There are many terms that are thrown around when dealing with a family law case. Some of the terms may be recognizable, while others may be confusing. Below are some commonly used words and definitions to help our clients gain a better understanding of family law:
Alternative Dispute Resolution: Different methods of resolving legal disputes without going to trial. Examples are mediation and arbitration.
Annulment: This is a declaration by the court that the marriage is invalid.
Burden of Proof: producing enough evidence in support of a fact or issue and persuading the trier of fact in your favor.
Trier of Fact: The trier of fact is the one who will decide the outcome of the case, generally the judge or the jury.
Equitable Distribution: the process of distributing marital property in accordance with statutory guidelines. This does not always result in an equal split of the property, but rather, a fair split of the property.
Petitioner: The individual who has filed the claim.
Respondent: The individual whom the claim is filed against.
Garnishment: this is a remedy used by a creditor, or someone who is owed the money, to have property of the owing party or money of the owing party that is in the possession of a third party. For example, the paychecks of the owing party may be garnished by the one who is owed the money.
Qualified Domestic Relations Order: An order issued by the court dividing retirement benefits.