Legal Information

DCSS does not represent either the parents or the child(ren), and our attorneys are not your attorneys. Because you are not a legal client, the information you provide is not confidential under the attorney/client privilege. The information in your case may be discussed or disclosed to other public agencies that are authorized by law to receive such information, the other parent's employer and to the other parent or her/his attorney to the extent required by law. See "How the DCSS Handles Confidential Information" below.

By law, DCSS has the final decision on what child support enforcement actions will be taken, even if the custodial parent disagrees. Parents have the right to seek legal advice from a private attorney or legal aid group at their own expense at any time.

Court Process

If you would like input regarding the specific issues identified in a motion or order to show cause that is served on you, it is important that you attend the court date.  If your case, for example, is on calendar for a motion for child support and you would like input regarding the specific factors (such as your income, the other parties income, the visitation percentage, etc.) that were part of the child support calculation, you should attend court.  At that time, you will be given an opportunity to speak with a DCSS attorney or court assistant, who will discuss the issues with you before your case is called by the judicial officer.  You will also be given the opportunity to address the judicial officer.

If you are a noncustodial parent and you have been served with contempt papers, it is imperative that you attend court as your failure to appear will result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.  Contempt is a quasi-criminal action which means it is similar to a criminal action.  A noncustodial parent found guilty of a first violation of contempt can face up to 5 days in jail for each month that he or she failed to pay their child support.  Penalties are greater for subsequent violations.  If you are charged with contempt, the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides you with the right to counsel.  This means that you have the right to an attorney and if you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender for you. 

If you are a custodial party and a contempt action is filed against the noncustodial parent, your presence in court is usually not required unless a DCSS representative asks you to appear at the court date or you are subpoenaed to appear in court.  However, you may attend any and all of the court dates if you wish to do so.  

If you have questions about your court appearance you may contact DCSS at our toll free telephone number (866) 901-3212.

You can search for your Shasta County Superior Court case in the Case Index Search page by clicking here.

Seeking Alternative Legal Assistance

In addition to the Shasta County Department of Child Support Services, private attorneys and legal clinics can provide legal assistance in child support cases.
A private attorney can provide personalized services to parents. They can give as much time to a case as is necessary to do an effective job. The biggest drawback is expense. A private attorney will charge for the time required for personal interviews, telephone calls, legal research, court appearances, and the preparation of pleadings. If the custodial party cannot afford an attorney, the noncustodial parent may be ordered to pay reasonable attorney fees and court costs. However, it is up to the judge to decide how much, if any, of the legal fees the noncustodial parent may be ordered to pay.

Family Law Facilitator's Office

There is a free legal service available to those clients representing themselves in child support issues. The Family Law Facilitator is an attorney who helps those who do not have an attorney. The Facilitator’s office can be reached by calling (530) 245-6900. Walk-ins and appointments are held at 1500 Court Street, Rm 115, Redding, CA 96001.  Individual appointments are not ordinarily available except for child support cases only.  For more information, including a list of Facilitator's Offices throughout the state, click here.

How the DCSS Handles Confidential Information

By law, the records kept by our office are strictly confidential and may not be seen without a court order by the custodial parties, the children, or the noncustodial parents. However, you are entitled to see:

  • Any document you provided to the Department of Child Support Services
  • Your payment history
  • Any record legally defined as a "public record"
  • Income and Expense information of either parent may be released to the other parent for the purpose of establishing or modifying a support order