California State Department of Child Support Services/DCSS - The State department
responsible for the oversight of the state Child Support Program. Child Support Program services
are delivered through 52 county and regional child support agencies.
CalWORKS - Public assistance benefits paid on behalf of low-income, needy, dependent children,
provided under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act.
Cash Balance Plan - A type of defined benefit plan that includes some elements that are similar to
a defined contribution plan because the benefit amount is computed based on a formula using
contribution and earning credits, and each participant has a hypothetical account. Cash balance
plans are more likely than traditional defined benefit plans to make lump sum distributions.
Child Support – The amount of money paid by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for a
child’s day-to-day expenses and other special needs.
Child Support - Before parents can address the issue of child support, there must be an
underlying action. If the parents are married, either the mother or the father must first file an action
requesting a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, nullity or file the petition for custody and
support of minor children's action. If the parents are unmarred, either the mother or the father must
file an action to establish the parental relationship or file the petition for custody and support of
minor children. There is no legal obligation to pay child support from one parent to the other until
there is a Court order. A Court order is obtained by requesting a hearing.
Once an underlying action has been filed, the Court can address the issue of child support in the
underlying action. Further discussion of child support can be located by referring to the
appropriate underlying action.
In Los Angeles County, child support issues may also be raised through an action initiated by the
Child Support Services Department , formally known as the District Attorney's Office - Bureau of
Family Support Operations.
Amounts required to be paid under a judgment, decree, or order, whether temporary, final, or
subject to modification, for the support and maintenance of a child or children, which provides for
any or all of the following: monetary support, health insurance coverage, arrearages, and may
include interest on delinquent child support obligations.
Child Support Guidelines – A series of mathematical formulas used to calculate the amount of
child support to be paid in some cases. Congress has mandated that states adopt child support
guidelines and support enforcement procedures. In California the most widely used program for
calculating support is called Dissomaster and the resulting support is referred to as Guideline
Support. (California Family Code sections 4050 and thereafter)
COBRA – Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) law passed in 1986. It
allows an ex-spouse to continue to receive health insurance coverage from his/her former spouse’s
employer if the employer has at least 20 employees, for up to three years after the divorce.
Premiums for this coverage are typically higher than when they were covered under the employer’s
plan. It should be noted that the normal COBRA provision states that if an employee leaves or is
fired from a job, he or she can get health insurance from that company for 18 months. However, in
the case of a divorce it is extended to 3 years or 36 months.
Collaborative Divorce – Collaborative Divorce is a team approach to divorce. Divorcing families
obtain professional help from specialists in the psychotherapy, financial, legal fields, and when
needed, medical and child specialists to help them settle their case.
Collaborative Law – Collaborative Law is a new dispute resolution model in which each party
retains their own attorney who has gone through specialized “Collaborative Law” training. The
lawyer’s only job is to help settle the dispute. All parties agree to work together respectfully,
honestly, and in good faith to try to find “win-win” solutions to the legitimate needs of both parties.
No one may go to court, or even threaten to do so, and if that should occur, the Collaborative Law
process terminates and both lawyers are disqualified from any further involvement in the case.
Common Law Marriage – A judicially recognized marriage in some states, usually based on
cohabitation where no formal marriage ceremony has taken place. California does not recognize
common law marriage.
Community Property – A form of co-ownership of property used in some states, that divides
equally all property acquired during the term of the marriage. Inheritance and gifts are excluded in
some jurisdictions. Currently, these eight states have community property laws: Arizona, California,
Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Washington. The Wisconsin system has
similarities. Most other states follow the rule of Equitable Division of Property.
Compromise of Arrears Program - A standard method to accept a partial payment on child
support debt owed to the government in exchange for compromising some of the governmental
Contempt of Court – The willful failure to comply with a court order, judgment, or decree by a
party to the actions. Contempt of Court may be punishable by fine or imprisonment.
Contested Divorce – Any case where the judge must decide one or more issues that are not
agreed to by the parties. All cases are considered contested until all issues have been agreed to.
Corroborative Witness – A person who testifies for one of the parties and backs up their story.
Court Order – A written instruction from the court carrying the weight of law. Orders must be in
writing. Anyone who knowingly violates a court order can be held in contempt of court. After a
hearing, the clerk usually prepares a Minute Order. You should always request a copy of the
minute order. Also the parties may volunteer and the Court may order that one of the parties
prepare an Order After Hearing for submission to the Court. In such a case the party preparing the
Order After Hearing should obtain a copy of the Court reporters transcript.
Credit – The measure of trustworthiness of repayment of a loan based on income, past credit
history, assets and liabilities. It should be noted that after the divorce the former spouses past
credit history might affect the ex-spouse.
Cross-Examination – The questioning of a witness presented by the opposing party on trial or at
a deposition. The purpose is to test the truth of that testimony.
Custodial Parent – The parent with whom the child(ren) live the majority of the time.
Custodial Party/CP - The parent or guardian who has sole, joint, or temporary custody of a
dependent child. Although custodial status has no bearing on who receives support, a custodial
parent or guardian is often the party who receives child support payments.
Custody And Visitation - Before parents can address the issues of custody and visitation of their
minor children, there must be an underlying action. If the parents are married, either the mother or
the father must first file an action requesting a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, nullity or
file the petition for custody and support of minor children's action. If the parents are unmarried,
either the mother or the father must file an action to establish the parental relationship or file the
petition for custody and support of minor children.
Once an underlying action has been filed, the Court can address the issues of custody and
visitation. Further discussion of custody and visitation can be located by referring to the
appropriate underlying action.
In Los Angeles County, custody and visitation issues may also be raised through an action initiated
by the Child Support Services Department, formerly known as the District Attorney's Office -
Bureau of Family Support Operations.
Custody (Legal) – refers to the parent’s right to make important decisions affecting health,
education and welfare of the children.
-have a child live with that parent and
-make decisions concerning the child
Custody (Physical) – refers to who the children reside with.
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