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Divorce
Terminology


Divorce Headquarters


  Affidavit
Alimony
Annulment
Arrearages
Child Support
Child Support Guidelines
Common Law Marriage
Community Property
Complaint
Contested Divorce
Court Order
Custodial Parent
Custody
Defendant
Deposition
Emancipation
Equitable Distribution
Grounds
Interrogatory
Joint Custody
Maintenance
Marital Assets
Mediation
Motion
Non-Custodial Parent
Nuptial
Order
Pendente Lite Support
Physical Custody
Plaintiff
Pro Se
QDRO
Quid Pro Quo
Restraining Order
Retainer
Sole Custody
Spousal Support
Subpoena
Visitation


AffidavitA sworn statement in writing.
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AlimonyPayment of support (not child support) from one spouse to another so that the spouse receiving the payment can maintain the lifestyle that he/she was accustomed to during the marriage. Also called spousal support or maintenance.
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AnnulmentThe legal ending of an 'Invalid Marriage'. To the law neither party was ever married, but all the children born of the annulled marriage remain legitimate.
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ArrearagesThe difference between the amount of alimony or child support paid, if any, and the amount required under court order.
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Child SupportThe amount of money that the non-custodial parent pays to the custodial parent to help pay for the every day needs of the child(ren) such as housing, food and clothing.
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Child Support GuidelinesThe amount of child support to be paid, under normal circumstances, according to a schedule established by the state, based upon income. It is federally mandated that all states establish guidelines for child support.
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Common Law MarriageA judicially-recognized marriage in some states, usually based on cohabitation.
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Community PropertyA 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.
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ComplaintThe formal document filed with the Court which states that the plaintiff wants a divorce and why.
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Contested DivorceThe party sued opposes the because either : she/he denies the asserted grounds or he/she does not agree with the suing party as to the terms of the divorce i.e. property, child custody, child support, alimony, assumption of marital debts etc.
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Court OrderA written instruction from the court carrying the weight of law. Orders must be in writing. Anyone who knowingly violates a court order can be held in contempt of court.
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Custodial ParentThe parent with whom the child(ren) live the majority of the time with.
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CustodyThe legal right and responsibility awarded by the court for the care of a child. See Joint Custody and Sole Custody
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DefendantThe person (either husband or wife) who is being sued for divorce.
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DepositionWhere a party or witness is asked questions orally before a court reporter.
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EmancipationAn act by which a parent relenquishes their to custody and are releived of their duty to support the child. The child is then no longer bound to the stipulations set forth in the divorce decree. 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.
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Equitable DistributionThe division of the property (marital assets) acquired during the marriage. Marital debts can also be part of the equitable distribution.
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GroundsThe reason(s) under state statute for granting a divorce.
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InterrogatoryWritten questions asked by one party of an opposing party, who must answer them in writing under oath.
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Joint CustodyThe children live with the residential custodian and visit with the non-residential parent. Both parents have an equal say in major decisions affecting the children can only be made with notice and consent. See Sole Custody
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MaintenanceSee Alimony
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Marital AssetsAll property 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, stocks, bonds, motor vehicles, pensions, profit sharing plans and insurance.
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MediationProcess by which you work with a neutral third party to prepare your divorce agreement. This process is voluntary and non-binding.
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MotionA request for some type of action or decision to be made by the court.
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Non-Custodial ParentThe parent with whom the child(ren) do not live the majority of the time with.
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NuptialPertaining to marriage.
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OrderSee Court Order
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Pendente Lite SupportA temporary order of the Court which provides support until the divorce is finalized.
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Physical CustodyThe home/parent in which the child(ren) will primarily reside in/with. See Custodial Parent
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PlaintiffThe person (husband or wife) who files the divorce complaint and sues the person for divorce.
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Pro SeTo represent yourself in court proceedings without an attorney.
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QDROQualified Domestic Relations Order. A ruling by the court stating what portion of one spouse's pension is to be awarded to the other spouse.
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Quid Pro QuoThe giving of one valuable thing for another.
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Restraining OrderA court order prohibiting a party from certain activities. Issued in response to a motion. 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.
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RetainerA fee paid in advance for services to be rendered.
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Sole CustodyThe custodial parent has the power to make all decisions, including day-to-day decisions as well as major decisions, concerning the child(ren)'s health, education and welfare without notice to and consent from the non-custodial parent. See Joint Custody
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Spousal SupportSee Alimony
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SubpoenaA 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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VisitationThe right of the non custodial parent to see the children.
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