Spousal Support And Alimony Terms & Definitions

Conference officer — The person who conducts an office conference to gather information for determining the proper amount of support. Many support cases are settled at an office conference. The office conference is an informal proceeding and no testimony is taken during the conference. If an agreement is not reached, the case would be listed before a hearing officer or a judge.

Hearing officer The person who conducts a hearing on the record and makes a recommendation for support to the court. Not every county in Pennsylvania utilizes hearing officers.

Obligor — The person who is paying support.

Obligee — The person who is receiving support.

Overdue support — The amount of delinquent support equal to or greater than one month's support obligation which accrues after entry or modification of a support order as the result of the obligor's nonpayment of that order.

Past-due support — The amount of support which accrues prior to entry or modification of a support order as the result of retroactivity of that order. When nonpayment of the order causes overdue support to accrue, any and all amounts of past-due support owing under the order shall convert immediately to overdue support and remain as such until paid in full.

When the court suspends an order, it eliminates the effect of the support order for a period of time.

When the court terminates an order, it not only ends the support order, but the support obligation as well.

Trier of fact The judge, hearing officer or conference officer who makes factual determinations.

Vacate — A support order is null and void, as if it were never entered.