Glossary 



bailiff

A uniformed sheriff's deputy who is responsible for maintaining order in the courtroom.

child support

Amounts due under a judgment, decree, or order, whether temporary, final, or subject to modification, for the support and maintenance of a child or children.  This can include monetary support, health insurance coverage, reimbursement for child care or medical expenses, arrearages, and interest on delinquent child support obligations.  

Commissioner

A person appointed by the Superior Court to act as a temporary judge to hear all child support cases managed by Child Support Services, unless an objection is made by a party. 

court order

A legally binding ruling issued by a court of law. A court order related to child support can dictate how often, how much, what kind of support a non-custodial parent is to pay, how long s/he is to pay it, and whether an employer must withhold support from his or her wages.  

Declaration of Paternity

A document signed by both parents stating that they are a child's parents. Filing this document with the State establishes the child's legal parents and can be impossible to overturn even if later facts emerge.

establish parentage

Legal identification of the father and mother of a child.  

good cause

A determination that a CalWORKS  recipient is excused from cooperating with the child support enforcement process, because there is sufficient evidence to indicate that opening a child support case would put the primary custodial party or child in danger of physical harm by the other parent. In these cases, a "good cause exemption" may be granted, meaning that DCSS will not attempt to collect child support from the other parent. 

Income Withholding Order (IWO)

A legally binding notice issued on federal form "Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support" informing the recipient (often, but not always, an employer)  that it must deduct money for Child Support from the amounts that it pays to the person named in the order. 

medical support

The court-ordered requirement that one or both parents provide for a dependent child health, vision, and dental insurance coverage and/or out-of-pocket medical expenses. 

proposed judgement

This is prepared by Child Support Services and is served on the parents and filed with the court.  It reflects the proposed terms of the child support order and can become a legally binding court order if the parents do not object.  

public assistance

Money given to a person or family for living expenses through CalWORKS or foster care, temporary assistance programs managed by  the Department of Social Services. These grants require an automatic referral to Child Support Services, so that financial assistance can be sought from any absent parent.  

Stipulation

A written agreement between people that becomes a legally binding court order when filed with the court.

summons and complaint

The mandatory method for notifying someone that a lawsuit has been filed against him or her.