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Family Law Self-Help FAQs

Family Law Division Information & Self-Help FAQs

Click on the frequently asked questions below for more information.

If you would like to see information about a particular case or find out about a hearing date, click here to visit our public access DOMAIN website. However, you will not be able to look up information about certain cases that are confidential, including cases involving adoptions, mental health issues and custody petitions for parents who have not married.

1. How to file for a divorce

Divorce can be complicated. We encourage you to talk to a family law lawyer so you will know about your legal rights and the legal issues in your case. This section gives you information on:

  • Options for handling your divorce case
  • Referral resources
  • Forms
  • Fees
Options for handling your divorce case
  • Ask a lawyer to help you
    You can look for a lawyer in the phone book or call the Lawyer Referral Service of the Alameda County Bar Association. Many lawyers have reasonable fees for your first consultation. (See Referral Resources, below.)
  • Do it yourself
    You can buy self-help divorce books and legal forms at book stores, stationery stores or printing companies. Most of the books have all the forms you need. Remember: The forms change often. You must use the most current forms.
  • Download forms from the internet.
  • Download the Alameda County Superior Court Local Rules for Family Law
  • Get a self-help divorce book
  • Download the California Family Code.
  • Review the Divorce section of the California Courts Self-Help Center
  • Visit the Self-Help Center at one of the courthouses throughout Alameda County
  • Contact the Family Law Facilitator
  • Hire a Legal Document Preparer to complete the paperwork for you

 

2. Referral Resources

We cannot recommend a lawyer or legal document preparer service but here are resources to help you find a lawyer or legal document preparer for your case:

Forms
Divorce can be a complicated process. The forms you need depends on whether you and your spouse agree to the divorce or not. Here are links to the forms you may need:

All of the State forms are available from the Judicial Council web site. Choose the "Family Law - Dissolution/Legal Separation/Annulment" option on that page from the dropdown box.

Fees
You will have to pay fees to file your forms with the court's Clerk's Office. Click here to see the fee schedule. You may qualify for a fee waiver if your income is low. 

3. Mediation

If you and your spouse have reached an agreement or think you can come to an agreement about some or all of the issues in your case, consider using mediation.

Mediation is voluntary. A neutral person (called a mediator) helps the parties come to an agreement on the issues in your case.

  • You and your spouse control the pace of the process
  • Your case is confidential
  • Your agreement is more likely to reflect a compromise
  • Your agreement can address your specific needs and concerns
  • There is little court involvement
  • People are more likely to follow the terms of a mediated agreement than a court-imposed order.
  • To mediate about custody and visitation issues, you can work with a mediator from the Court's Custody Mediation office once you have been given a court date.

You may also hire a private mediator. There is a fee to do private mediation. Look up "Attorneys-Mediation" on the Internet or in the yellow pages of your telephone book.

For information about the Court's mediation services, contact the Child Custody Mediation Services office through the information list

 

4. Children and divorce

Research tells us that children of separated or divorced parents do better if both parents stay actively involved in their children's lives.

Remember: Conflict is not good for your children. The way you and the other parent act affects them. The more you and the other parent can deal with each other without conflict, the better it will be for your children.

Here are some suggestions to ease the transition for your children:
  • Tell your children about the separation together, if possible.
  • Answer your children's questions honestly, but avoid saying things they don't need to know.
  • Reassure your children that they are not to blame for the separation.
  • Tell your children you and the other parent loves them very much and will take care of them.
  • Include the other parent in school and other activities.
  • Encourage a relationship between the children and the other parent.
  • Be consistent and be on time to pick up and return the children.
  • Develop a parenting plan that gives your children time and access to both parents.
  • Try to never cancel plans with your children.
  • Make two homes for your children with two fully involved parents.
  • Encourage your children to have a loving, satisfying relationship with the other parent.
Please do not:
  • Ask your children for information about the other parent.
  • Try to control the other parent.
  • Use your children to carry messages back and forth.
  • Argue in front of the children.
  • Discuss child support issues with the children.
  • Speak negatively about the other parent.
  • Put your children in the position of having to take sides.
  • Use your children to hurt the other parent.

5. How to finish your divorce, legal separation, or annulment

Declarations of Disclosure

The law says you must give your husband or wife information about your income, expenses, things you own and money you owe (even if you do not own anything or owe any money). This is called "disclosure."

The first disclosure you make is called the "Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure." You have to do this before you can finish your divorce, legal separation, or annulment. Sometimes you also have to make a second, final disclosure.

