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Glossary of Legal Terms for Divorce Proceedings
A Guide to Understanding Legal Terms
This glossary provides a comprehensive overview of key terms in divorce law, offering insight into the common language used in the legal field around marital dissolution. While this glossary serves as an informative resource, it is not a substitute for professional legal advice. For accurate and personalized guidance tailored to your unique situation, consult with an attorney specializing in family law.
Alimony (Spousal Support or Maintenance): Financial support provided by one spouse to the other post-divorce to assist with living expenses.
Annulment: A legal process declaring a marriage null and void, treating it as if it never existed.
Child Custody: The legal determination of physical and legal custody for children in a divorce, covering residence and decision-making authority.
Child Support: Financial payments from one parent to another for the care and support of their child(ren) following divorce or separation.
Community Property: In Nevada, property and assets acquired during marriage considered jointly owned and subject to division in divorce.
Discovery: The process of gathering evidence and information from the opposing party during divorce proceedings.
Dissolution of Marriage: The legal process terminating a marriage, resulting in a divorce decree.
Equitable Distribution: Division of marital property, not necessarily equally, but fairly, as per the principle followed in many states, including Nevada.
Grounds for Divorce: Legal reasons or justifications recognized by the court for granting a divorce.
Guardian ad Litem: A court-appointed individual, often an attorney or trained professional, representing a child’s best interests during divorce or custody proceedings.
Marital Settlement Agreement: A written contract outlining agreed-upon terms for property division, support, custody, and other matters in divorce.
Mediation: A process where a neutral mediator assists divorcing couples in reaching agreements on various issues without going to court.
No-Fault Divorce: In Nevada, a divorce granted without proving fault, attributing the breakdown of the marriage to incompatibility, living apart, or insanity.
Parenting Plan: A document outlining arrangements for child custody, visitation, and decision-making to ensure the child’s best interests are met.
Petitioner and Respondent: In a divorce case, the petitioner initiates the divorce, while the respondent responds to the petition.
Prenuptial Agreement: A legal contract entered into by a couple before marriage, specifying asset division, spousal support, and other matters in case of divorce.
Protective Order (Restraining Order): A court order protecting one spouse from harm or harassment by the other during or after divorce proceedings.
Qualified Domestic Relations Order: A court order determining the division of retirement benefits or pension plans between divorcing spouses.
Separation Agreement: A legally binding document outlining support, property division, child custody, and other terms during the separation period.
Temporary Protective Orders (TPO): Court-issued orders establishing temporary arrangements for child custody, visitation, support, and other matters until the final divorce decree is issued.
Visitation: The noncustodial parent’s right to spend time with their child, as determined by court order or mutual agreement.