Legal Documents Explained

Summons and Complaint

The court process begins when Tehama County Child Support files a Summons and Complaint with the court to get a child support or medical support order. The Summons and Complaint and a blank Answer form are delivered to the parent being asked to pay child support. The person asked to pay support must respond within 30 days from the date they are served. Here are the ways to respond:

File an Answer: If the person asked to pay support disagrees with any part of the proposed judgement or information stated in the summons and complaint, that person must file an Answer to Complaint form which is included with the Summons and Complaint. If the person served doesn't respond within 30 days then the court will set the child support amount based on the information it has available.

Sign a Stipulation: If the person asked to pay support agrees with the proposed judgement written included in the Summons and Complaint, Tehama County Child Support can prepare an agreement (stipulation) using the same child support guidelines the court uses. The court usually approves this agreement without asking parents to appear in court.

Hire an Attorney: A Summons and Complaint is a legal document and the person receiving it is being sued. A private attorney may be needed to represent the party being sued as well as assist in completing the Answer to Complaint Form and legally advise you.

Contact the Family Law Facilitator: Ms. Tanya Ellis is the part-time Family Law Facilitator at the Tehama County Superior Court. She is available for free help in reviewing and completing the Answer to Complaint Form. The Family Law Facilitator is an attorney, but is not permitted to give you legally advice as he does not represent either party.

Income and Expense Declaration

Child Support is determined using guidelines established by California Law and is based on many factors, inlcuding each parent's ability to financially provide for their children. The law requires each parent to complete an Income and Expense Declaration and provided proof of the amount of income. It is important to fill in this form completely, turn them in on time and bring documents that back up this information. This will assist in the court determining the most fair amount of support. It's also a good idea to bring an extra copy of the Income and Expense Declaration to court with you and make sure it has the most recent information.

Notice of Motion

If you get a Notice of Motion or an Order to Show Cause, it means Tehama County Child Support Services is involved in your case and they are asking for a court hearing.

  • Carefully read the papers you received to make sure you understand what Child Support Services is requesting
  • Note the date, time and location for the hearing. You are required to attend the hearing or the court can issue a warrant for your arrest.
  • You must respond if you want the court to know what your position is. If you do not respond, the court may make orders about child support based on the information available without taking into account your individual situation.
  • Even if you do not respond in writing, go to the court hearing and bring proof of your income and living expenses if you want input in the court's decision about child support.