Refers to Title IV, Part A of the Social Security Act, which authorizes Cash Assistance programs. A IV-A child support case includes at least one child receiving Cash Assistance from the state.


Refers to Title IV, Part D of the Social Security Act, which authorizes the child support program. Treated as equivalent to the term “child support” in phrases such as “IV-D program,” “IV-D agency,” “IV-D services,” and so on.
At the state level, IV-D indicates the state program responsible for the administration of the federal child support program. In Utah, this program is part of the Office of Recovery Services (ORS).

Adjudicated Father

The person who has been legally established as the father of a child by a judicial or administrative order.


Changes, based on new information, to a child support account balance or the amount being charged each month.

Administrative Actions

Actions taken by a government agency, such as ORS, that carry the same or similar legal weight as a judicial hearing. For example, ORS sets administrative child support orders without the courts. Similarly, ORS takes many administrative collection actions without court assistance.

Administrative Hearing

A type of hearing that takes place before an administrative law judge at the Department of Human Services’ Office of Administrative Hearings. In keeping with the Utah Administrative Procedures Act, the court is not involved. Orders issued in administrative hearings are legally binding, just like court orders.

Alleged Father

A person who has been named as the possible biological father of a child but who has not yet gone through legal process of paternity establishment.


The amount of money that a person who pays child support owes to the person or, in some cases, the government entity who receives that support. The amount represents a total of the support that was not paid when it was due. Also called past-due support.

Attorney General’s Office (AGO)

A group of attorneys, led by the Attorney General, who provide legal representation for the State of Utah. The Child and Family Support Division of the AGO provides legal support to ORS and may represent ORS and present child support cases in court for ORS. AGO attorneys do not represent either parent.

Automatic Adjustment

Legal language that allows ORS to change the child support amount if the noncustodial parent becomes incarcerated. A new support order or court action is not required. Child support orders that contain this language give the new child support amount in the text of the order.

Automatic Payment Withdrawal (APW)

A process that lets the paying parent have child support withdrawn directly from a personal bank account. The APW process replaces income withholding through an employer.


An informal term for cash or medical assistance received from a state or federal program. Examples include Family Employment Plan benefits, Medicaid benefits, or Social Security benefits.

Children in Care (CIC)

An ORS program that works to reimburse the state for the cost of supporting children who have been placed in the care of certain divisions of the Department of Human Services.

Child Support Services (CSS)

An ORS program that assists families with collecting financial support, such as child support and spousal support, and securing medical coverage for children. CSS is authorized by state laws and by Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.


Willfully disobeying or openly disrespecting the rules or orders of a court. In child support, contempt is most commonly related to not paying child support. A person’s continued failure to pay child support may result in a contempt action against them.


Working in good faith toward the same end as another person or organization. In child support, parents applying for Cash Assistance or Medicaid must cooperate with ORS to obtain medical coverage for their children or to establish, change, or collect child support. (The Department of Workforce Services administers Cash Assistance and Medicaid, not ORS.)

Current Support

Child support that a parent owes for the current month. Also known as "ongoing support."

Custodial Parent (CP)

The person who has primary care, custody, and control of the child or children. Also known as the obligee or the parent receiving support.

Declarant Father

A person who has legally established paternity by signing an Affidavit for Voluntary Declaration of Paternity. See Voluntary Declaration of Paternity.


The amount of money owed for unpaid child support. The amount may include interest and fees.

Default Order or Default Judgment

Court or administrative actions that were arrived at without the full input of one party on the case. Default child support orders typically happen because one person did not respond to an order to appear and provide information, despite having been properly served the order.

Deviated Order

A child support order that differs in some way (deviates) from what the child support guidelines table requires. Only courts can make deviated orders. Generally, a court will only make a deviated order if following the child support guidelines would clearly not fit a specific case.

Disposable Income

The amount of income that a person takes home after making any legally required deductions. Taxes are an example of a legally required deduction.

Duty of Support

The old term for the form that clients of the Department of Workforce Services had to complete when applying for child support services as part of the process of seeking benefits. This form is now called the Application for Services.


Electronic Funds Transfer. ORS uses the EFT process to send child support payments to the personal account of a custodial parent. Employers or other entities that make child support payments may also make EFTs to ORS.


In child support, eligibility is most commonly associated with the process of seeking cash or medical assistance. One of the eligibility requirements of certain programs in the Department of Workforce Services is cooperation with ORS.


