Divorce Terms – Starting with ‘A’
ABANDONMENT – The process of one spouse leaving the household without the others agreement. Said process can be used as grounds for divorce in many states.
ABSENT PARENT – Also known as the non- custodial parent. Describes a parent whom does not have custody of the child, is absent from the home, and is still held responsible for partial support of the child.
ACCRUE – To add onto or build upon.
ACTION – The formal legal term for a lawsuit
ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER – An official position in place of a judge who presides over the status of a child.
ADMISSIBLE – Evidence or testimony that is allowed by a judge to be considered in court.
ADULTERY – In many states considered grounds for divorce, occurs when one spouse engages in sexual intercourse with someone outside the marriage.
ADVERSARIAL DIVORCE –
When a stalemate occurs in a divorce where neither spouse can reach any agreement.
ADVERSARY – Legal term for the opposing party in a lawsuit. In a divorce the adversary will most likely be your spouse.
AFDC (AID TO FAMILIES WITH DEPENDENT CHILDREN) – Cash form of financial aid given to family with children in need. This is available for families whose head is not employed, and is not receiving child support from the absent parent.
AFFIDAVIT - All the facts which are made when one is under oath are comprised into a written statement are witnessed and signed by a notary or an official authorized to administer oaths.
AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE – Additional legal defenses or facts that are presented in response to the pleading of the opposing spouse. AGREEMENT – A resolution of spousal disputes that can be either verbal or written.
ALIMONY – Temporary or permanent financial support paid from one spouse to another. Can be paid in full or in installments.
ALIMONY PENDENTE – An order for spousal support that occurs before the trial.
ALLEGATION – The claims that are made and presented from one spouse to another in a lawsuit.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR) – Methods used in which marital couples can reach a divorce settlement while avoiding a trial, these methods include mediation and arbitration.
A lawsuit that attempts to achieve the conclusion that a marriage was never legal, therefore it never took place.
ANTENUPTIAL AGREEMENT – More commonly known as “pre-nup”, a legal contract signed by both parties in a marriage which allows limitations to opposing spouses rights to support, inheritance, and property if there is a divorce.
APPEAL - A request by the losing party of a divorce lawsuit requests review from a higher court than which that received the decision from.
APPEARANCE - A defendant’s submission to the court in response to a summons or complaint.
APPELLANT – The losing party who requests an appeal.
APPELLATE COURT – A higher court where an appeal is heard.
The initial step in divorce proceedings, forms
available at the court office.
APPORTION – The division of property and financial assets according to the ruling of the judge. This is not always considered fair by both parties, but is fair in the eyes of the judge with respect to the interests of the parties involved.
APPRAISAL – The procedure used by the court to determine the market values of assets for equitable distribution to both parties involved in the divorce.
ARBITRATION – A legally binding procedure that does not take place in a courtroom. Where a third party, not a judge, makes the decision on the case.
ARREARAGES -The difference between amount of money a spouse is supposed to pay in spousal support, and the amount of money they actually pay.
ASSETS - Anything that is of some form of value to a person including but not limited to, cash, money, and investments.
ATTACHMENT – The seizure of property from one in debt by the court.
AUTOMATIC WAGE DEDUCTION – Child support system ordered by the court that automatically deducts the amount of child support owed directly from their paycheck and distributed to the custodial parent.
AWARD – A ruling by the court in a form of compensation to the receiving person for something.