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Child Support Terms

What do they Mean?

ADC (Aid to Dependent Children): Also known by the acronym "AFDC" (Aid to Families with Dependent Children). This is the federal program under which assistance payments are made on behalf of children who are deprived of the financial support of one of their parents by reason of death, disability, or continued absence (including desertion) from the home.

Administrative Hearings: Hearings conducted by agency Hearing Officers to resolve issues outside of a judicial setting (court). These hearings include those which address the following issues: support establishment, mistake of fact, order modification, and order termination.

Alleged Father: Also known as a "putative father," the alleged father is a person who has been named as the possible father of a child during the course of the paternity establishment process.

Arrearage: The amount of support that is due the obligee when payments are not current under the terms of a support order.

Contempt: An action that our agency attorneys can file in court on a judicial support order if all administrative enforcement actions have failed. Only a judge or a magistrate can officially decide if a case is in contempt. A judicial finding of contempt could possibly include jail time.

Credit Reporting Agency: The CSEA will report a child support debt to the local credit bureau after the issuance of an Advance Notice of Default if a Mistake of Fact Hearing has not been requested and the obligor is still in default.

Criminal Non-Support: This term is used when a case is referred to the Franklin County Prosecutor for the filing of criminal charges against an obligor who is in default on his/her order. This enforcement tool is used as a "last ditch" effort to bring the child support offender back into compliance, if all other administrative and civil proceedings have failed.

Custodial Parent: The parent with legal custody of the child. Other terms used in referring to this person are: obligee, payee or residential parent.

Default: When the amount of past due child support is equal to or greater than 30 days worth of support, the obligor is said to be in default, and an Advance Notice of Default is generated by the SETS computer system. This notice is then mailed out to the obligor. This is the catalyst for initiating most enforcement activities. Once an Advance Notice of Default is issued, the obligor remains in default until the arrears are $0.00.

Emancipation: When the child is 18 and no longer attending an accredited high school on a full-time basis, the agency will terminate the support order but continue to collect on any arrears. On orders which went into effect after January 1, 1998, the emancipation age ceiling is the child's 19th birthday if the child is still attending high school.

Federal Parent Locator Service: A service operated by the Office of Child Support Enforcement in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services used to assist the States in locating missing obligors.

Mistake-of-Fact Hearing: A hearing requested by an obligor (obligees cannot request such a hearing) and held administratively by the CSEA. At this hearing, an agency Hearing Officer will determine if a mistake of fact has been made in the calculation of an arrearage amount (in accordance with Ohio Revised Code Section 3113.21).

Non-Custodial Parent: This is the person who is ordered to pay support on an order. Other terms commonly used to refer to this person are: obligor or non-residential parent.

Obligation: The amount of money to be paid as support by the responsible parent and the manner by which it is to be paid.

Ohio Parent Locator Service: A location database used by CSEA attorneys and support officers who are searching for missing obligors believed to be residing within the State of Ohio.

Processing Charge: Formerly referred to as poundage, processing charge is the statutory 2% service fee which is assessed by the CSEA against a support obligation to cover the cost of posting receipts and disbursing payments. This amount is charged against the obligor, above and beyond the monthly ordered amount. Example: Current support is $100 per month. The obligor actually has to pay $102 per month. The additional two dollars is the processing charge.

SETS (Support Enforcement Tracking System): The name for Ohio's statewide child support computer system which became fully operational in Franklin County on June 12, 2000.

Shared Parenting: As used in ORC Section 3109.04 (Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities for Care of Children), the parents share, in the manner set forth in a shared parenting plan that is approved by a court, in all or some aspects of the physical and legal care of their children.

Tax Offset: Interception of a federal or state tax refund from an obligor who owes child support arrearages. Federal Tax Offset is applied in cases where arrears owed to the state are in excess of $150 or where arrears owed to the custodial parent are in excess of $500. Ohio's State Tax Offset is applied in cases where the arrears are in excess of $150.

Termination: An action which terminates the ongoing support obligation. The CSEA will terminate the support order for any of the following reasons: permanent legal change of custody, parents' marriage or remarriage to each other, legal marriage of the child, adoption, the child's enlistment in the armed services, deportation, where the child no longer permanently resides with the custodial parent, death of the child or absent parent, and for administrative orders only...parents' cohabitation for a period of no less than six months while concurrently on public assistance.

Title IV-D: Federal legislation promulgated under the Social Security Act which empowers State and County governments to enforce child support laws.

Wage Withholding: The procedure by which automatic deductions are made from wages or income to pay a child or spousal support obligation.

John O'Grady President
Marilyn Brown
Kevin L. Boyce