The release from parental care and responsibility. At ORS this term indicates the end of the monthly child support obligation. In Utah law generally treats emancipation and end of the child support obligation terminates when a child turns 18 or the child graduates from high school during the normal and expected year of graduation.

Full Services Case

A type of ORS case that includes the full range of services needed to collect financial support and enforce medical coverage. These services can include attempting to locate a noncustodial parent; establishing orders for paternity, child support, and medical support; enforcing child support orders, whether administrative or judicial (for example, a divorce decree) and reviewing and adjusting existing support orders.


The Government Records Access and Management Act. Classifies government records as public, private, controlled, or protected. GRAMA also defines who may receive government records and outlines the process for releasing them.


The set of laws in Utah that govern the establishment of child support and medical coverage. Often used informally to refer to the child support tables that set support amounts contained in Utah’s statute.

Hague Convention

A 2007 treaty to create standardized, cost-effective ways to process international child support cases. In the United States, Hague Convention procedures were adopted by the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. The full formal name of the agreement is the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance.

Imputing Income

The act of knowingly assigning an income amount to a parent when the parent apparently does not receive that amount of income. In Utah, if a parent has no recent work history, an income at the federal minimum wage may be imputed for purposes of establishing child support obligations via the child support guidelines.

Income-Withholding Order (IWO)

A document that requires an employer (or some other figure that provides income) to withhold part of a noncustodial parent’s pay and send it to ORS to meet that parent’s child support obligation. Formerly known as a Notice to Withhold (NTW).

Insurance Credit

A credit that Utah parents may receive for paying for insurance a child on a child support case. The credit can reduce the amount of child support that a noncustodial parent pays. The credit may also help the custodial parent collect a portion of the premiums paid. The credit may be worth up to half of the amount the parent actually pays for the child’s part of health insurance.

Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) System

An automated phone system that lets people respond to recorded phone prompts using their voices. ORS’s IVR system can give callers information about ORS, information about their personal cases, and route calls to the correct ORS employee.

Intergovernmental Petition or Referral

Documents generated by one child support program to ask another child support program to start a case on its behalf.

Interstate or Intergovernmental Cases

Cases in which the child on the case and the noncustodial parent live in different jurisdictions. The different jurisdictions may also be involved in some case activity, such as enforcement. Most interstate or intergovernmental cases are between different states, but the other jurisdiction may be a territory, a country, or a Native American tribal group.

Joint Custody

Shared legal or physical custody of a child that parents have when no longer living together with their child.


A decision of a court, judge, or administrative tribunal. A child support judgment may consist of the monthly ordered child support or may be a judgment for a past-due child support amount.

Judicial Action

For ORS, any action that a court decided or that requires a court’s involvement.


The legal authority that a court or administrative agency has over particular people or certain types of cases, usually in a defined geographical area.

Long-Arm Jurisdiction

A legal provision that lets one state claim personal jurisdiction over someone who lives in another state.

Medical-Only Services or Medical Monitoring

A case that requires ORS to enforce any obligation to pay medical expenses or to maintain medical insurance for the child on the case. No current child support or arrears are collected in these cases.

National Medical Support Notice (NMSN)

The federally approved form that ORS sends to employers to notify the employer to enroll dependent children in an employment-related group health insurance plan in accordance with a child support order.


A determination that custodial parent that has applied for or is receiving Cash Assistance or Medicaid is not cooperating with ORS in establishing paternity and/or establishing, modifying, or enforcing a child support order.

Noncustodial Parent (NCP)

The parent who does not have primary care, custody, or control of the child, and has an obligation to pay child support. Also referred to as the “obligor” or the parent paying support.

Non-IV-A Cases

Cases where a family receives child support services but does not currently receive Cash Assistance or Medicaid.

Non-IV-D Cases

ORS cases that fall outside the categories of IV-D, IV-A, Non-IV-A, and Medicaid recovery. For example, federal law requires ORS to collect, account for, and distribute all payments that come from income withholding, even when the people involved do not have an open IV-D case and do not receive benefits. Non-IV-D cases at ORS also include ones that come from a limited number of small ORS programs that are not tied to child support and do not receive the same type of funding or go through the same procedures as IV-D cases.

Notary Public (Notarization/Notarized)

A person appointed by state government to witness the signing of important documents and ensure the identity of the people signing the documents.

Notice of Agency Action

The document that notifies someone of the start of a legal administrative legal action, in keeping with the Utah Administrative Procedures Act. For example, ORS sends a Notice of Agency Action when we start the process of establishing a child support order or suspending a drivers’ license. We also send them when we change a child support order. The document describes what is about to happen and lets all parties participate in the process. This process will result in an administrative order which has the same authority as a court order.


