Glossary of Legal Terms for Divorce Proceedings

Legal Terms for Divorce Proceedings - Carlson & Work

Divorce Glossary: A Guide to Understanding Legal Terms

This glossary provides an overview of terminology in divorce law, however, it is not a substitute for professional legal advice. It’s important to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law to obtain accurate and personalized guidance for your specific situation.

  • Alimony: Also known as spousal support or maintenance, it refers to the financial support paid by one spouse to the other after divorce, to help with their living expenses.
  • Annulment: A legal process that declares a marriage null and void, treating it as if it never existed. An annulment is different from a divorce, as it implies that the marriage was invalid or void from the beginning.
  • Child Custody: The legal determination of who will have physical and legal custody of the children involved in a divorce. Physical custody relates to where the child resides, while legal custody involves decision-making authority for the child’s upbringing.
  • Child Support: Financial payments made by one parent to the other for the financial care and support of their child(ren) after divorce or separation.
  • Community Property: In Nevada, a community property state, this refers to property and assets acquired during the marriage that are considered jointly owned by both spouses and are subject to division upon divorce.
  • Discovery: The process of gathering evidence and information from the opposing party during divorce proceedings. It may include depositions, interrogatories, document requests, and other methods of obtaining relevant information.
  • Dissolution of Marriage: The legal process of terminating a marriage. It involves obtaining a divorce decree that legally ends the marital relationship.
  • Equitable Distribution: A principle followed in many states, including Nevada, where marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally between the spouses upon divorce.
  • Grounds for Divorce: The legal reasons or justifications recognized by the court for granting a divorce. In Nevada, common grounds for divorce include incompatibility, living apart for at least one year, or insanity.
  • Guardian ad Litem: A person, typically an attorney or trained professional, appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a child during divorce or custody proceedings.
  • Marital Settlement Agreement: A written contract that outlines the terms and conditions agreed upon by divorcing spouses regarding property division, support, custody, and other relevant matters.
  • Mediation: A process in which a neutral third party, called a mediator, assists the divorcing couple in reaching agreements on various issues, such as child custody, property division, and support, without going to court.
  • No-Fault Divorce: In Nevada, a no-fault divorce means that a divorce can be granted without the need to prove that either party is at fault or responsible for the breakdown of the marriage.
  • Parenting Plan: A document that outlines the agreed-upon arrangements for child custody, visitation, and decision-making responsibilities, ensuring the best interests of the child are met.
  • Petitioner and Respondent: In a divorce case, the petitioner is the spouse who initiates the divorce by filing the necessary legal documents, while the respondent is the other spouse who responds to the petition.
  • Prenuptial Agreement: A legal contract entered into by a couple before marriage that specifies the division of assets, spousal support, and other issues in the event of divorce or separation.
  • Protective Order: Also known as a restraining order, it is a court order that provides protection from harm or harassment by one spouse towards the other during divorce proceedings or afterward.
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO): A court order that establishes how retirement benefits or pension plans will be divided between divorcing spouses.
  • Separation Agreement: A legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions agreed upon by the divorcing couple regarding support, property division, child custody, and other matters during the separation period.
  • Temporary Protective Orders: Court-issued orders that establish temporary arrangements for child custody, visitation, support, and other matters until a final divorce decree is issued.
  • Visitation: The right of a noncustodial parent to spend time with their child as determined by a court order or agreed upon by both parties.

Remember, legal terminology may vary depending on the jurisdiction, and it’s always advisable to consult with a family law attorney to obtain accurate and specific information regarding your divorce case in Nevada. 


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