Glossary

Explaining the legal jargon.

Accredited mediator

A professional who has attained qualifications and has experience of conducting mediations, has been supervised by an experienced mediator and has submitted a portfolio for assessment by an external body.

Adultery

Sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex whilst you are married.

Advocacy

Oral representation (speaking on someone's behalf) of a person in Court.

Ancillary Relief

A term used to refer to financial negotiations/application to the Court which are ‘ancillary’ to the divorce.

Application

 A form submitted to the Court to start legal proceedings.

Barrister

A member of the legal profession who conducts advocacy in Court.

Capital

The amount of money you have in savings, investments, shares and property.

Cash Equivalent Transfer Value

The valuation of benefits invested in a pension fund.

Child maintenance agreement

A written agreement entered into by a husband and wife about the amount of money to be paid by one parent to another to support a child financially on a monthly basis.

Child maintenance

An amount of income paid on a monthly basis by one parent to another parent who has the care of children.

Clean Break Order

A clause in a financial Order which effects a clean break between a husband and wife, preventing both of them from making applications of a financial nature arising from their marriage.

Cohabitees

A term used by members of the legal profession to refer to a man and woman who are living together.

Common law man and wife

A term sometimes used by members of the public to refer to a man and woman who are living together.

Consent Order

An Order made with the agreement of all parties involved in a case.

Contact Order

An Order made by the Court specifying the periods of time which a parent spends with a child/children.

County Court

The Court which resolves disputes of a civil nature relating to property, divorce, children issues, domestic violence issues, debt issues and civil claims for compensation such as road traffic accidents.

Decree Absolute

A certificate issued by the Court dissolving the marriage contract.

Decree Nisi

A certificate issued by the Court confirming that the Judge is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence that the marriage contract can be dissolved.

Dispute Resolution

A generic term used to describe different ways of resolving disputes outside of Court e.g. family mediation.

Divorce Petition

Application form sent to the Court to start divorce proceedings.

Equity

The value of your home if it was to be sold after you have repaid any mortgage, estate agents fees and legal costs of sale.

Financial Disclosure

The process of a husband and wife disclosing to each other, through solicitors or a mediator, details about their respective income, capital and pensions, often with supporting documentation such as bank statements, P60s, pension fund documentation etc.

Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing

A negotiation hearing listed by the Court after the First Appointment has taken place to help a couple reach agreements about financial matters.

First Appointment

A Court hearing that is listed when you make an application to the Court for financial matters to be resolved because you cannot reach an agreement.

Fixed Fee

A fixed amount of fees to be charged for a specific piece of work.

Form A

An application to the Court for a Court hearing about financial matters ancillary to divorce.

Form E

A pre-printed form which is completed by a husband and wife giving financial details about their income, capital and pensions,  when they wish to resolve financial issues arising from separation through solicitor negotiation or an application to the Court.

Form H

A form filed at Court about finances, prior to each hearing by both the husband and the wife specifying to the Court the amount of money spent on legal fees.

Former matrimonial home

The house in which you lived when you were married.

Injunction

An Order preventing someone from doing something e.g. disposing of assets, causing harm to another person.

Irretrievable breakdown

The ground for divorce.

Magistrates Court

A Court which deals principally with criminal cases, but can also make Orders relating to children, domestic violence and money issues relating to children.

Mediation

Another way of resolving disagreements about children and money arising from separation involving a series of joint meetings with a mediator out of Court.

Mediator

A professional who has attained qualifications in mediation to assist couples in resolving disagreements about children and money out of Court.

Parental Responsibility

A bundle of rights that a parent has in relation to a child, by virtue of marriage, or upon registration at birth on a birth certificate, or acquires with the consent of all parties with parental responsibility, which gives that adult a right to determine certain aspects of a child’s upbringing such as education, religion and health matters.

Parenting agreement

A written agreement entered into by a husband and wife when separating about arrangements for children.

Pension Sharing Order

A type of Order made by the Court within divorce proceedings directing the trustees of a pension scheme to divide a pension fund.

Petitioner

 The person starting the divorce proceedings.

Post-nuptial deed

A written contract entered into by a husband and wife after marriage specifying how financial matters are to be dealt with in the event of separation/divorce.

Pre-nuptial deed

A written contract entered into by a husband and wife prior to marriage specifying how financial matters are to be dealt with in the event of separation/divorce.

Prohibited Steps Order

An Order preventing an adult from taking action in relation to a child, such as the removal of a child from a school, or overseas, or preventing an adult from coming into contact with the child.

Questionnaire

A list of questions which one party raises about information given on a Form E completed by the other party, seeking clarification or further information.

Residence Order

An Order made by the Court specifying which parent, or other person, a child/children is to live with.

Resolution

An organisation of over 6,000 professionals involved in family law who adhere to a code of practice to conduct family cases in a way which is non-confrontational, avoids acrimony, preserves dignity, is child-focused and keeps legal costs to a minimum.

Respondent

The person responding to the divorce proceedings.

Round table meeting

A meeting between solicitors and a husband and wife to resolve issues relating to children and money, out of Court.

Separation Agreement

A written contract entered into by a husband and wife, or cohabitees, when separating detailing agreements reached relating to money, but sometimes also including arrangements made relating to children.

Single joint expert

An expert instructed jointly by a husband and wife's solicitor to resolve a specific issue e.g. valuation of a business.

Specific Issue Order

An Order made in respect of a child to determine a specific aspect of a child's upbringing in the event of a dispute between parents, e.g. which school the child is to attend.

Spousal maintenance

An amount of income paid on a monthly basis by a husband to a wife, or a wife to a husband.

Spouse

The person you are married to.

Statement of Information

A form submitted to the Court, completed by both the husband and wife, giving the Court details of their respective income, capital and pensions at the time they ask the Court to make an Order relating to financial matters by consent when an agreement has been reached.

Statute

A law passed by Parliament and given Royal Assent by the Queen.

Surrender value

The value given to an investment policy which can be cashed in, or surrendered, before maturity.

Trial

A Court hearing when oral evidence is given by parties and the Judge makes a Court Order determining the dispute.

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