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RCA@co.ramsey.mn.us

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Attorney Logo Glossary


Alleged Father - A man who claims or is claimed by another person to be the father of a child, but who has not been legally determined to be the father of that child.

Adjudication – The process through a court action to determine a father-child relationship when a child is born outside of marriage.

Arrears – Arrears, also referred to as arrearages, are support obligation amounts that are unpaid and overdue.

Basic Support – Money ordered and paid for the support of a child relating for housing, food, clothing, transportation, and other expenses relating to the child’s care.

Child - An individual under 18 years old, or under 20 years old who is still attending secondary school, or by reason of physical or mental condition, is incapable of self-support.

Child Care Support – Money ordered and paid to contribute towards the cost of work-related or education-related child care costs.

Child Support - Money and health care coverage parents provide to help support their children. Child support may include basic support, medical support, and child care support.

Genetic Testing - Genetic testing is the process that compares the characteristics of the genes of the parties to predict the probability, or exclude the possibility, that an alleged father is the biological father of a child.

Income Withholding - Income withholding is the deduction of the basic support, child care support, medical support, and/or spousal maintenance obligation and arrears from an obligor's wages or other sources of income.

Joint Child - The dependent child of both parents in the support proceeding. In cases where support is sought from only one parent of a child, a joint child is the child for whom support is sought.

Medical Support - Medical support is money ordered to contribute towards the cost of private or public health care coverage for the child, an obligation to cover a percentage of uninsured or unreimbursed medical expenses, and/or  the obligation to provide private health care coverage for the child.

Non-joint Child – The legal child of one, but not both, of the parents subject to the legal action being taken. Stepchildren are not considered non-joint children.

Obligation - A legal duty ordered by the court to provide support. 

Obligee - A person to whom payments for child support or spousal maintenance are owed.

Obligor - A person obligated to pay child support or spousal maintenance. A person who has primary physical custody of a child is presumed not to be an obligor for the purposes of child support.  However, for medical support purposes, a parent who has primary physical custody of a child may be an obligor, however enforcement remedies are limited because of federal law.

Public Assistance – Benefits from a state or federal program, including: Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF), Medical Assistance (MA), Minnesota Care, Diversionary Work Program (DWP), IV-D Foster Care, and Child Care Assistance.

Recognition of Parentage - A form that parents who are not married to each other voluntarily sign at the hospital or in a county child support office to establish the legal relationship between the father child.  If properly filled out, signed and filed with the Department of Health, the form determines the legal relationship between the father and child.  If the mother is married to another man, the husband must sign the Husband’s Non-Paternity Statement before the form determines the legal relationship between the father and child.

Spousal Maintenance - A court-ordered obligation one party pays for the support and maintenance of a current or former spouse.