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Child Support

After the Case

At the end of a court hearing, the judge will make a decision about what should happen next. He or she may decide that another hearing needs to be held. Or, he or she may make the decisions needed to set up child support. If this is the last hearing, it still is not the end of the case.

If the judge made a decision, he or she will sign the court order stating what decision was made. However, the case is not completed until the judge’s order is filed with the court clerk.

Preparing the “Order After Hearing”

At the hearing, the judge will tell you or the other parent to prepare a document called an “Order After Hearing” that reflects what the judge decided. If the DCSS is involved in the case, then it will handle this paperwork.

Remember: If you or the other parent is asked to prepare the document, either of you can get help from the Family Law Facilitator.

1. The form to use is the:

  • Findings and Order After Hearing (Form FL-340)

It asks:

  • the date and courtroom where the case was heard.
  • the name of the judge and the names of the parents and any attorneys who attended.
  • what orders the judge made that day.
  • Then there are different pages to be completed for the different orders that the judge issued. For instance;
    • if the judge only made child support orders, a completed:
      • Child Support Information and Order Attachment (Form FL-342) must be attached. See the instructions for this form.
    • If the judge made orders that were different from the guideline order, a:
      • Non-Guideline Child Support Findings Attachment (Form FL-342(A))
        must be attached.
  • If there were any other orders made, the forms that apply are to be attached.
  • On the forms, whatever the judge ordered in the courtroom must be accurately stated.

2. When the forms are completed, copies of them must be sent to the other parent. If the other parent was at the hearing, the other parent has 5 days to review. They then must approve or reject them.

  • When the proposed order is sent to the other parent, a letter letting them know about this time limit must be sent with the forms.

3. If the other parent approves the forms as completed, he or she must sign the "Findings and Order After Hearing" (Form FL-340) and return it to the parent who prepared the documents.

If the other parent DOES NOT RESPOND within the time limit provided, the order may be submitted to the court with a request that the court finalized the order without the other parent's approval. Include a copy of the letter sent to the other parent informing him or her of the time limit.

If the other parent DOES NOT APPROVE of the order as prepared by the first parent, then he or she can consult with an attorney who has experience in this field.

4. Next, the parent who prepared the documents must take the signed forms to the inbox for the courtroom where his or her case was heard.

5. The clerk will review the proposed order and submit it to the judge for signing.

6. Once it is signed, the parent will need to retrieve it. The parent will make several copies of the order so that he or she will have copies to distribute.

7. Then the parent must take the original and all of the copies back to the court clerk to be filed. The clerk will keep the original, stamp the copies and return them to the parent.

8. Finally, the parent who prepared the documents is to serve a copy of the file-stamped copy of the order on the other parent.

After the court case, BOTH of the parents have to file a Child Support Registry Form.

One of the parents was asked to submit the prepared order to be signed by the judge. At the same time, this parent must attach a completed:

  • Child Support Registry Form (Form FL-191).

Then, the other parent must complete this Registry Form within 10 days of the date that the order is signed.

  • Both parents must file a Support Registry Form.
  • This form registers the case in a national registry to help with enforcement.
  • This form is confidential and will not be kept in the court’s files. It will be maintained by the State of California.

If any of the information you provide on this form changes, you must complete a new form and deliver it to the court clerk within 10 days of the change.

Either parent can ask the court to change the child support amount to be paid each month if his or her circumstances change. For example, the support may be changed if a parent loses his or her job, the child who was living with one parent now lives with the other, or if the medical or educational needs of the child have changed.

Read an information sheet called "Simplified Way to Change Child, Spousal, or Family Support" (FL-391).

To ask the court to change the amount of a child support, take the following steps:

STEP 1. Fill out a new, UPDATED set of these forms:

STEP 2. Before you file the forms with the Court Clerk:

  1. Attach a copy of the existing child support order that you are seeking to change to your Request for Order.
  2. Attach a copy of your pay stubs for the last two months to your financial statement. (Form FL-150)
  3. Make 3 copies of your completed forms with their attachments.

STEP 3. File the forms at the courthouse:

  • When you are ready, take your original forms and your copies to the Court Clerk’s office for filing. You may need to pay another filing fee
  • When you file your papers, the clerk will give you a hearing date so that you can make your request before the judge.

STEP 4. Serve the forms:

NOTE: YOU CANNOT SERVE YOUR OWN FORMS.

A person over 18 who is not connected with the court case can give the forms to the other parent.

A. Have copies of all of these papers - including information about the hearing date - served on the other parent (and on the Department of Child Support Services if it is handling the case). This can be done in person or by mail.

Also have the other parent served with a blank copy of these forms that they can complete:

  • Responsive Declaration (Form FL-320) and
  • Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150)

Keep a copy of these papers for your file.

B. Have the person who served the papers fill out a Proof of Service form.

For personal service -- The person who serves the documents is to complete one:

  • Proof of Personal Service (Form FL-330)
    for each person or agency served and return it to you for filing with the court.
For service by mail -- The person who mails the documents is to complete one:
  • Proof of Service by Mail (Form FL-335)
    listing all of the people and agencies served and return it to you for filing with the court.

