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How to find a noncustodial parent

Before a California parent can ask for child support from the other parent, the state must be able to identify who the noncustodial parent is. For this, the state has a parent locator service that helps child support agencies locate the noncustodial parent. While it is usually easiest to locate the noncustodial parent through their current address, the child support agency may have to use other means if the parent does not know the address.

When a parent applies for state services, a case must be open by the agency within 20 days. Once the parent has given the agency all the relevant information, the next step is for the agency to request additional information from other sources. These other sources can potentially include current or past employers, relatives or friends, police or parole records and state agencies.

Agencies can also use the State Parent Locator Service, which provides them with access to relevant sources of information and other records that the state has available on the custodial parent. If a match is found, the system will notify the caseworker and give access to the information needed to establish paternity and child support.

While many noncustodial parents pay child support willingly, there are some who may attempt to avoid paying the child support that they owe. For example, they may quit their jobs or even travel across state lines to avoid making payments. If a custodial parent is having trouble getting the child support that they are owed to pay every day expenses, medical costs and extracurricular expenses, a family law attorney may assist with determining how best to track down the parent and obtain the child support funds that are owed.