Glossary of terms

Whilst browsing this site you may come across family law terminology that isn't familiar to you. This guide is designed to help you navigate some of those terms.

Please note that terms come into and go out of fashion, either because of changes in society's appreciation and understanding of those terms, or because legislation changes and uses different terminology.


Cafcass stands for Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. Cafcass represents children in family court cases in England


Child Maintenance Service, formerly the Child Support Agency (“CSA”), although the government maintain that this new organisation was setup separately to the old CSA, it operates from the same offices with broadly the same people, and a crossover of systems, policies, and reporting structures.


Child Support Agency. Now technically defunct having been replaced by the Child Maintenance Service (“CMS”).


Freedom of Information Request. The Freedom of Information Act give you rights to access official information. Under the Freedom of Information Act you have a right to request any recorded information held by a public authority, such as a government department, local council or state school. NOT to be confused with a Subject Access Request which is a request that relates to personal information about yourself.

NRP or Non-Resident Parent

Non-Resident Parent. The parent whom the children do not reside with but with whom the children may have contact with from time to time, either regular or irregular, face-to-face (supervised and unsupervised), or indirect contact (via email, cards, and letters)

PP or Paying Parent

Paying Parent  – a term used within Child Maintenance discussions to indicate the parent who is responsible for making the child maintenance payment to the RP or Receiving Parent.

RP or Receiving Parent

Receiving Parent – a term used within Child Maintenance discussions to indicate the parent in receipt of the child maintenance payment. Not to be confused with Resident Parent.

SAR – Subject Access Request

Subject Access Request. You have the right to ask an organisation whether or not they are using or storing your personal information. You can also ask them for copies of your personal information, verbally or in writing. This is called the right of access and is commonly known as making a subject access request or SAR.