Glossary of Terms M-Z

Medical Assistance

Medical Assistance is Minnesota's Medicaid program for low-income families with children, seniors, and people with disabilities. This is a form of public assistance and is not a form of health care coverage.

Medical Support

Medical support is providing or contributing to the cost of a child's health and dental insurance, or payment for a child's medical expenses, usually part of court-ordered support.

Minnesota Family Investment Program

The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) is the state's welfare reform program for low-income families with children.


MinnesotaCare is a subsidized health insurance program for Minnesota residents who do not have access to affordable health care coverage. This is a form of public assistance and is not a form of health care coverage.

Monthly Income Received

The monthly income received includes any form of periodic payment to an individual including, but not limited to, salaries, wages, commissions, spousal maintenance payments received under a previous order or the current proceeding, workers' compensation, unemployment benefits, annuity payments, military and naval retirement, pension and disability payments, Social Security benefits received by a parent based on the parent's own eligibility, and income from self-employment or operation of a business.

Use gross salary and gross wage amounts before any deductions and before participation in any employer-sponsored benefit plan that allows an employee to pay for a benefit or expense using pretax dollars. Multiply weekly income by 4.33 to arrive at a monthly amount.

Noncustodial Parent

The noncustodial parent is a person obligated to pay spousal maintenance or child support. Another term used for noncustodial parent is obligor.

Nonjoint Child

A nonjoint child is the legal child of one, but not both of the parents in this support proceeding. A stepchild is not considered a nonjoint child.

Nonjoint Child Living in each Parent's Home

When determining basic support, a parent may receive a deduction for a nonjoint child living in the parent's home. The deduction is allowed for a nonjoint child who:
  1. Primarily resides in the parent's household
  2. For whom the parent does not have an existing court order for basic support.
  3. The maximum number of nonjoint children allowed for a deduction to determine a child support obligation is two.

Nonpublic Assistance

Nonpublic Assistance (NPA) is a support case in which no public assistance is being provided to the obligee or children.


An obligation is a legal duty imposed on a parent by the court to provide support.


The obligee is a person (or agency) receiving spousal maintenance or child support.


The obligor is a person obligated to pay spousal maintenance or child support.

Occupational License Suspension

Occupational license suspension is an enforcement procedure where the child support agency asks a licensing board to suspend the obligor's occupational license because the obligor owes past due support and is not paying the support obligation.


The legal mother-child relationship and/or father-child relationship as determined by the law.

Parental Income for Child Support (PICS)

PICS is a parent's gross income minus credit for nonjoint children.

Parenting Time

Parenting time is the amount of time the child is scheduled to spend with a parent according to a court order.

Participant Number

Each person on a child support case in Minnesota is given a 10-digit participant number. It is also known as a participant ID or Master Client Index (MCI) number.

Passport Denial

Passport denial is an enforcement procedure where an obligor is denied the ability to renew a passport or get a new passport due to the amount of past due support owed by the obligor.

Payment Agreement

A payment agreement is a document signed by the obligor that states the monthly payment that must be received to avoid a specified enforcement action. For child support purposes, payment agreement and payment plan are the same terms.

Payor of Funds

Any person or entity that provides funds to an obligor.

Personal Identification Number

The personal identification number (PIN) is the number that is used along with your participant number to identify you to the computer on the website. The child support agency sends a notice with a unique PIN to obligees and obligors. You should not share your PIN with anyone. If you don't know, forgot, or lost your PIN, or if someone stole it, contact your county child support worker.

Physical Custody

Physical custody means the routine daily care and control of the child.

Potential Income

Potential Income is defined as a parent who is voluntarily unemployed, underemployed, or employed on a less than full-time basis, or if there is no direct evidence of any income, potential income may be used. This is in addition to any monthly income received. There is a presumption that a parent can be gainfully employed on a full-time basis.

Potential income is determined by one of three methods:
  1. The parent's probable earnings level
  2. If the parent is receiving unemployment or workers' compensation, income may be calculated using the actual amount of the benefit received
  3. The amount of income the parent could earn working full time at 150 percent of the current federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher.

Pro Se

When parents represent themselves in a legal action.

Project Intercept

Project Intercept (PI), also known as the federal tax offset program, is a way the child support agency uses to collect an obligor's support arrears by filing a claim against any federal income tax refund an obligor may be eligible to receive.

Project Intercept Fee

The project intercept fee is a fee the child support agency charges an obligee that does not receive public assistance when it collects child support from an obligor's federal tax refund. The child support agency charges obligees a $25 fee once per year per case for amounts of at least $100 that are collected from federal tax refunds. The child support agency deducts the fee before sending the payment to the obligee. The obligor receives credit for the full amount collected.

Public Assistance

Public assistance is defined as benefits from a state or federal program, including:
  • Cash Assistance in the form of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • In Minnesota, the TANF program may take two forms: Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) or Diversionary Work Program (DWP).
These programs provide parents with job preparation, work, and support services to help them become self-sufficient.
  • Child Care Assistance
  • Medical Assistance
  • MinnesotaCare
  • IV-E Foster Care
Eligibility for public assistance benefits is based on need.

