Unless you work in the legal industry, you might not know what all those terms you hear mean in your Pennsylvania child support proceedings. Unfortunately, this can place you at a disadvantage when a court is poised to make critical support decisions.
By taking a minute to learn what the terms you read and hear mean, you have a better chance of getting a fair amount of child support for your kids. On the flip side, it is just as vital for the parent who pays child support to understand these terms.
Eight child support terms to understand
Most states use essentially the same or similar terms in child support proceedings. To help you know what these terms mean, we have provided brief definitions in the following list:
- Arrears (arrearage): Unpaid or past due child support owed by a noncustodial parent.
- Dependent: A child under 18 years of age who depends on adults (parents) for financial support. (In PA, that term can also apply to a child over 18 years of age in certain situations.)
- Monthly support obligation (MSO): The amount of support money a noncustodial parent must pay each month.
- Support order: The legal document a court issues detailing the maintenance or support plan for a dependent child.
- Payee: A person that is authorized to receive child support on behalf of the child.
- Obligor/payor: A parent who is obligated to support a child.
- Wage withholding: An enforcement technique that withholds a part of the noncustodial parent’s income to pay for the support of a child.
- Offset: An offset intercepts money from income tax refunds and other means to cover back child support.
By now, you probably already feel a little wiser about what lies ahead in your proceedings. We encourage you to continue learning about Pennsylvania child support to increase your knowledge even more.