Glossary of Family Law terms
Financial proceedings relating to property, money and pensions within a divorce, civil partnership dissolution or judicial separation.
You will also receive an acknowledgement if you submit a defence to a claim.
A statement of truth either sworn on the Bible, Koran or other religious book, or Affirmed.
A lawyer, either a solicitor or barrister, who speaks on your behalf in Court.
The person who makes an application either in relation to Children matters, financial matters or injunction proceedings.
Sexual intercourse of a penetrative nature with another person of the opposite sex whilst married.
The final decree in divorce proceedings which leaves you free to remarry
The most common ground for divorce or civil partnership dissolution is to allege that your partner has behaved in a way which you find unreasonable.
A lawyer who has proven skills in advocacy, who may Represent you in Court if there is a dispute about money or children, or provide you with specialist advice in relation to legal aspects of your case.
A probation worker who may be appointed by the Court to help the Judge carry out enquiries if there are children proceedings.
Now referred to as residence, to reflect which parent a child “lives” with CSA the government body currently primarily responsible for the collection and payment of child maintenance.
An office, either within the Court building, or also used as a means of describing a barrister’s office.
A civil court which deals with most aspects of finances and children following separation/divorce. The court also deals with other civil claims such as those arising from road traffic accidents and recovery of debts.
Evidence, either written or oral, which supports what you say.
A legal process which ends your contract of marriage.
Deed of Separation
A contract, usually drawn up by a solicitor, which records an agreement reached in respect of financial matters following separation.
Usually either a senior solicitor, or barrister, who has been Evaluated by the Judicial Appointments Commission as not Only having sufficient technical expertise, but an ability to deliver fairness with a degree of professional integrity. Most issues relating to a divorce eg. money and children, are decided by a District Judge if there is a dispute.
A legal process which ends your contract of civil partnership.
A ground for divorce eg. your husband leaves to work overseas for over two years and never returns.
A lengthy pre-printed form which you may have to complete if there are financial proceedings.
Can be sorted out by agreement, or by Order of the Court upon application, but will not automatically be dealt with by the Court.
Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing is a type of hearing relating to finances, where parties are encouraged by the court to come to an agreement.
Finding of Fact
A hearing when the Court decides whether or not certain facts are proven on the balance of probabilities eg. whether or not domestic violence has occurred.
A layman’s term for an Injunction Order made pursuant to S37 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 to stop a party from disposing of money or assets pending a final decision being made by the Court about distribution of that money or assets
Guardian ad Litem
An experienced social worker appointed by the Court who usually has a legal representative, and provides a Court with a child’s views.
A term used to refer to a child being of sufficient age, understanding and maturity to give the Court their own views, and to act independently of any adult – typically a teenager over the age of 13/14.
An Order of the Court preventing someone from doing something eg. disposing of assets, being violent or threatening.
A legal process whereby you remain man and wife, but separated, the advantage of this being that you can apply to the Court for Orders about financial matters to be decided if you cannot agree
A type of funding which may be available if you are in receipt of benefits, or on a really low income. It is now called public funding. It can help with the cost of a divorce, children proceedings, or issues relating to money and property.
A monthly payment usually made by a husband to a wife, to help with the cost of looking after a home and personal needs and children.
The term used to describe the house that you lived in whilst married.
A court which deals with criminal cases, and some family cases relating to children.
Court proceedings to end your contract of marriage as a void, or voidable marriage eg. failure to consummate marriage.
Decree Nisi is a certificate which is issued by the Court half way through your divorce.
An Order of the Court granting you the right to occupy a property to the exclusion of your husband or wife.
To take the oath means to swear to the truth of what is written by you, or said by you, on either the bible or other religious book of your faith ie. “I swear by Almighty God that this is my name and handwriting and the contents of this statement are true”.
An Order of the Court preventing you from doing something in relation to a child eg. taking a child abroad.
A contract entered into in contemplation of marriage, usually to regulate division of money and assets in the event of later separation or divorce.
Pension Sharing Order
A type of financial order made by the Court which shares your pension fund.
The person who issues divorce proceedings.
Previously termed “custody”.
The person who responds to proceedings issued at Court.
Your husband or your wife
If you agree, and/or the Court Orders, that your child or children are to live with both of you following separation/divorce, usually in blocks of time eg. Monday to Thursday, Friday to Sunday, although not necessarily so.
If you physically separate from one another. Agreements in relation to finances are often recorded in a deed of separation.
A reference to s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which sets out a list of things that a District Judge must consider when making decisions about financial cases.
If you are not married, but have lived together, then you may have a claim against property that you have lived in, even if it is not in your name, if you have contributed financially to that property in some way. This is a TOLATA claim – a claim under the Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act.
A hearing in court where parties and witnesses give evidence, are cross examined, and the Judge or District Judge makes a decision.
A promise to the Court to do, or not to do something which is enforceable by way of fine or imprisonment.
If correspondence is marked “without prejudice”, then generally speaking, it means that it cannot be produced in Court. There are some exceptions to this.
An agreement in relation to financial matters reached during the course of negotiations, which cannot be reneged upon.