In theory, it should be simple to file for child support in the state of California. According to the Self-Help Center of the California Court System, there are several steps that one can take prior to collecting child support.
The first step is that you start up a court case. However, not all child support cases are the same. There are factors that must be considered for the most part. Factors would revolve around the relationship. Are you married? Are you in a domestic relationship with the other parent? This will affect the kind of child support case you can start up.
It does explain that if you get public assistance via Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the local child support agency will automatically go after the other parent for child support. You have to get with the local child support agency and get written approval for child support if you plan on filing for divorce, legal separation, and so forth. The local child support agency will collect the child support money for you.
One can refer to the website for the California Department of Child Support Services. On the website, you complete the application packet and return it to the child support agency in your area. You can get such applications on a walk-in basis. However, you can also get the application packet online at the website. The packet is called the FS-CSS-002 Packet.
You will get the following documents:
DCSS-0597, which is the self-service application cover letter
DCSS-0064, which is the Notice of Child Support Services Program
DCSS-0373, which is the Simplified Application for Child Support Services
DCSS-0095, which is the Confidential Paternity Questionnaire
DCSS-0055, which is the Request for Support Services
DCSS-0049, which is the Family Violence Questionnaire Cover
DCSS-0048, which is the Family Violence Questionnaire
DCSS-0053, which is the Visitation Verification
DCSS-0054, which is the Health Insurance Information
FL-150, which is the Income and Expense Declaration,
DCSS-0569 which is the Declaration of Support Payment History
DCSS-0637 which for Spanish-speakers
DCSS-0642 which is the Complaint Resolution-State Hearing Information.
The forms are in the following languages: English, Armenian, Chinese, Hmong, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
In an About.com article about this matter, other optional steps can be taken. One is using the online calculator on the child services page to estimate the child support. In addition, you can sign up online via child services after the order has been established. This allows deposits and payments to be made electronically.