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Economic Hardships Impact Child Support

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July 30, 2009

The economic downturn has had a significant impact on parents who owe child support. Over the past six months, the County Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) has seen collections to pay child support through unemployment intercepts increase by 130 percent. Parental requests for a reduction in monthly child support have tripled. Collections that result from liens on the proceeds of real estate sales which are applied to past due support have dwindled significantly.

To address these economic impacts, DCSS is taking steps to help non-custodial parents who have suffered from financial hardship or job loss to get back on their feet. The goal is to help customers secure court orders that reflect their current circumstances and provide the child support their children need.

“We want parents who owe child support to know that they can come in and work with us while they are experiencing economic hardships,” said DCSS Director Jeff Grissom. “If there’s been a change in their circumstances, their court order should accurately reflect that situation. At the same time, we’ve established partnerships to help them return to the workforce and provide financial and medical support to their children.”

There are several programs DCSS is implementing to help during this difficult economic time:

  • An agreement with The San Diego Workforce Partnership to assist unemployed non-custodial parents obtain job training, job search skills and help in finding employment so that they can meet their child support obligation.
  • A collaboration with the Superior Court to expedite the judicial process to modify monthly child support obligations, where appropriate, to customers in their initial visit, or at least to set a future court date.
  • A cooperative initiative with the Parole and Community Team (PACT) to restore parolees’ driver’s licenses to assist them in gaining employment. DCSS is also reviewing their cases for potential modification of monthly child support payments to the appropriate amount and set a court date.
  • Proactive review of cases where a modification of child support is indicated.

For more information on child support, visit

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