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Glossary of Terms

Term Definition
Accrual Sum of child support payments that are due or overdue.
Adjudication The entry of a judgment, decree, or order by a judge or other decision maker such as a Commissioner, Mediator, referee, or hearing officer based on the evidence submitted by the parties.
Administrative Procedure Method by which support orders are made and enforced by an executive agency rather than by courts and judges.
Affidavit A statement, in writing, made under oath before a notary.
Arrears (or Arrearage) Court ordered support payments that are past due.
Assignment of Support Signing over child support payments to the state of Delaware as a condition for receiving TANF benefits, or signing over medical support payments as a condition of receiving Medicaid benefits.
Automated Assistance Line (AAL) A telephone system that makes frequently requested information available to clients over touch-tone telephones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and Customer Service Representatives available during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Burden of Proof The duty of a party to produce the greater weight of evidence on a point at issue.
Capias Warrant for arrest.
Child Support Money paid by a parent for the financial support of a minor child. It may include medical, dental and educational expenses.
Child Support Court Order A legal document issued by the court, setting the amount to be paid for the support of a child.
Client A term often used to refer to the recipient of a TANF grant or IV-D services.
Complaint A written document filed in court in which the person who starts the action names the people and allegations involved, and the results wanted.
Contempt Failure to comply with a court order when a person has the ability to do so.
Court Order A legally binding edict issued by a Family Court Judge, or properly empowered administrative officer. Can dictate how often, how much, what kind of support a non-custodial parent is to pay, how long he or she is to pay it, and whether an employer must withhold income from their wages.
Court-Ordered Payee The person Family Court names to receive the child support.
Custodial Parent (CP) The parent with both legal custody (joint or sole) and primary physical placement of a child receiving support. The child lives with this parent most of the time.
Custody The authority assigned to one or both parents by Family Court to make major decisions regarding their children.
DECSS The Delaware Child Support System.
Default A defendant's failure to file an answer or appear in a court case within a certain number of days after being served with a summons or complaint.
Default Judgment Decision made by the court when the defendant fails to answer or appear.
Defendant A person, against whom legal action or lawsuit is filed, also called the respondent.
Disbursement The paying out of collected child support funds.
Drop Box Secure box for submitting child support payments (by check or money order).
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Refundable Federal income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families. When the EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit. Income and family size determines the amount of the EITC. The EITC does not generally affect eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps, or low-income housing.
Enforcement Activities to make sure that a court order is obeyed.
Establish To bring into existence by a legal process.
Initiating State The State that sends a request to another state for help in establishing or enforcing a child support order.
Intercept A method of securing child support from a non-custodial parent by taking a portion of non-wage payments subject to interception such as: Federal tax refunds, State tax refunds, unemployment benefits, and disability benefits.
Interstate Cases Cases in which the dependent child and non-custodial parent live in different States, or where two or more States are involved in some case activity, such as enforcement.
Judgment The official decision of the court.
Jurisdiction The legal authority of a court.
Legal Father The man who is recognized by law as the father of a child.
Lien A claim upon property to prevent sale or transfer of that property until a debt is satisfied.
Modification A court order, which changes the terms of an earlier court order.
Motion An application to a court for an order or a ruling.
Non-Custodial Parent The parent who does not have primary physical placement of the child(ren) (although he/she may have legal custody).
Obligee The person, state agency, or other institution to which a child support is owed (also referred to as custodial parent when the money is owed to the parent with primary custody of the child).
Obligor The person who is obliged to pay child support (also referred to as the non-custodial parent or NCP.)
Order to Show Cause A court order telling a person to appear in court and to explain why a certain order should not be entered.
Paternity Establishment Legal determination of fatherhood. Can be established by a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paterntity (VAP) or genetic (DNA) testing.
Petition A formal written request.
Petitioner A person who brings a legal action or lawsuit (also called the plaintiff).
Plaintiff A person who brings a legal action or lawsuit (also called the petitioner).
Respondent A person, against whom a court action is started (also called the defendant).
Stipulation A written agreement between the parties to an action that the court approves as an order or judgment.
Subpoena A process issued by a court compelling a witness to appear at a judicial proceeding. Sometimes the process will also direct the witness to bring documentary evidence to the court.
Summons A legal notice to a defendant that an action against him/her has commenced in the court issuing the summons and that the judgment will be taken against him/her if the complaint is not answered within a certain time.
Support Order A judgment, decree or order (whether temporary, final, or subject to modification) issued by a court or an administrative agency of competent jurisdiction, for the support and maintenance of a child. This includes a child who has attained the age of majority under the law of the issuing state, or of the parent with whom the child is living. Support orders can incorporate the provision of monetary support, health care, payment of arrearages, or reimbursement of costs and fees, interest and penalties, and other forms of relief.
Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paterntity (VAP) A way to name the legal father without having to go to court, if the parents are not married. The form needs to be signed by both biological parents and notarized. It can be completed anytime until the child turns 18, or 19 if the child is still in high school.