Administrative process

Method by which support orders are established and / or enforced by an agency rather than by courts and judges.


Unpaid child support payments for past periods owed by a parent who is court ordered to pay.

Assignment of Support Rights

A person receiving temporary cash assistance (RIWorks), child care benefits and / or RIte Care agrees to assign his her rights to collect child support to tehOffice of Child Support services, including arrearages, paid or owed by the obligated parent, in exchange for receipt of RIWorks and other benefits.


Written document filed in court in which the person initiating the action names the persons, allegations, and relief sought

Consent Agreement

Voluntary written agreement for support and/or health insurance

Custodial Parent

Person with legal custody and with whom the child lives; may be the parent, other relative or someone else and to whom child support is owed.


Legal determination which establishes with whom a child should live.


Failure of a defendant to file an answer, response, or appeal in a civil case within a certain number of days after having been served with a summons and complaint

Default Judgment

Decision made by the court when the defendant fails to respond.


Person against whom a civil or criminal proceeding is begun.


Use of administrative and judicial methods to secure past due support

Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS)

A service operated by the Office of Office of Child Support Services in the U.S Department of Health and Human Services to assist the States in locating responsible persons for the purpose of obtaining child support payments; also used in cases of parental kidnapping related to custody and visitation determinations; FPLS obtains employer and home address information from Federal agencies


A legal proceeding whereby a portion of a person's wages or other assets is withheld and applied to payment of child support. Also called wage withholding.

Genetic Testing

DNA analysis of inherited factors of mother, child and alleged father, which can exclude or show a high probability that a particular man fathered a particular child. Sample is obtained through buccal swabs.


A standard method for setting child support obligations based on the income of the parent(s) and other factors as determined by State law. Rhode Island applies an Income Shares Model.

Immediate income withholding

Automatic deductions by an employer from income which start as soon as the agreement for support is established.


Legal authority which a court has over particular persons, certain types of cases and in a defined geographical area


A claim upon real or personal property to prevent sale or transfer until the child support past due amount.

Long arm statute

A law, that permits one State to claim personal jurisdiction over someone who lives in another State based upon certain minimum contacts.

Rite Care

Federally funded medical support for low-income families.

Medical Support

Legal provision for insurance coverage, or a cash medical payment.

Non-custodial parent

Parent who does not have legal custody of a child but who has a responsibility for financial support.


Amount of money to be paid as child support by the responsible parent and the manner by which it is to be paid.


Amount of money taken from a parent's State or Federal income tax refund or other federal loan to satisfy a child support past due amount.


Direction of a Magistrate, Judge or properly empowered administrative entity.

Paternity judgment

Legal determination of fatherhood.


Person who brings an action, complains or sues in a civil case.

State Parent Locator Service (SPLS)

A service operated by the State Child Support Enforcement Agencies to locate non-custodial parents, to establish paternity, and establish and enforce child support obligations.


Uniform Interstate Family Support Act- a law which provides a mechanism for establishing and enforcing support obligations when the non-custodial parent lives in one State or country and the custodial parent and child(ren) live in another.

Visitation/Parenting Time

The right of a non-custodial parent to visit or spend time with his or her children.

Income withholding

Procedure by which automatic deductions are made from wages or income to pay child support. May be voluntary or involuntary. Also referred to as garnishment.

Acknowledged Parent

An individual who has established a parent-child relationship pursuant to Article 3 of the Uniform Parentage Act by filing the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage with RIDOH’s Center for Vital Records.

Adjudicated Parent

An individual who has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to be the parent of the child.

Alleged Genetic Parent

An individual who is alleged to be, or alleges that the individual is, a genetic parent or possible genetic parent of a child whose parentage has not been adjudicated. The term includes an alleged genetic father and alleged genetic mother.   An alleged genetic parent does not include a presumed parent, a person whose parental rights have been terminated or declared not to exist or a donor.

Intended Parent

An individual, whether married or unmarried, who manifests the intent to be legally bound as a parent of a child conceived through assisted reproduction or a gestational carrier agreement.

Presumed Parent

A person who is presumed to be the parent of a child if:

The individual and the individual giving birth to the child are married to each other and the child is born during the marriage; The individual and the individual giving birth to the child were married to each other and the child is born not later than 300 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, divorce, or dissolution;

The individual and the individual giving birth to the child married each other after the birth of the child and the individual at any time asserted parentage of the child and the individual agreed to be, and is named as, a parent of the child on the birth certificate of the child, or

The individual resided in the same household with the child, and the individual and another parent of the child openly held out the child as that person’s own from the time the child was born or adopted and for a period of two years thereafter, including periods of temporary absence, and assumed personal, financial, or custodial responsibilities for the child.