You must complete and file the necessary court forms to get your divorce judgment. This does not happen automatically.

Laws about Legal Separation and Annulment are different from divorce laws. Please talk to a lawyer or contact the Family Law Facilitator for help.

You can get a judgment by:

  • Default (when the other party does not respond),
  • Written agreement or
  • Trial

Remember: You cannot get divorced just by filing a motion.

 

Most divorce cases fall into one of these categories:

Default

If the other party does not answer the court papers ("defaults"), then you can get a default judgment by:

  • Talking with a lawyer or
  • Reading a self-help book about what you need to do next, or
  • Hiring a legal document preparer, or you may
  • Go to the court's Self-Help Center

 

Written agreement

If you and your spouse have an agreement on all issues in your divorce ("uncontested"), you can write up and file your agreement by:

  • Hiring a lawyer to write it for you, or
  • Reading a self-help book, or
  • Hiring a legal document preparer

Trial (contested divorce, legal separation, or annulment)

Sometimes it is not possible to come to an agreement with your spouse. There may be issues where you disagree or your spouse may refuse to finalize the divorce. If you cannot come to an agreement outside of court, a judge will decide the issues in your case at a trial.

If this is your situation, you should speak to a lawyer. A family law attorney can tell you about important legal rights and may be able represent you in trial, if you want. Know your rights before you finish your divorce or you may lose those rights forever.

Here are the steps you need to take to finish your contested divorce.
Step 1: File your "Request for Status Conference to Set Case for Trial" form with the Court (Local Form ALA FL-050)

As soon as you are ready to finalize your divorce and set a court hearing, and you have filed the Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure and Income and Expense Declaration (FL-141) you may file a "Request for Status Conference to Set Case for Trial" form. Have someone who is at least 18 years of age and not involved in your case mail a copy of the form to your spouse or their lawyer. The person who mails the form must then sign the Proof of Service on the back of the form and return it to you.

Step 2: Set a Status Conference hearing date

After the Court receives your "Request for Status Conference to Set Case for Trial" form, a notice of the date and time the Status Conference hearing is scheduled will mailed you and your spouse . You and your spouse must go to court for the Status Conference hearing and if your case does not settle, you must go to court for a Settlement Conference. If your case does not settle at the Settlement Conference, you must return to court for a trial.

Before coming to court for the Status Conference, prepare a "Status Conference Questionnaire" (Local Form ALA FL-041). (Local Rule 5.45) Before coming to court for the Settlement Conference, prepare a "Settlement Conference Statement." The Settlement Conference Statement gives a detailed and thoroughly documented explanation of your issue(s). You will also list the issues that you agree on and the issues where you do not agree.

You must bring the original documents and two (2) copies of the Status Conference to the Clerk's Office at least four (4) days before the hearing to file them. You must also serve your spouse at least four (4) days before the Status Conference hearing and file the proof of service showing you had them served.

Step 3: Your Status Conference

At the Status Conference, the judge will review the status of the case, your discovery plans, your progress toward settlement, and any outstanding issues. The judge may make orders for whatever actions permitted by law that would tend to promote a just and efficient disposition of the case.

Step 4: Your  Settlement Conference

The Settlement Conference is a chance to tell the judge which issues you have settled and which issues you still do not agree on. If you and your spouse have reached an agreement on all the issues at the Settlement Conference, the judge may grant your divorce at this hearing and you will avoid returning to court for trial.

Step 5: Your Trial

If your case goes to trial, the judge will tell you at the Settlement Conference which issues will be heard at trial, how long you will get to present your case, and which witnesses will be allowed. You must follow the trial policies of the department where your trial is scheduled.

Step 6: Your Judgment

Whether you come to an agreement outside of court, at one of the court proceedings, or if your case is heard and decided by a judge, you must prepare the following documents:

  • A Judgment (Form FL-180)
  • Attachments to the Judgment (on court forms or pleading paper that contain the orders for custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, property division, and attorneys fees, if any)
  • Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form FL-190)
  • Two (2) addressed, stamped envelopes with the court's return address. One will have your address; the other will have your spouse's address.

For help with these forms, go to the Judicial Council website (www.courts.ca.gov), or visit the court's Family Law Clerk's Office, or visit the court's Self-Help Center.

After you prepare your documents, make copies for your records and file them with the County Clerk.

6. How to get copies of your divorce decree (judgment)

There may be a time, even years after your divorce, that you need a copy of the divorce papers.

