Legal Terms

[image_right src=”http://www.lisathomsonlive.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/legal_pic.jpg”]Plaintiff
the person who instigates or files for the divorce proceedings

Defendant
the person responding to the divorce proceedings

Joint Custody
an arrangement where both the mother and the father have equal authority for decisions on children’s education, religion, health care, activities, etc.
joint custody does not necessarily mean 50/50 split of time; it may be one-third with Dad and two-thirds with Mom, for example

Sole Custody
an arrangement where only one parent has full authority over the children regarding all decisions related to education, activities, health, etc., but the other parent may still see the children
this is rarely granted unless one parent is incapacitated, abusive or unwilling

Court Order
an order that has been made by the court (a judge) in response to a request by one or both of the parties

Consent Order
a legally binding order that has been agreed upon by the two parties outside of court it is signed by both lawyers and both parties
this could relate to maintenance, child custody or division of property

Affidavit
a legal document stating your story including all of the relevant facts
asks the court to provide relief in some way or asks for an order, which accompanies the court application and is filed with the application
gives the presiding judge the ability to read the facts before he hears them through lawyers
they are signed by you and sworn to be truthful in front of a witness

Disclosure
a necessary step that is taken in the process of divorce to gather all of the facts of the case
a trial cannot be held without disclosures being completed
disclosures are frequently updated by both parties and relate to information about personal income, budgets, property, assets and anything else related to the case

Discovery
also known as Examinations
the lawyers have an opportunity to question you on all of your disclosure
sets the tone for trial
is like a mini trial outside of the courtroom
everything is under oath, on the record and reported to the court

Mediation
a meeting held between the wife and husband and a mediator for the purpose of resolving divorce issues and coming to a settlement agreement
they are not legally binding until reviewed and signed by a lawyer and signed by both parties the mediator is not a lawyer

Four-Way Meeting
similar to mediation only they are meetings led by the divorcing parties and their respective lawyers
works well if you go in knowing exactly what you want and are fully prepared to negotiate
works well if your husband is reasonable

McKenzie’s Law
this law says that if you are representing yourself in a courtroom, you may have a friend sit with you to assist you with documents or anything you might need while presenting your case

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