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Are you having trouble establishing paternity of your child because you and the baby's father aren't married? Are you having difficulty collecting court-ordered support because your ex-spouse has dropped off the radar? Is your ex-spouse self-employed and suddenly claiming that their business is faltering -- despite not making any changes to their lavish lifestyle?

These are all common problems when it comes to child support. The California Department of Child Support Services wants parents to know that there are 49 regional and county support agencies across the state to assist them.

A 2017 study showed that many California parents are unaware of the variety of support systems or the networks in place to help children in need and their parents. Many times, the local child support agency can even go to court and obtain support orders that will force the non-custodial parent to pay for the child's medical needs or financial expenses. Other agencies will try to work out the issues between the parents without the need for court interaction.

Finally, Child Support Services (CSS) can often track down a parent who is working "under the table" or hiding income and collect support that's owed. CSS also keeps track of how much support is due to a child -- because that obligation never goes away.

The state services aren't all geared to recipients of support. If a paying parent needs a modification because of a job loss or change in custody, CSS may be able to arrange a modification. There is even a "Compromise of Arrears" program that can reduce back support owed.

Not every child support problem or modification can be accomplished with state agency help alone. In addition, the wheels of the state turn very slowly -- which might not be ideal for many parents with an immediate need. In many cases, it's wiser to at least consult with a family law attorney to learn about your options.

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