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Glossary - Child Support and Custody

Application :

An application is a written request asking the court to issue an order or to change an order that has already been issued.

Arrears :

The word arrears means unpaid or overdue child support, alimony or spousal support payments.

Bench Warrant :

A bench warrant is a court order that says law enforcement can arrest a person for failure to appear for a court hearing or failure to comply with a court order.

Certification :

A certification is a written statement made to the court when you file papers, swearing that the information contained in the filed papers is true.

Child Support Enforcement  :

The Child Support Enforcement Unit makes sure that court orders are carried out. This could include court orders for the payment of child support, health care coverage, or spousal support. If support is not being paid on time, the Child Support Enforcement has many state and federal tools available to enforce child support orders. These can include

  • Income withholding
  • Court hearing
  • Bench warrant
  • Tax offset - federal and state
  • Liens attached to property and assets
  • Credit bureau notification
  • Seizure of bank accounts
  • Seizure of proceeds from lawsuits
  • Passport denial
  • License suspension
  • Lottery interception
Child Support Number (also referred to as “CS Number” or Member ID) :

A child support number is the number assigned to your child, spousal, or alimony support case. Any time you call the court about your child support case, you will be asked for your child support number.

Complaint :

A formal document filed in court that starts a case. It typically includes the names of the parties, the issues and what you are asking the court to do.

Consent Conference :

A consent conference is a meeting where parents in court for custody, visitation, paternity, or child support can try to resolve their issues before the judge decides the case for them.

Counterclaim :

A defendant can file a counterclaim that says why they disagree with a complaint filed against them in with the court. It could also tell the court what relief the defendant is asking for now that the case has been filed.  

Court Order :

The written decision issued by a court of law. A collection or community service court order says how much is owed or the number of community service hours that must be completed.

Custodial Parent :

The custodial parent is the parent whose home the child(ren) live in most of the time. This parent has most of the day-to-day responsibility.

Custody :

Custody gives a parent the right to make decisions for the child. Sole custody means one person and joint custody means both parents share this responsibility.

Diligent Search :

A diligent search means making a serious effort to find the other party named in your case. This means that you have followed up on any information you have received about where they are and you cannot find any more information.

Docket Number :

The identifying number assigned to every case filed in the court.

Exhibits :

Exhibits are papers and information you provide to support what is in your motion.

FD :

“FD” on a court case means it is a non-dissolution case. This type of case involves parents who are not married or other adults filing for court relief on behalf of minor children. FD cases can also include married people who are separated, but one parent wants custody or financial support.

File :

To file means to give the correct forms and fee to the court to begin the court’s consideration of your request.

Income Withholding/Wage Withholding/Garnishment :

A process in which automatic deductions are made from wages or other income to pay a child support obligation. Income withholding has been mandatory since the enactment of the Family Support Act of 1988.

New Jersey Child Support Guidelines :

Both parents are responsible for the financial and emotional support of their children. New Jersey has developed a standard method for calculating child support based on the income of both parents and other factors. The full set of NJ Child Support Guidelines is contained in Rule 5:6A of the New Jersey Court Rules.

NJKiDS (New Jersey Kids Deserve Support) :

The New Jersey Child Support Program automated computer system that tracks child support accounts.

Non-Custodial Parent :

The non-custodial parent is the parent with whom the child(ren) do not live with most of the time.

Obligee/Payee :

An obligee, also called a payee, is the person, agency, or institution who receives support, also known as the custodial parent (CP).

Obligor/Payor :

 An obligor, also called a payor, is the person ordered by the court to pay support. This person is also known as the non-custodial parent (NCP).

Party :

A party is a person, business or governmental agency involved in a court action.

Petitioner :

Petitioner is another name for the person starting the court case by filing the papers that the court will consider.

Relief :

To ask for relief is to ask the court for something.

Respondent :

A respondent, also called a defendant, is the person who is named as the other party in the court action filed by the petitioner. This person can respond to the complaint by filing a cross application or written response with the court.

Support Obligation :

The support obligation is the amount of support that the court orders the obligor to pay. The court order includes how much and how often support must be paid, such as weekly or monthly.