To get copies of divorce documents, go to the courthouse and ask for a copy or send a request through the mail.

To visit the courthouse or send a request by mail, see directions, addresses and business hours at (Family Court Location-Hours-Directions)

To request a copy by mail, send us:

  • Your written request,
  • A check payable to the Superior Court, and
  • A self-addressed stamped legal-sized envelope.

For the amount owed for copying and mailing court documents as well as the correct mailing address, please contact the Family Law Clerk's Office. There is an additional charge for a certified copy. If you do not know the divorce case number, there will be a small charge to look this up.  Please provide as much information as you can in your request. This will help the clerk do a thorough search and get you the information you need. 

    1. What a parentage case is and when to file an Action to Establish Parentage?

    If you have children and are not married to the other parent, you must file a case to establish parentage. This means you are asking the Court to determine the parents of the children.

    You may also request child support, custody, and visitation orders at the same time. Either the mother, the father, the child, or the Alameda County Department of Child Support Services (ACDCSS) may file this kind of case.

    Because a parentage action determines the parents of a child, it gives the child the right to receive support and Social Security benefits, and claim inheritance.

    Remember: you are asking for a parentage judgment, not just custody or support orders

    Forms you will need

    You may obtain a Paternity Packet from the Family Law Clerk’s office at any courthouse in Alameda County. To start an action to establish parentage, fill out and file these forms:

    • Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (Form FL-220)
    • Summons (Form FL-210)
    • Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (Form FL-120)

    You can download all the forms you need to file a Parentage action for free. Just use the links in this section. For more help you may also go to the Family Law Facilitator.
    Fill out your forms neatly in blue or black ink, or type them out.

    How to fill out and file your parentage forms

    Step 1: Fill out the forms

    Fill out the forms for starting your case. If you need help, you may contact the Family Law Facilitator for assistance and referrals to other organizations that may help you.

    The parent who starts the case is the Petitioner. The other parent is the Respondent.

    After you fill out the forms, make 2 copies.

    Step 2: File the forms

    Take your completed forms and copies to the Family Law Clerk’s office at the Alameda County courthouse nearest you, or where the matter will be heard, to file them. The place where you file is not necessarily the court location where your matter will be heard. Be sure you have the correct court location written on your papers to identify where your matter will actually be heard.

    If you are filing parentage forms to start your case and also asking for:

    • a Domestic Violence Restraining Order
    • an Order to Show Cause (with or without emergency/temporary orders)
    • a Fee Waiver

    Take these additional completed forms (and 2 copies) to the Cllerk’s Office to be filed also.

    The clerk will file the original forms, stamp your copies, and return the copies to you. If you are asking for a hearing about domestic violence, custody, visitation, or support, the clerk will also give you a hearing date to come to court.

    When you file your forms, the clerk will ask you to pay a fee. If you can’t afford to pay the fees, ask the clerk for a fee waiver packet. Fill out the fee waiver form and turn your form in to the clerk who will provide additional information about the approval process.  If the judge decides you need to pay some or all of the fees, you will have 10 days to make full payment of the amount you owe.

    Step 3: Serve the forms

    You must have someone personally serve the other parent with copies of the forms you filled out and filed. This includes:

    • Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (Form FL-220)
    • Summons (Form FL-210)
    • Declaration Under UCCJEA (Form FL-120)
    • Any additional forms you filed (Order to Show Cause, Income and Expense forms)

    Do not serve any fee waiver application or order.

     

    The person who serves the other parent must also serve a blank copy of:

    • Response to Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (Form FL-220)
    • Declaration under UCCJEA (Form FL-105)
    • Advisement and Waiver of Rights (Form FL-235)
    • Responsive Declaration (if you also filed Order to Show Cause papers) (Form FL-320)
    • Income and Expense Declaration (if seeking child support) (Form FL-150)

    Remember: You cannot serve the papers yourself.

    The person who serves the papers must complete a "Proof of Service of Summons" (Form FL-115). The proof of service says he or she has delivered the papers to the other parent.

    Step 4: File the Proof of Service

    File the original of the Proof of Service at the Clerk’s Office as soon as possible and bring 2 copies for the clerk to stamp “filed” for you. Keep the copies in your records and bring them to court with you when you go to your hearing.

    2. How to get a judgment in your parentage case

    1. Contested

    The case is contested if the other party files a Response to Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (Form FL-220) and asks for a blood test or comes to a hearing and also asks for a blood test or does not agree with the custody, visitation, or support orders you asked for.

