Advance maintenance

Program in which child maintenance money is provided in advance of any payment made by the non-resident parent. In effect this guarantees an amount of child maintenance paid up front by the state


We do not define a child. Age related definitions of a child will vary across countries. In broad terms we mean children who are still dependent on their parents

Child Maintenance or Child Support

This refers to the money due to children from their liable parent(s) (following the breakdown in the parental relationship or following the birth of a child to parents who are neither married nor cohabiting).  It is intended to refer to a cash sum that is expected to be paid regularly and is to be exclusive of any 'spousal' or 'matrimonial support'. It is generally not meant to refer to a single 'lump sum payment'. It may be paid directly to the parent with care or the child(ren) - this varies by country.  It may be paid in cash, by cheque or bank order.     It may be paid directly by the liable parent or via an agency or other organisation acting as an intermediary

Child support regime

This is intended to refer to all arrangements under which non-resident parents provide financial support for their children. We include voluntary arrangements, arrangements through the legal system, and arrangements through governmental agencies. It includes both explicit and implicit governmental policies

Cohabitees or Cohabitants

We use this to refer to unmarried parents who live together

Guaranteed Maintenance

Same as ‘Advanced Maintenance’ (see above)

New child or children

Where parents move on after separation or divorce and produce another child/children with a new partner

New family

Where parents move on after separation or divorce and develop family relationships with a new partner. This may or may not also include new child/ children

New partner

Where parents move on after separation or divorce and develop an intimate relationship with a new adult

Non-resident parent (NRP)

Refers to the parent with whom the children do not live a majority of the time. In many countries this is commonly the father

Non-marital child or children

Refers to a child or children from a relationship in which the parents are not married

Prior child or children

Some parents have children from more than one relationship. We use ‘prior children’ to refer to children from a previous relationship

Parent with Care (PWC)

This is the parent who has the main day-to-day responsibility for the child(ren) and the child(ren) live with this parent the majority of the time. In many countries this is commonly the mother

Shared care

Defined as ‘situations where children spend roughly equal time living with each parent’. This is not necessarily related to a legal status of joint ‘custody’ or joint parental responsibility which may or may not coincide with actual living arrangements

Social assistance

By this we mean state programs that provide income to low-income individuals or families. These programs have an income test, and often also have asset limits. This is one type of social benefit

Social benefits

We intend this to be a very broad term. It includes all state programs that provide income to individuals and families. This includes social assistance programs and programs that do not have an income test


Where a parent has responsibility for a child living in their household who is not related to them biologically

Tax benefit

We use this term broadly to refer to special features of the tax system that allow individuals in certain circumstances to pay less taxes. We also include programs that provide income through the tax system