Return to List Alimony The payment of support (not child support) from one spouse to another so that the spouse receiving the payment can maintain the lifestyle that they were accustomed to during the marriage. Also referred to spousal support or maintenance.
Return to List Annulment A judgment by a court that retroactively invalidates a marriage. An annulment means that the individuals were never united in marriage as husband and wife, however the children born during the annulled marriage are considered legitimate.
Return to List Child Support Guidelines Child support guidelines which vary by state, are guiding principles used to calculate the amount of support the non-custodial parent pays the custodial parent. Typically use of the guidelines is mandatory unless the court decides that their use would be unjust to either party.
Return to List Community Property A rule of property division which divides equally all property acquired during the term of the marriage, without regard to whose name it is held. Inheritances and gifts are excluded in some jurisdictions.
Return to List Contested Divorce The party sued opposes divorce the because either he or she denies the asserted grounds or they does not agree to the terms of the divorce i.e. property, child custody, child support, alimony, assumption of marital debts etc.
Return to List Court Order A court order is a legal document issued by a court ordering someone to perform a specific act or prohibits them from performing an act Anyone who knowingly violates a court order can be held in contempt of court.
Return to List Emancipation Emancipation as it relates to divorce is a legal method by which a parent is freed from any and all responsibility toward the child. It generally refers to financial responsibility. Emancipation can occur when the child marries, is inducted into military service, by court order based upon the child's best interest or by when the child reaches an appropriate age (which varies by state).
Return to List Joint Custody When the children live with the one parent (residential custodian) and visit with the other (non-residential) parent. Both parents have an equal say in major decisions affecting the children.
Return to List Marital Assets Property that is acquired during the course of the marriage regardless of who owns or has title to it. It includes but is not limited to the following: house(s), other real estate, cash, jewelry, home furnishings, stocks, bonds, motor vehicles, pensions, profit sharing plans and insurance.
Return to List Mediation Divorce mediation is an alternative to litigation. A neutral third party facilitates the creation of a divorce agreement tailored to and agreed upon by the divorcing couple. A divorce mediator is not required to be an attorney
Return to List Motion A motion is a written request asking the court to grant a temporary ruling. Either party to the divorce can file a motion. During the motion hearing the judge will listen to arguments from both sides for or against the motion. The most frequent use of motions during divorce are for matters relating to child support, alimony and custody.
Return to List Non-Custodial Parent The non-custodial parent is the parent who does not have physical custody of their, i.e. their children do not live with them the majority of the time. That being said it is possible for a non-custodial parent to have legal custody of their children.
Return to List Restraining Order A court order prohibiting a party from certain activities including harassment or liquidating assets. Restraining orders often are issued to protect marital assets and to protect against domestic violence. In many states, violating a "domestic restraining order" is a criminal offense.
Return to List Sole Custody Sole custody is both legal and physical custody by one parent. It is not common practice any more to give one parent sole custody unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Return to List Spousal Support The payment of support (not child support) from one spouse to another so that the spouse receiving the payment can maintain the lifestyle that they were accustomed to during the marriage. Also referred to alimony or maintenance.
Return to List Subpoena A court order to attend a legal proceeding such as a trial or deposition. If documents are also requested, the subpoena is called a subpoena duces tecum, Latin for "bring with you." Sometimes a subpoena duces tecum states that you must produce certain documents by a specific date without having to appear.
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