    If you have an issue regarding custody and/or visitation, the court will ask you to see a mediator at the Family Dispute Resolution Service office before the judge makes a decision about those issues at a hearing.

    Once the judge makes a final determination of who the parents are and issues orders about custody, visitation, and child support, at a trial or hearing, then a Judgment can be made. There is a form for this in your Paternity Packet.

    2. Agreement

    If you and the other parent agree that you are both the child’s parents and agree on the child support, custody and visitation arrangements between you, you should write up your agreement. This can be done at a court hearing or, preferably, before the hearing. The Family Law Facilitator can provide information on how to write your agreement and what must be included (it must include an agreement about child support) so you can have it signed by a judge and file it with the court.

    3. Default

    When the other parent does not file a Response to your Petition to Establish Parental Relationship within 30 days after service of the papers on them, you may obtain a judgment by "default".

    Fill out a Request For Entry of Default (Form FL-165). This means you are asking the Court to say who the child’s parents are even though the other parent didn’t file a Response. You will also need to fill out a Declaration for Default or Uncontested Judgment (Form FL-230) and your proposed Judgment (Form FL-250)(with all appropriate attachments), and a Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form FL-190).

    Bring the completed forms and 2 copies to the clerk’s office to file the default request and for the clerk to give the Declaration and proposed Judgment to the judge for review and signing. Provide the clerk with 3 addressed and stamped envelopes – 2 addressed to yourself, and 1 addressed to the other parent (be sure you provide sufficient postage).

    • The Clerk’s Office will mail you a copy of your Request For Entry of Default if the Court enters the other party’s default.
    • The Clerk’s Office will mail a copy of the Notice of Entry of Judgment and to you and the other parent once the judgment is signed by the judge (be sure to provide big enough envelopes and enough postage for all the papers to be returned to you).

    3. Who can view parentage cases?

    The information in parentage cases is private. The only people who can look in the court file are the mother and father in the case. If you are either the mother or father in the case, and you want to look at the court file, you need to:For information on the Family Clerk’s Office, click here. For the locations of the Family Law division of the court in Alameda County, click here.

    • Bring a driver's license or government identification card with you
    • Go to the filing section of the clerk’s office of the courthouse where the case is being heard to view the court file.

    1. How to get an Order for Child Support

    To get an order for child support, you must first file a case with the Court. If you do not have an existing case, you need to file one.

    Alternatives:
    • If you ARE MARRIED to the other parent, you can file an action for divorce or legal separation. If you do not want to file for divorce or legal separation, you can file a Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children and Summons.
    • If you are NOT MARRIED to the other parent, you must file a parentage action. This means you are asking the Court to name the other parent. You may request child support, custody, and visitation orders at the same time.
    • If you are seeking a Domestic Violence restraining order and need child support, click here.
    • For additional information, please contact the Alameda County Department of Child Support Services (ACDCSS), they may be able to file a child support case on your behalf.  Click here for more information on ACDCSS.
    Here are ways you can ask the Court for an order:
    • Ask a lawyer to help you.
    • You can find a lawyer in the telephone book, online, or contact the Lawyer Referral Service of the Alameda County Bar Association.
    • Contact the Department of Child Support Services (ACDCSS) at: http://www.acgov.org/css/·
    • Do it yourself:
      You can use self-help family law books, the Alameda County Superior Court local rules for family law , and legal forms from book stores, stationery stores, or printing companies. Additionally, downloadable Family Law forms are available from the Judicial Council's website and the Court's website.
    • Contact the court's Self Help Center/Family Law Facilitator:
      You can get assistance in preparing papers to obtain a court hearing. If you and the other parent agree on the amount of child support to be paid, the Family Law Facilitator may be able to help you with how to file that agreement. More information about the court's Self-Help Center is available here.
    • Contact a Legal Document Preparer:
      You can find a Legal Document Preparer in the telephone book or online. They are not attorneys and cannot represent you in court, however they can prepare your legal documents.

    How to file an Order to Show Cause (OSC)
    This section tells you about:

    • What is and when to use an Order to Show Cause (OSC)
    • Forms you will need
    • How to fill out and file the OSC forms
    • Other things you should know
    What is and when to use an Order to Show Cause (OSC) or a Notice of Motion

    When you file your divorce, legal separation or parentage case, you may also file a motion called an Order to Show Cause (OSC) to obtain temporary orders for custody, visitation, and support. An Order to Show Cause is a court order for the other party in your case to come to court. A Notice of Motion may be filed after a case has begun.  A Notice of Motion may be served by mail.  For more information, please contact the Family Law Facilitator's Office.

