If you are entering your first divorce and have no idea where to start, understanding the divorce language is a great way to begin. You may encounter some terms that you’re unfamiliar with. The idea of entering the process is emotionally daunting as it is. Nothing can be more trying than having to keep asking what every other term means, or having to Google every new divorce-related word. Here is a list to help understand what the court documents and your trusted family divorce attorney are talking about.
• Adultery: infidelity, cheating.
• Alimony or Spousal Support: This is the money the higher-earning spouse pays to the lower-earning spouse for financial support. It’s usually tax deductible for the paying spouse and taxable income for the receiving spouse.
• Annulment: a marriage can be ended in a legal proceeding as though it never took place. In the eyes of the law, the parties were never married. It is available only under certain limited circumstances.
• Attorney Fees: The money paid to your divorce attorney for their services.
• Child Support: Money that one parent pays to the other parent for the child’s expenses, such as food, shelter, and clothing. Additional funds can be given for unreimbursed medical expenses.
• Community Property: This refers to “marital property,” or the property owned by both spouses. Community property generally refers to the property acquired by both spouses during the course of the marriage.
• Divorce Mediation: The couple, along with a mediator tries to work out the terms of their divorce outside of court. With mediation, the couple maintains control and customizes their divorce settlement agreement.
• Earning Capacity: A spouse’s ability to earn money. Things taken into consideration include education, job experience, and training.
• Jurisdiction: This is the state where your divorce takes place. By living someplace for six months, that state has jurisdiction over your divorce.
• Plaintiff/ Petitioner and Defendant/Respondent: The spouse who files the divorce is the plaintiff or petitioner. The spouse who had the divorce filed against them is the defendant or respondent.
• Separate Property: Property that belongs solely to one spouse that is not subject to division. For example, gifts, inheritances, and property owned before the marriage are usually separate property.
These are only a few terms that will come up during the divorce process. Contact Thorsteinson Law Group to help you with understanding divorce language in your divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process.