In California, a parent who does not have primary physical custody of a child is considered the child's noncustodial parent. Under California law, both parents are required to provide for a child's care and welfare. In most cases, that means that the noncustodial parent will be required to provide money to the custodial parent in order to offset his or her costs of providing housing, food, medical insurance and other services for the child.
The California legislature has enacted laws that enable the Department of Child Support Services to take enforcement action against a noncustodial parent who fails to honor a court awarded child support order. Some of these measures can be rather extreme in their operation. For example, the DCSS is allowed to suspend licenses, intercept tax returns, report negative information about the nonpaying parent to credit reporting agencies and even deny the issuance of passports.