    You can file an OSC to:

    • Ask for temporary child orders when you first file your parentage, divorce, or legal separation case;
    • Request child support orders in an existing case;
    • Ask for a change to your current orders; or
    • Ask to cancel ("set aside") a default judgment (a judgment that was made when you didn't respond to legal papers or appear in court) in a Department of Child Support Services child support case. If the Court sets aside the judgment, the Court will determine what you owe for current and past child support ("arrearages").
    Forms you will need: If you are the person filing the Order To Show Cause (the "moving party"), you must fill out these forms:
    • Order to Show Cause (Form FL-300)
    • Application for Order and Supporting Declaration (Form FL-310)
    • Financial Statement (Simplified) or Use if you are only asking for child support (Form FL-155)
    • Income and Expense Declaration Use if you are also asking for spousal support or attorney fees: (Form FL-150)

      You will also need the following forms for serving these documents on your spouse:

    • Proof of Personal Service (Form FL-330)
    • Responsive Declaration To Order To Show Cause Or Notice Of Motion (Form FL-320)
    • A blank Simplified Financial Statement (Form FL-155) or
    • A blank Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150)
    There are two ways to fill out your own forms:
    • Print the form on a printer, then print neatly in blue or black ink; or
    • Fill out the form online using the links above, and print the filled-out form
    How to Fill Out, File and Serve the OSC Forms:

    Step 1: Fill out the forms:
    If you have an existing case, no matter how old, use the same case title. After you fill out your forms, make 3 copies (for you, the other party, and one extra).

    Step 2: File the forms:
    Take your completed forms to your local court Clerk’s Office and ask for a hearing date. They will file your papers. You will be expected to pay a filing fee if you do not have a current fee waiver on file.

    Step 3: Serve the documents:
    You must serve the other parent with endorsed filed copies of the court forms at least 21 days before your hearing or sooner if the judge says so. Someone at least 18 years of age — not you — must serve the other parent.

    If the Department of Child Support Services is collecting child support, someone at least 18 years of age — not you — must serve the documents.

    These are the forms you must serve:

    • Your Order To Show Cause
    • Your Application for Order and Supporting Declaration
    • Your Simplified Financial Statement or Income and Expense Declaration
    • A blank Responsive Declaration
    • A blank Simplified Financial Statement or Income and Expense Declaration

    Remember: You cannot serve the papers yourself.

    Your papers must be served by an adult (18 years of age or older) who is not involved in your case. Alternatively, you may hire a professional process server to serve your papers. 

    The person who serves the papers must complete a "Proof of Personal Service" (form FL-330). The proof of service says he or she delivered the papers to the other party.

    Step 4: File the Proof of Service:
    File the original proof of service at the local court Clerk’s Office as soon as possible. This should be done before your hearing. Bring an endorsed filed copy of the proof of service to your hearing. If you can't file the proof of service before the hearing, bring the original to your hearing.

    Step 5: Go to your hearing:
    Arrive at the courthouse early so you will have time to find the courtroom. Look for your name on the court calendar, usually posted near the courtroom door. Make sure your case is listed on the calendar. If it is not listed, and your papers state the correct date and time, show your papers to the clerk in the courtroom.

    Remember: Bring copies of all the papers in your case (especially the ones you filed to set this court hearing), your copy of the filed proof of service, and any other papers that support your case, such as pay stubs for the past three months, tax returns for the previous year, child care receipts, and anything else that supports the information in your Simplified Financial Statement or Income and Expense Declaration forms. If you are self-employed, bring papers that show how much money your business is making.

    If you have witnesses, you must make arrangements to ensure they come to court as well.

    Step 6: After the hearing:
    You are responsible for preparing a written order that states what the judge ordered at the hearing. You may come to the court's Self-Help Center/Family Law Facilitator’s Office for information on how to prepare the order, or you may contact an attorney or legal document preparer for assistance.

    Other things you should know

    Amount of Child Support:
    The judge will follow the child support laws ("guidelines") to determine the amount child support to be ordered.

    Health Care:

    When you ask for child support, the judge can make orders about your child(ren)'s health insurance (this includes vision and dental) and how the parents share the health care costs not covered by insurance.

    Child Care:

    When you request child support, you may also ask the other parent to share in child care costs.