The legal basis for the duty to pay child support or the legal basis for a child support debt. Sometimes used to mean the amount of money that is owed may be specified in a divorce decree or an administrative order.


The custodial parent or specified relative who should receive child support.


The noncustodial parent who owes child support.


The federal Office of Child Support Services, the program that oversees child support agencies in all U.S. states and territories, as well as Native American tribal groups.

Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH)

The office that conducts hearings for people or entities that dispute administrative actions taken by the Department of Human Services (DHS). The types of hearings that the office conducts include fair hearings and administrative hearings. These hearings are conducted in agreement with generally accepted principles of administrative law and due process.

Ongoing Monthly Support

See Current Support. Also referred to as “ordered support.”


In child support, the legal document that requires a noncustodial parent to pay child support or medical support. The order explains the amount of money the parent will pay, how they will pay it, and what person or entity will receive it.


The Office of Recovery Services, located in the Utah Department of Human Services. ORS provides child support and Medicaid cost recovery services.


ORS Now is the comprehensive case management and accounting system used by ORS.


The identification of who a child’s parents are and the legal establishment of their rights and duties as a parent.


In child support, the delivery of information as part of an administrative child support process. For example, calling or writing a letter to ORS or attending a conference with an ORS agent can be considered participation in some circumstances.

Paternity Establishment

The legal determination of fatherhood and the related rights and responsibilities by court order, administrative order, or acknowledgment.


The parent who receives child support payments (usually the custodial parent).


The parent that makes child support payments (usually the noncustodial parent).


The party initiating a legal action.

Presumed Father or Mother

The legal status of a father or mother whose child was born during their marriage or within 300 days of the termination of the marriage.


The review of an existing administrative order to determine whether it should be changed. The noncustodial parent seeking the reconsideration must request it within 20 days after ORS issues the final order. The noncustodial parent’s request must give specific legal reasons for reconsideration.


The person who has to respond to a legal proceeding.

Retained Support

Money for child support that went to the wrong recipient. This can happen, for example, when child support that should have been paid to the state went instead to a public assistance recipient. Money paid by a noncustodial parent to a former custodial parent when the child was in the custody of the state falls into the same category.

Review and Adjustment

A two-part procedure for potentially changing a child support order. The first part—review—looks at the most recent child support order and the current income of the parents. The review process analyzes whether the child support amount is still in line with the child support guidelines. If the amount is not in line with the support guidelines, ORS or the court may change, or “adjust,” the child support amount. Also known as “modification.”


A method for protecting something. Safeguards in child support may, for example, protect some case information may be protected from disclosure in cases of domestic violence or child abuse.

Sole Custody

A situation in which all of the children on a child support case are in the physical custody of one parent.

Specified Relative

A person other than a child’s parent who has physical and/or legal custody or guardianship of a child. Examples of a specified relative include a grandparent or an aunt or uncle.

Split Custody

A situation in which at least one of the children on a child support case is in the physical custody of each parent.

Statute of Limitations

A law that controls how long people or other entities have to bring certain kinds of legal action. In Utah, UCA 78B-5-202 controls how long past-due child support may be enforced. Past-due child support without a sum-certain judgment may be enforced within 4 years after the youngest child on the order turns 18. Past-due child support with a sum-certain judgment may be enforced for 8 years from the date of entry for that judgment.


A voluntary agreement that a person enters into as part of a judicial or administrative action. Parents who are establishing child support through ORS’s administrative process may agree on child support amounts and sign a stipulation order for child support at any point.

Sum-certain Judgment

A debt, set by a court or an administrative body, for a defined amount of money. See Judgment.


Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a federal block grant program. Replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, commonly called welfare. In Utah, this program is known as FEP, or the Family Employment Program.

Two-parent Order

A child support order that includes obligations for both parents. In Utah, most orders contain a support amount for both parents. That amount may be used when the custody of all of the children changes over time.

Unenforceable Cases

Child support cases with orders that in certain specific ways cannot be enforced. Federal law allows ORS to close unenforceable cases for various reasons, including the amount of debt on the case and whether the order is still considered current. The case may also be closed if other laws keep ORS from enforcing it.

Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA)

The set of laws that control interstate child support enforcement.

Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP)

A form that a declarant father signs to voluntarily acknowledge paternity of a child born in Utah to an unmarried mother. The form is from the Utah Department of Health, Office of Vital Records and Statistics.