo County DCSS if the obligor parent does not pay or pays less than the amount ordered, or if the obligor parent does not provide health insurance for the child as ordered by the court. San Mateo County DCSS will determine what type of enforcement action is to be taken, consistent with state and federal regulations.

Step 7:  Modifying a Court Order

The custodial or obligor parent may request that the current support order be reviewed for possible modification to change the amount of support ordered to be paid, or to provide health insurance for the child(ren).