Glossary And Definitions Of Terms

Definitions And Glossary Of Terms And Phrases


Alleged Father — For purposes of establishment of paternity, the "alleged father" is the man who claims to be, or is alleged to be, a child's father. The term "alleged father" is not to be confused with "presumed father" in the paternity statutes, or "putative father" in the adoption context.

Child Born Out Of Wedlock — A child born to a woman and a man who are not married to one another (this is a practical definition, not the strict statutory definition).

Child Support — The amount of money one person is ordered to pay another person to assist in paying for those things the payor's children need. The money is used for food, shelter, clothing, recreation, health care and anything else a child is reasonably likely to need growing up.

Child Support Guidelines — A set of rules, guidelines, calculations and other material used in determining the "presumptively" appropriate amount of money that a parent is directed to pay to assist in meeting the financial needs of children not in the payor's principal care. They can be found at: https://www.in.gov/judiciary/rules/child_support/

County Child Support Clerks Office — A county's office for the collection of support. Works in conjunction with the state child support bureau for the collection (often receives payment from those that "walk in" their payments) of child support. The office also keeps detailed payment history records — important for both those paying child support and those receiving it.

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) — A volunteer with specialized training to assist in the representation and protection of children. Most often used in CHINS cases and delinquency matters.

Decree Of Dissolution Of Marriage — The written judicial document terminating a marriage and restoring the husband and wife to the status of "unmarried persons."

Indiana Child Support Bureau — Indiana's central child support collection and distribution office. Responsible for the receipt of child support payments made by individuals and employers, recording that receipt and disbursing the money to the person entitled to receive it.

Income Withholding Order (IWO) — A court order issued by a state court judge (or by a Title IV-D Office) directing the employer of a person ordered to pay support to withhold the child support amount from the employee's income and send it directly to a state child support collection office for disbursement to the person entitled to receive it.

De Facto Custodian — A person who has been the primary caregiver and financial support for a child, and with whom the child has resided for a particular length of time — depending on the age of the child. While not specifically stated in the statutory definition, a de facto custodian is a caregiver that is not the child's parent. Status as a "de facto custodian" is particularly important in child custody and child custody modification actions.

Presumed Father — For purposes of the paternity, dissolution of marriage and adoption statutes, a man is the "presumed father" of a child under certain circumstances, for example, when the child is born during the father's marriage to the child's mother, or within 300 days of the termination of the man's marriage to the child's mother. A man is "presumed" to be a child's father if a genetic test indicates — with a 99 percent likelihood — that the man is the child's father. The term "presumed father" should not be confused with "alleged father" in the paternity statutes, or "putative father" in the adoption context.

Putative Father — A term extremely important in adoption proceedings. A "putative father" is a man who claims to be, or might be, a child's father, but who has not established paternity of that child prior to the child being placed for adoption. "Putative father" is not to be confused with "presumed father" or "alleged father" as those terms are used in paternity matters. Importantly, see "putative father registry."

Putative Father Registry — If a mother desiring to place her child for adoption has not disclosed the father's name to the lawyer or agency handling the adoption, the only way the biological father may receive notice of, and the opportunity to challenge the adoption is to make sure he's registered with Indiana's putative father registry.

The putative father registry is, in effect, a list of males, maintained by the Indiana State Department of Health, who believe they may have a child with (or a child soon to be born to) a mother who has placed the child for adoption, or will be placing a child for adoption. Indiana Adoption Statutes have very strict deadlines, and very particular procedures. If you believe you have a child with, or are about to have a child with, a mother who may place the child for adoption over your objections, contact a lawyer right away. If you object to the adoption but fail to timely and precisely follow the appropriate procedure for challenging it, your child will be adopted despite your objections.