Using legal terms is often unavoidable when working on a case. To make the processes involved more understandable for our clients, we have compiled a ‘cutting the jargon’ glossary. If there is anything you are still unsure of, please just ask.
A Section 28 (1A) Bar
This refers to Maintenance limited for a certain period, during which time the recipient will be prevented from applying for an extension of that order.
Acknowledgement of Service
A form that confirms the receipt of the Divorce Petition, which must be submitted to the court.
This refers to the response to a Divorce Petition when the divorce is to be defended by the recipient
This refers to the person making the initial application to the court for an Order.
When a pension trustee decides to take the benefits from the pension, the Court can order a lump sum or income payments to be awarded to the former spouse, known as an Attachment.
Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.
An order made in care proceedings placing a child in the care of a Local Authority and giving it parental responsibility which it will share with the child’s parents.
Child of the Family
A child who has been established as a member of the family, including adopted children and stepchildren.
Child of the Marriage
The biological child of both parties.
Child Support Agency
A Government organisation that ensure payment of child support.
An officer of CAFCASS[see above] appointed by the court to represent children in care proceedings.
The court order which completely ends any financial obligations towards the former spouse.
A family law process enabling couples who have decided to separate or end their marriage to work with their lawyers and, on occasion, other family professionals in order to avoid the uncertain outcome of Court and to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children without the underlying threat of contested litigation.
A meeting between the parents of a child, the Judge and the CAFCASS representative to discuss solutions for the child. All parties must reach an agreement or the Judge will determine the FUTURE arrangements
An order of the court that sets out an agreement between the parties.
An order from the Courts which specifies the amount of contact the children shall have with the parent with whom they do not live.
This refers to the person outside the marriage who has committed adultery with the Respondent. It is not necessary to name this person in the Divorce Petition.
The legal expenses of a case.
The middle tier of the court that deals with family law cases.Hearings take place in front of a District or Circuit Judge.
The final Divorce Decree, confirming the complete dissolution of the marriage, leaving both parties free to re-marry.
The first Divorce Decree where one person (the Petitioner) confirms that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
An order from the Court that confirms the actions that must be taken before the next stage in the hearing.
A Judicial Official who will normally hear cases involving ancillary relief in the County Court.
Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment (FDR)
The second Court hearing in an application for a financial order where the Judge considers the financial offers made to date and suggests the likely outcome of the case as a result of those offers. If an agreement is not established after the Judge’s views, then a final hearing will be arranged.
The name given to financial orders made within divorce proceedings as part of the financial settlement.
The first court hearing before the FDR, in which the judge determines what financial documents must be produced by both parties and the time scale in which they have to do so.
The form which highlights the financial situation of both parties.
A Court Order which prevents a party from moving or disposing of their assets (including assets abroad) until further notice.
The highest tier of the court that deals with family law cases.Hearings take place in front of a very experienced Judge.
An Order from the Courts which highlights an action that is required or forbidden from one or both parties.
An Order put in place before a final Order is established.
Interim payments that must be paid to a former spouse during the court proceedings, until the final Order is determined.
The process of stamping the initial document and paying the fee, when a formal application for an Order is presented at court, signifying the start of proceedings.
The definition of joint ownership of land or property where both parties maintain an equal share. A joint tenancy agreement ensures in the event of death of one tenant, the entire property passes to the survivor, overriding any wills that are in place.
This provides help with payment of legal costs by the Government in a limited number of family cases usually where a Local Authority is involved in proceedings concerning children. It is usually means tested except where the Local Authority brings care proceedings when it is free for parents or others with parental responsibility for the child.
Lump Sum Order
An Order in which the Court issues a payment of a lump sum to the other party, within a timeframe. Interest will accrue in the case of late payments to figures exceeding £5000.
The lowest tier of the court that deals with family law cases.Hearings take place in front of lay justices who are assisted by a legally qualified advisor.
Regular payments that must be paid to a former spouse.
An application for a divorce, the decree of nullity or decree of judicial separation.
A process in which an independent third party will assist the couple in negotiating an agreement relating to the children or finances.
The parent who does not have residency rights over the child but may spend significant time with them.
The rights of the parents to be responsible for all decision making relating to the child. As the law stands, fathers do not automatically have parental responsibility but can apply for it through the courts, or acquire it by being named on the child’s birth certificate
A provision for a pension to be divided between two spouses.
Another name for maintenance payments.
A form to apply for a matrimonial order
The person initially applying for the divorce.
An agreement put in place and signed by both parties, in the unforeseen event of a marriage breakdown, highlighting the financial consequences should divorce occur.
Prohibited Steps Order
A Court Order put in place to prevent any named person from taking a specific action, such as removing a child from the country without getting the court’s permission.
The law that deals with private family disputes where the local authority is not involved.
The law that deals with family disputes concerning children where the local authority is involved.
A Court Order transferring one party’s financial share of a property to the other.
An Order specifying the person with whom a child should live.
The parent with whom the child lives with.
The person who receives the Petition.
Section 25 Factors
The issues which the Judge takes into consideration when making an Order for maintenance or capital provision.
An agreement detailing specific terms on which the parties agree to separate. The court is not bound by such agreements but will take them into consideration when making a final Order.
Specific Issue Order
A Court Order resulting from an issue that has arisen regarding any aspect of parental responsibility, for example, changing the child’s school.
A wife or husband
Statement of Arrangements
A form detailing possible arrangements for the children after the divorce is finalised.
This is an order made by the court in public law children proceedings. It does not give the Local Authority parental responsibility but provides that Social Services should advise, assist and befriend a child. The order lasts for 12 months but can be extended on application to the court for a maximum period of 3 years.
Tenancy in Common
The term for when the parties have separate shares in a property. Unlike joint tenancy, in the event of the death one tenant, their share will not be passed on to the survivor but instead will form part of their estate; it is imperative to have an up-to-date will.
Maintenance payments which are limited for a fixed period.
Without Notice Application
A Court application that enables only one party the opportunity to present their case to the court.
Certain correspondence, for example an offer, that may not be mentioned in evidence