Child Support Terms

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Accrual:  Sum of child support payments that are due or overdue.

Alleged Father:  Person who has been named as the father of a child born out of wedlock, but who has not been legally determined to be the father, aka putative father.

Arrerage:  Past due, unpaid child support owed by the noncustodial  parent.

Child Support:  Payments (usually monthly) a noncustodial parent makes to a child to cover his basic expenses, such as food, clothing, education, and entertainment.

Consent Agreement:  Voluntary written admission of paternity or responsibility for child support.

Custodial Party:  Person who has primary care, custody, and control of the child(ren).

Custody:  Determination by a court which establishes with whom a child will live.

Custody Order:  Legally binding determination that establishes with whom a child shall live.

Dependent:  Child who is under the care of someone else. Most children who are eligible to receive child support must be a dependent.

Disbursement:  The paying out of collected child support funds.

Divorce:  Legal dissolution of a marriage.

Family Law:  Area of law that deals with family related matters and domestic relations.

Intercept:  A method of securing child support by taking a portion of non-wage payments made to a non-custodial parent. Non-wage payments subject to interception include Federal tax refunds, State tax refunds, unemployment benefits, and disability benefits.

Interstate Cases:  Cases in which the dependent child and non-custodial parent (NCP) live in different States, or where two or more States are involved in some case activity, such as enforcement.

Joint Custody:  Custody agreements under which both parents share physical custody, legal custody, or both.

Legal Custody:  The right for a parent to make all decisions regarding a child's upbrining.

Physical Custody:  Providing a physical home for the child.

Sole Custody:  Exclusive physical and legal custody of a child to one parent.

Spousal Support:  Court ordered support of a spouse or ex-spouse; also referred to as maintenance or alimony.

Visitation Rights:  The right to see a child regularly, typically awarded by the court to the parent who does not have physical custody of the child. The court will deny visitation rights only if it decides that visitation would hurt the child so much that the parent should be kept away.

If you are a parent who is owed child support, contact one of our experienced child support attorneys in your area today!