Glossary of Child Support Terms

ABSENT PARENT or NON-CUSTODIAL PARENT (AP): The parent who is not living with his/her child or children and does not have legal physical custody of a child or children in a child support enforcement case.

CUSTODIAL PARENT or CUSTODIAL PARTY (CP): The person who has legal physical custody of a child or children.  This person does not have to be the parent of the child or children.

INTERCEPT: “The taking or seizing of something.” In child support enforcement, this usually means seizing tax refunds, employment compensation benefits, lottery winnings and other types of funds payable to the child support obligor.

OBLIGEE or PAYEE: The person receiving  (or is owed) child support payments.

OBLIGOR or PAYOR: The person paying (or owes) child support payments.

PETITIONER: The person who filed the petititon or initiated a court action.

RESPONDENT: The person who did not file a court action but must “respond” to the petition by appearing in court for a hearing on the issue.

WITHHOLDING: “The holding or keeping of something.” In child support enforcement, this means funds owed to the child support obligee/payee has been kept from the obligor/payor to be sent as payment of his/her child support obligation.  Usually, the funds are kept from a pay check, bank account, or other income due to an “income withholding order” issued to the employer, financial institution or other income payor.