Recreational License Suspension

Recreational license suspension is an enforcement procedure where the child support agency asks the court to suspend the obligor's current hunting or fishing license or to prevent receipt of any future hunting or fishing license because the obligor owes past due support. Licenses eligible for suspension includes deer, bear, moose, elk, small game, pheasant, turkey, fish, as well as trout, salmon and migratory waterfowl stamps.

Redirection of Support

A redirection of support means that because a child is not living with the obligee named in the court order, the child support that is ordered is temporarily paid to a person or agency other than the obligee. Support may be redirected from the obligee to a different person or agency by any of the following methods:
  • A court order
  • A voluntary agreement signed by the obligee to have support redirected to another caretaker or a foster care agency

Revenue Recapture

Revenue Recapture (RR) is a way the child support agency collects the obligor's child support arrears by filing a claim against the obligor's state income tax refund, lottery winnings over $600, political contribution refund, property tax refund, or renter's credit refund.

Secondary School

For child support, a secondary school is an accredited school or educational program that provides instruction or training towards a high school diploma or an equivalent degree such as a GED.

Self-Employment Income

Income from self-employment includes operation of a business and joint ownership of a partnership or closely-held business. Income means gross receipts minus costs of goods sold minus ordinary and necessary business expenses required for self-employment or business operation. Self-employment does not include accelerated depreciation (§179), investment tax credits or other business expenses that are inappropriate or excessive. Business expenses that are allowable by the IRS are not necessarily business expenses for child support purposes.

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance (also known as alimony) is the court-ordered amount one spouse pays for the support and maintenance of the other. Spousal maintenance is included in the gross income of the party that receives it, for the purposes of determining child support.

Spousal maintenance is a deduction from gross income for the parent who is ordered to pay it, for the purposes of determining child support.


A subpoena may be issued to order the production of documents or records.

State Collection
State collection is an amount paid to the State to reduce an obligee's support overpayment. A support overpayment may have occurred as a result of an IRS adjustment; direct payments not reported timely; a retroactive court order adjustment; or some other reason.

State Registrar

The State Registrar is the office within the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) that keeps original birth records, Recognitions of Parentage (ROP), revocations, and other forms on file.

State Tax Refund Offset

The state tax refund offset is an enforcement remedy the child support agency uses to intercept an obligor's state income tax refund, lottery winnings over $600, political contribution refund, property tax refund, or renter's credit refund to pay the obligor's support arrears. Also known as Revenue Recapture (RR).

State Tax Refund Offset Fee

The state tax refund offset fee is the $15.00 fee the Department of Revenue charges a noncustodial parent whose state tax refund is offset to pay child support arrears. The Department of Revenue automatically deducts this fee before sending the refund to the child support agency. The Department of Revenue sends a notice to the noncustodial parent when it sends the funds to the child support agency.


Stay means to stop or delay the effect of a legal action.

Stored Value Card

See ReliaCard® Visa® Account.

Student Grant Hold

Student grant hold is an enforcement procedure where the child support agency directs the Minnesota Higher Servicing Office (MEHSO) to deny student grant funds to the obligor because the obligor owes past due support.


Support includes basic support, child care support, spousal maintenance when combined with child support; medical support, including expenses for confinement and pregnancy; arrearages; reimbursement; related costs; fees; interest; and penalties.

Support Order

A court-ordered obligation for the benefit of the obligor’s child(ren), spouse, or former spouse who lives with the child. A support order may include child support, medical support, or child care support. A court order may also include spousal maintenance.

Termination of Parental Rights

Termination of parental rights means that the legal relationship between a child and the child's biological or adoptive parents stops. The parent whose parental rights have been terminated has no ongoing rights, privileges, duties, or obligations to the child. However, if support arrears are owed for the time period before the parental rights were terminated, the parent whose parental rights were terminated may be required to pay the arrears in full.Tribunal: A court or administrative agency that has the authority to establish, enforce, or modify support orders.

Tribal TANF

: See Public Assistance.

Type of Payment

The type of payment identifies the enforcement method used to collect support payments. Enforcement methods included income withholding, federal tax intercept, state tax intercept, arrears collections, and others.

Uninsured Medical Expenses

Uninsured medical expenses are reasonable and necessary health-related expenses incurred while the joint child is not covered by a health plan or public coverage.

Unreimbursed Medical Expenses

Unreimbursed medical expenses are reasonable and necessary health-related expenses not covered by the joint child's health plan, such as deductibles, co-payments, orthodontia, prescription eyeglasses, and contacts. Unreimbursed medical expenses do not include the cost of premiums or over-the-counter medications.

Writ of Execution

A Writ of Execution is a document that gives authority to a sheriff to seize the obligor's property in order to collect the amount owed on the judgment. It lists the details of the judgment, such as the amount of the judgment, and the interest that has accrued on the judgment. A Writ of Execution expires 180 days after the court issues it.

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