Do You Know the Meaning of the Legal Terms Used in a California Divorce?

It is important to understand the legal meaning of Divorce terms as these terms are used by the courts and, as such, have unique meanings.  Once you understand the meaning of these terms, you can then speak with intelligence and have more knowledge of your case.

Here is a list of some important California Divorce terms:

  • Dissolution:  Another word for divorce, which is the legal termination of a marriage relationship
  • Decree:  The court’s wirtten order or decision finalizing the divorce, often issued in conjunction with the court’s judgment
  • Petitioner:  Often, the person who initiates divorce or marriage dissolution proceedings, also called the plaintiff.
  • Plaintiff:  The person who initiates legal proceedings, often called the petitioner in family law matters
  • Default:  Failing to answer a petition or complaint for divorce.  Failing to file an answer or appear in court can result in the court awarding to the spouse who filed for divorce, everything requested in his or her divorce papers
  • Respondent:  The person who answers a petition in a legal proceeding, sometimes also referred to as the defendant.
  • Alimony:  Financial payments made to help support a spouse or former spouse during separation or following divorce.  Also called spousal support or spousal maintenance
  • Child Support:  Money that a non-custodial parent pays to the custodial parent on behalf of their child(ren), for their support
  • Custody:  Having rights to your child.  Legal custody means that one or both parents have the right to make important decisions about the child’s welfare such as education, healthcare and religious decisions.  Legal custody is usually shared equally by both parents.  Physical custody means that the child lives with and is primarily raised by one parent; the other parent may have visitation.
  • Discovery:  The information-exchanging process of a legal proceeding, including serving and answering interrogatories and requests for production of documents, and depositions.  Some divorces require discovery.
  • Deposition:  Part of the discovery or information-exchanging process of a legal proceeding in which the attorney for the other party asks you questions, you answer with your attorney present, and a transcript of the proceedings is prepared.  Some divorces require depositions.
  • Interrogatories:  Written questions served by the opposing party that must be answered in writing as part of the discovery process.  Some divorces involve interrogatories.
  • Stipulation:  An agreement entered into by the divorcing spouses in which the respondent responds. The stipulation settles the issues between them and is often entered into the court’s final order or judgment and decree. A Marital Settlement Agreement could also be used to settle issues if the repondent does not respond but is still in agreement.

Understanding these divorce terms can help in discussions with your divorce or family law attorney.  For more information regarding Divorce as well as your legal rights and options, please call the Legal Action Workshop law firm @ 888-LGL-ACTN (888-545-2286) or visit www.LegalActionWorkshopLAW.com .

 


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