STEP 5. File the Proof of Service form at the courthouse:

The court clerk will stamp the copy “Filed” and return it to you. This is proof that the service requirements have been met.

  • The other parent has until nine (9) court working days before the hearing to file a:
    • Responsive Declaration (Form FL-320) and
    • Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150) with the court.

      He or she should serve a copy of these responsive papers on you.

STEP 6. Finish the process:

To finish the process, the two parents are to attend the hearing that was scheduled when the application to modify the support amount was filed.

  • Bring to the hearing copies of your last year’s tax return, IRS W-2 forms, IRS 1099 forms, and your most recent pay stubs.

At the court hearing, the judge will look at the new circumstances and make a decision one way or the other about whether to modify the child support amount.

If the judge decides to modify the child support amount, he or she will ask the parent who started this motion to prepare an “Order After Hearing.” The “Order After Hearing” has to be:

  • Approved by the other parent;
  • Then signed by the judge;
  • Filed with the Court Clerk; and
  • Served on the other parent.
  • The Proof of Service has to be filed at the courthouse.

REMEMBER: The Office of the Family Law Facilitator can help you with any part
of this process.

After the hearing is over and the order is final, some issues may still arise. For instance, if a parent has an order to receive child support, he or she may have difficulty collecting the money that is owed. There are some options that may help to collect the support .

Wage Assignments

All child support orders are collectable by wage assignment. This means that the child support amount can be deducted from the paycheck of the person ordered to pay support. However, a wage assignment is not automatic.

If the Department of Child Support Services is involved in the case, it will issue a wage assignment and begin collecting from the other parent’s employer. (If back support is owed, the wage assignment will be larger than the base monthly child support amount because it will include an amount to pay off the past-due support each month.)

If the Department of Child Support Services is NOT involved in the case, the parent who is to receive the support can request a wage assignment through the courts.

Either parent can ask the court to change the child support amount to be paid each month if his or her circumstances change. For example, the support may be changed if a parent loses his or her job, the child who was living with one parent now lives with the other, or if the medical or educational needs of the child have changed.

Read "How to Oppose a Request to Change Child, Spousal, or Family Support "(FL-393).

If you were served with a "Request for Order" which asks for a modification of the child support:

First, read carefully all of the papers to see what exactly the other parent is asking for. Note that the Request for Order states a hearing date, time, and location for you to appear in court. Then, take the following steps:

STEP 1. Fill out two forms:

  • Responsive Declaration to the Request for Order (Form FL-320)
  • Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150)
    See the instructions for this form.
NOTE: The Family Law Facilitator’s Office can answer questions about these forms and help you to fill them out.

STEP 2. Before you file the forms with the Court Clerk:

  • Attach a copy of your pay stubs (or other proof of income) for the last two months to your financial statement (Form FL-150).
    Make 3 copies of your completed forms and their attachments.

STEP 3. File the forms at the courthouse:

  • When you are ready, take your original forms and your copies to the court clerk’s office for filing. To learn how to do this, go to the "File Your Papers at Court" page.

STEP 4. Serve the forms:
California law requires that the other parent be given formal notice that a Responsive Declaration to the Request for Order (form FL-320) has been filed with the court.
The financial form should also be served.

A. You can use either one of two types of service:

  • The forms can be served by first class mail (called service by mail) OR
  • The forms can be served by personal delivery (called personal service).

B. As with all Service of Process you CANNOT serve your own papers.

  • Another adult (18 years or older) who is not involved in the case could be asked to serve the papers.)

C. There are time limits for service of process:

  • Generally, the forms are to be served on the other parent no later than 9 court working days before the hearing.
  • However, if you are receiving public assistance you must disclose that fact in the Income and Expense Declaration and notify the DCSS at least 21 days before the hearing.

D. The person who actually served the papers is to fill out:

  • Proof of Service by Mail (Form FL-335) if he or she put the forms in the mailbox, or
  • Proof of Personal Service (Form FL-330) if he or she actually handed the forms to the other parent.

STEP 5. File the Proof of Service form:
After the other parent has been notified of the Responsive Declaration to the Request for Order, the original, completed and signed copy of the “Proof of Service” form and at least one copy is to be taken to the court clerk to be filed.

  • The court clerk will stamp the copy “Filed” and return it to you. This is proof that the service requirements have been met.

STEP 6. Finish the process:
To finish the process, the two parents are to attend the hearing that was scheduled with the application to modify the support amount was filed.

  • The date, time and location of the hearing were written on line one (1) of the filed form.
  • Bring to the hearing copies of your last year’s tax return, IRS W-2 forms, IRS 1099 forms, and your most recent pay stubs.

At the court hearing, the judge will look at the new circumstances and make a decision one way or the other about whether or not to modify the child support amount.

If the judge decides to modify the child support amount, he or she will ask the parent who started this motion to prepare an “Order After Hearing.” The “Order After Hearing” has to be:

  • Approved by you;
  • Then signed by the judge;
  • Filed with the Court Clerk; and
  • Served on the other parent.

REMEMBER: The Office of the Family Law Facilitator can help you with any part of this process.