    Child Support Payments

    Child support is usually paid from a parent's paycheck ("withholding"). To do this, you must file an Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support (FL-195). Employers cannot fire employees because child support comes out of their paycheck.

    Additional Help:

    For assistance, you may visit a lawyer, a legal document preparer, or the court's Self-Help Center/Family Law Facilitator.

    3. How to increase or lower child support

    If you want to ask the judge to change the child support (raise or lower the amount), you need to file the correct court forms in your court case. It does not matter how old your case is. You must show that circumstances have changed since the last order.

    To change the amount of support, you can:

    • Contact a lawyer;
    • Contact a legal document preparer;
    • Ask the Alameda County Department of Child Support Services (ACDCSS) to help you;
    • Do it yourself. You can use a self-help book or legal forms and instructions that explain how to file an Order to Show Cause to change child support. These forms are available on the Judicial Council's web site and the Court's web site.
    • Contact the court's Self-Help Center/Family Law Facilitator. They can help you with information and forms on how to write the agreement if you and the other parent agree or think you can agree on the amount of child support. They cannot help with an agreement if the Department of Child Support Services is collecting child support on your behalf.

    4. How to reinstate your driver's license (or other professional license)

    If you do not pay court-ordered child support, your license can be suspended. To get your license back, contact the Department of Child Support Services. If that does not work, ask the judge to order the Department of Child Support Services to give you your license back. To do this, file a "Notice of Motion for Judicial Review of License Denial" (Form FL-670). Filing this form does NOT change how much child support you must pay. To change your support order, file an Order to Show Cause.

    Information on how to file your Notice of Motion for Judicial Review of License Denial:
    • Complete the "Notice of Motion for Judicial Review of License Denial" form (Form FL-670). Use the same case number and case title as your child support case. You and the other parent will always be called Petitioner or Respondent as you were in the first papers filed.
    • Make two copies of your form (one for you, the other for the Department of Child Support Services). The original is for the court file.
    • Go to the nearest court clerk’s office and request a hearing date. At the hearing, you may tell the judge why you should get your license back. A filing fee will be charged unless you have a current fee waiver on file with the court. You can review the court’s fee schedule to see how much you will have to pay. If you do not have enough money to pay the filing fee, and do not have a current fee waiver on file, ask the clerk for an Application for a Fee Waiver packet.
    • Serve the papers - Serve the papers on the Alameda County Department of Child Support Services (ACDCSS)
    • Get ready for your hearing - On the date of your hearing, you may need to wait in the courtroom for your case to be called. DO NOT bring children to the courtroom.  If you need assistance with childcare, please click here for more information on the court's Children's Waiting Rooms.

    5. Frequently Asked Questions

    Will my spouse's income be counted toward child support?
    The Court usually uses only the parents' incomes to calculate child support. The Court may ask about your spouse's income for tax or other purposes.

    How do I stop my employer from taking child support out of my paycheck when my child support obligation ends?
    You must file an Order To Show Cause to ask the Court to stop taking money out of your paycheck. If approved, the judge will sign a new wage withholding order for $0. You may take this signed order to your employer. You may want to work with the other parent or guardian to work out an agreement.  Once an agreement is reached, you may file a Stipulation and Order with a new wage assignment indicating a $0.00 child support obligation.

    Do I still need to pay child support if I have 50/50 custody?
    If you make more money than the other parent, you may still need to pay some child support.

    Will the Court consider that I have other children to support?
    The Court can give you credit for other child support orders and for other children in your home that you support. The Court usually does not give credit for stepchildren, or grandchildren.

    Will I pay less child support if I have custody of the child(ren) more often?
    The amount of time that the children are with you is a factor in calculating child support.

    How long do I have to pay child support?
    You will pay until the child is 18 years old, if he or she graduates from high school. If your 18-year-old child is still a full time high school student and still lives with the other parent, you must pay child support until your child graduates.

    Do I need to pay the interest on past due child support?
    Usually, the Court cannot reduce or cancel interest on past due child support. Speak with a lawyer for more information.

    How do I stop my employer from taking half my paycheck?
    If your employer is deducting 50% or more of your paycheck, you may have an arrears (past due child support) balance. First, contact the Alameda County Department of Child Support Services (ACDCSS) to see if you can make other arrangements. If that does not work, you may file court forms to request a judge to set a payment that you can afford.

    What if the other party does not pay the child support?
    Contact a lawyer or visit the Court's Self-Help Center/Family Law Facilitator. You may also want to contact the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) for additional information.

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