Emancipation – The point at which a minor child comes of age. Children are emancipated in most
states upon reaching the age of 18, 19 or 21, or upon marriage, full-time employment, graduation
from high school, or entering the armed services. Emancipation is the point where parents have no
further legal or financial obligations for a child’s support.
Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) – A Federal law that sets
standards of protection for individuals in most voluntarily established, private-sector retirement
plans. ERISA requires plans to provide participants with plan information, including important facts
about plan features and funding; sets minimum standards for participation, vesting, benefit accrual,
and funding; provides fiduciary responsibilities for those who manage and control plan assets;
requires plans to establish a claims and appeals process for participants to get benefits from their
plans; gives participants the right to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty; and, if a
defined benefit plan is terminated, guarantees payment of certain benefits through a federally
chartered corporation, known as the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).
Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) – A type of defined contribution plan that is invested
primarily in employer stock.
Establishing Parentage (Paternity) - This action is filed by an unmarried mother or by an
unmarried father who have minor children together. Through this action, the Court will determine
paternity (or non-paternity if the father is found not to be the biological father of the minor
children), and make custody and visitation as well as child support orders.
Once an action is filed by a Petitioner, the other party, Respondent, must be personally served with
specific paperwork. If the Respondent fails to file the necessary responding paperwork within thirty
(30) days of service, the Petitioner may request the entry of default. Once the default is entered,
the Petitioner can complete the paternity proceeding without the participation of the Respondent.
If the Respondent files the necessary responding paperwork, the case will then proceed as either a
contested matter or an uncontested matter. The action is considered contested if the parties are
unable to agree on some or all issues and the unresolved issues must be resolved by the Court.
The action is considered uncontested if the parties are able to cooperate and agree on all issues
outside of Court and the matter can proceed to its conclusion by submitting the necessary signed
paperwork for the Court's signature.
Evidence – Proof presented at a hearing, including testimony, documents or objects.
Exhibits – Tangible things presented at trial as evidence.
Expert witness – In court proceedings, the expert witness is the professional whose testimony
helps a judge reach a decision.
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