Palmer Rodak & Associates
Palmer Rodak & Associates
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When DCSS is Involved in a Case Where Custody is Also at Issue, There are Special Rules for Service That Apply

When DCSS is Involved in a Case Where Custody is also at Issue, There are Special Rules for Service that Apply

While the DCSS is a party to the DF case, they do not get involved in the custody/visitation issues. So although the caption will read County of San Diego v. Respondent and Other Parent, you will direct your RFO to either the Respondent or Other Parent, depending on whom you represent.

Family Code Section 17404(e)(4) states that the local child support agency "shall not be required to serve or receive service of papers, pleadings, or documents, or participate in, or attend any hearing or proceeding relating to issues of custody or visitation, except as otherwise required by law." Our local child support agency will NOT serve an RFO on either the Respondent or Other Parent if the RFO contains only custody/visitation requests and no child support related requests. You would need to have the RFO served as you would any other RFO no involving the DCSS.

If you motion is a combination of financial issues and custody/visitation, the local child support agency will serve the motion on the Respondent/Other Parent if you provide them a copy 30 days ahead of the court hearing (FC 17404(e)(3)) but they will not provide you with a Proof of Service. Since the custody/visitation issues will be heard in a non-IV-D courtroom, that Judge or commissioner will be expecting to see a Proof of Service on the Respondent/Other Parent. Therefore, it is best to have the Respondent/Other Parent served in the normal manner and have a Proof of Service executed by the person serving the RFO.

If you do not know the address of the Respondent/Other Parent and the DCSS is still involved in the case by providing services, you may file a motion with the Court asking the DCSS to disclose the address of the person receiving services from the DCSS. This motion is authorized under FC 17212 (c)(6).

If you are unable to obtain the address through motion, and you cannot locate the address in any other manner, there is always service on the Clerk of the Court after diligence has been shown to locate the person.

Also, just another FYI. If you are handling a DCSS case and you are responding to or filing a motion/documents, if you provide the Clerk's Office with two extra copies of the motion/documents, they will stamp those copies "Service Copy Received" and put them in a drop box for the DCSS. The DCSS picks up documents from this drop box every day. This is considered service upon the DCSS and no Proof of Service is needed. When the Court sees the original stamped "Service Copy Received" the Court knows the DCSS has been served.

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Palmer Rodak & Associates
Certified Family Law Specialists State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

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