The ABC’s Of Child Support
What It All Means And How To Make It Work
It can be hard to follow any legal proceeding, but when it comes to issues of child support, it is too important to miss even one word. Here is a glossary of commonly used terms used in the child support process.
ARREARS: A legal term for overdue payments.
ATTACHING TAX REFUNDS: Can be a way to collect delinquent child support payments. The Federal Tax Offset Program allows some custodial parents to attach, or take, the noncustodial parent’s tax refund for nonpayment of child support.
CHILD SUPPORT: The financial support a noncustodial parent is required to pay to provide for his or her children. Child Support Enforcement Agency: Each state has an agency charged with finding noncustodial parents, establishing paternity and enforcing child support orders.
CUSTODY ORDER: Legal explanation of with whom a child will live.
CUSTODIAL PARENT: A parent who has custody of children. Usually the receiver of child support payments.
DISPOSABLE INCOME: This can be used when calculating child support payments. It is the income left after taking out amounts required by law, such as taxes, some forms of insurance, Medicare or retirement.
LIEN OF PROPERTY: A custodial parent may be able to apply a lien to a noncustodial parent’s property when the parent is delinquent in paying child support. Putting a lien on the property means that if the noncustodial parent sells the property, part of the money from the sale must go toward unpaid child support.
NONCUSTODIAL PARENT: A parent who does not have custody of children. Usually, the one who is required to pay child support payments.
PRIVATE CHILD SUPPORT COLLECTION AGENCY: Private agencies charge clients to collect delinquent child support payments. They may or may not charge a basic fee to collect, but most of them charge a percentage of the collected payments.
STATE CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES: Each state has an agency charged with collecting delinquent child support payments. These agencies do not charge for their services, but they have high numbers of cases in their systems.
WAGE GARNISHMENT: A legal procedure in which the government withholds a portion of a person’s earnings to be applied to debt.
About the author: Michele Bush Kimball has a Ph.D. in mass communication with a specialization in media law. She has spent almost 15 years in the field of journalism. She recently won a national research award for her work.