[Skip to Content]
Parents/Caretakers Information
Go to Child Support Process


Enforcing a Court Order



One of the primary functions of the Child Support Service Department (CSSD) is to enforce (collect) child support, family support and spousal support. In most cases we enforce current child support, family support and spousal support only until the child reaches the age of majority (AOM) or emancipates by law. The AOM in California is eighteen (18). However, if a child becomes 18 years old and is still a full time high school student, the current child support order continues until the date the child graduates or becomes nineteen (19) years old, whichever occurs first. A child may emancipate before the age of 18 by marrying, joining the armed forces, or by court order. 


We enforce child support and family support arrears (past-due support) until they are paid in full. However, we enforce spousal support arrears only if we are also enforcing child support or family support arrears.


There are many enforcement tools we can use to collect support. An Income Withholding Order (IWO) is issued in every case we enforce. If the noncustodial parent (NCP) has a job, the IWO is sent to his or her employer. The employer automatically deducts the monthly support payments from the NCP’s wages. If the NCP is self-employed or works for cash, other enforcement tools are used to collect support. It is important to remember that every case is unique; what works for one case may not work for others. What follows are brief descriptions of some of the enforcement tools commonly used by CSSD.


To learn more about the Child Support Process, please click on one of the following links:


Overview / Open a Case / Locate a ParentEstablish Paternity / Establish a Court Order / Out-of-State / Close a Case / Enforcing a Court Order FAQs