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    I am sure the other person is willing to pay support. Can we make an agreement between ourselves and present it to the court?

    If you do not receive public assistance, you and the other person may work together with the RCDCSS, a lawyer or on your own to work out an agreement. If the child (ren) receives public assistance or foster-care payments, the RCDCSS will participate in and sign any agreement and will not agree to a support order for less than the amount of support determined under the statewide guidelines.

    My spouse and I are working out a joint custody agreement. How would the court decide the amount of child support for us?

    That depends on the terms of your agreement. The court will look at each person’s ability to pay, the needs of the child (ren) and the amount of time both people have custody or visitation of the child (ren). See Calculating Child Support, for more information.

    Can the other person be required to include our child (ren) under the group health insurance available where he/she works?

    Health insurance must now be included in any child support order. Even if it is not available immediately, the court order will order the person paying support to provide insurance when it does become available. This applies to all cases. However, the other person may ask for an exemption based on the cost of insurance. Health insurance must be available at a reasonable cost.


    The other person is in jail. Can I get support?

    Unless he/she has assets, like property or income from an outside source or from a work release program, it is unlikely that support can be collected until he/she gets out of jail and receives income or acquires property.

    I am a person paying support. What should I do when I get the Summons and Complaint?

    You may call our office or Family Law Facilitator to discuss the case. You may also respond to the Summons and Complaint by completing the Answer and filing it with the Superior Court clerk within 30 days, before it becomes a Default Judgment. A blank Answer is supplied with the Summons and Complaint.


    What if a person paying support ignores or forgets about the Summons and Complaint?

    The Proposed Judgment served with the Summons and Complaint will be the order of the court if the person paying support does not respond.

    If I file a Response with the court, will I have a chance to talk to the judge?

    Yes. If you respond to the Summons and Complaint and contest the amount of child support or parentage, you will be given a court date.

    How will the court decide how much child support I have to pay as a person paying support?

    The amount of child support is based on the income of both parties and the amount of time each person cares for the child. The court uses child support guidelines provided by the California Family Code.

    How will my employer know how much money to take out of my paycheck to pay my child support?

    The amount of child support is based on the income of both parties and the amount of time each person cares for the child. The court uses child support guidelines provided by the California Family Code. RivCoDCSS will issue an income withholding order based on your child support order, broken down by your pay schedule.


    Can any special arrangements or provisions be made for completing a Declaration of Parentage when the father is in jail or away in the military and cannot be present at the hospital or should both the mother and father sign the Declaration of Parentage form together in front of the same witness?

    Prior to 1997, it was the state’s policy not to allow fathers to sign parentage declarations prior to the child’s birth because we did not believe there was sufficient authority in the law to warrant such an allowance. However, effective January 1, 1997, there were some significant changes in the California Family Code and Health and Safety Code, which supported allowing fathers to sign parentage declarations prior to a child’s birth. First, Health and Safety Code Section 10425 was amended to require a father not married to the child’s mother to sign a parentage declaration or adjudicate parentage in court in order to have his name included as the father on the child’s birth certificate. California Family Code 7570(e), allowing prenatal clinics to offer prospective parents the opportunity to sign voluntary acknowledgements of parentage was enacted by the legislature. Finally, California Family Code Section 7573, which states completed and signed voluntary parentage declarations filed with the state, shall have the same force and effect as a judgment of parentage, and was enacted by the legislature.

    We believe it was the legislature’s intent in enacting the laws described above to allow unmarried parents to complete parentage declarations prior to the child’s birth. We believe this policy affords a father who is unable to be present at the time of his child’s birth, the same opportunity to declare parentage and get his name on his child’s birth certificate as a father who is present at his child’s birth. In applying this policy, we recommend it only be used when the father will be unable to be present at the time of the child’s birth.

    Furthermore, although the mother should enter her identifying information at the time the father signs it, we strongly recommend mothers not to sign the form until the child has been born. In such cases, all fields on the form, except the child’s name and date of birth, should be completed at the time it is signed by the father. Please check with VDOP Coordinator as rules may have changed to only signing VDOP after birth of the child.

    Is there any way to avoid having to go to court?

    Yes. You can avoid going to court by signing a Legal Agreement (stipulation). The person paying support and our office can agree (stipulate) on the amount of child support if the person receiving support is receiving public assistance. If neither person is receiving public assistance, then both parties may sign a legal agreement that establishes parentage and makes a formal arrangement to make child support payments.

    What else is in a stipulation?

    The stipulation contains the agreement that the person paying support is: 1) The parent of child, 2) Willing to pay child support, 3) Willing to provide health insurance for the child if it is available through the parent's employer, and 4) Willing to allow the court to enter an order without appearing in court.