Child Support

Child Support Services


  • Arrearage - Past due, unpaid child support owed by the noncustodial parent.
  • Support - Financial support paid by a parent to help support a child or children of whom they do not have custody. Child support can be entered into voluntarily or ordered by a court or a properly empowered administrative agency, depending on each state's laws.
  • Contempt of Court - Not doing what the court has ordered you to do.
  • Custodial Parent - Person or agency who has primary care, custody, and control of a minor child(ren).
  • Default - The failure of a defendant to file an answer or appear in a civil case within the prescribed time after having been properly served with a summons and complaint.
  • Defendant - The person against whom a civil or criminal proceeding is begun.
  • Disbursement - The paying out of collected child support funds.
  • Good Cause - Valid reason(s) for not proceeding with: establishment of parentage or support; or enforcement or collection of child support.
  • Guidelines - A standard method for setting child support obligations based on the income of the parent(s) and other factors determined by state law.
  • IV-A Case - A child support case in which a custodial parent and child(ren) are receiving public assistance benefits under the state's IV-A program, which is funded under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act. (See also: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families; Public Assistance)
  • IV-D Case - A child support case where at least one of the parties, either the custodial parent or the noncustodial parent, has requested or received IV-D services from the state's IV-D agency.
  • Jurisdiction - The legal authority a court or administrative agency has over particular persons and over certain types of cases, usually in a defined geographical area.
  • Monthly Support Obligation (MSO) - The amount of money an obligor is required to pay per month.
  • Noncustodial Parent - The parent who does not have primary care, custody, or control of the child, and has an obligation to pay child support.
  • Non IV-D Orders - A child support order handled by a private attorney as opposed to the state/local child support enforcement (IV-D) agency.
  • Obligee - The person, state agency, or other institution to which child support is owed.
  • Obligor - The person who is obligated to pay child support.
  • Paternity - Legal determination of fatherhood. Paternity must be established before child or medical support can be ordered.
  • Plaintiff - A person who brings an action; the party who complains or sues in a civil case.
  • Public Assistance - Benefits granted from state or federal programs to aid eligible recipients. Applicants for certain types assistance (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families or TANF) are automatically referred to their state IV-D agency.
  • Putative Father - The person alleged to be the father of the child, but who has not yet been medically or legally declared to be the Legal Father.
  • Show Cause - A court order directing a person to appear and bring forth any evidence as to why the remedies stated in the order should not be confirmed or executed. A show cause order is usually based on a motion and affidavit asking for relief.
  • Support Order - A judgment, decree, or order, whether temporary, final, or subject to modification, issued by a court or an administrative agency of a competent jurisdiction, for the support and care of a child.
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) - Provides temporary monthly cash to assist families in need.
  • Unreimbursed Public Assistance - Money paid in the form of public assistance (TANF) that has not yet been recovered from the noncustodial parent.