Divorce Glossary: Understanding What The Divorce Terms Really Mean

If this is the first time you are filing for divorce, there might be a lot of terms you don’t understand. Although some of these words may be familiar to you, their meaning changes when they are used in court during divorce proceedings. Knowing what each term means will help you understand the divorce process better; thus, you can make a sound plan on how to deal with the possible issues that may be raised in court against you.

So before you give up altogether, here are the terms used in divorce proceedings and their legal meanings:

  • Absolute divorce – it is the final ending of any marriage, whether in church or civil. Both parties are now legally allowed to marry again.
  • Ab Initio – this term means "from the beginning."
  • Affidavit -- a written statement that is made under oath; used as evidence in court.
  • Agreement – a verbal or written resolution concerning the issues presented in and out of court.
  • Answer – the response provided, whether written or oral to a petition, complaint or motion
  • Alimony – it is also more commonly referred to as spousal support. It is the payment given as a form of support for the wife or husband as part of the divorce court proceedings.
  • Annulment – the dissolution of marriage as if the marriage never really occurred.
  • Appeal – a legal action taken by the losing party to request the higher court to make a review of the decision made the lower court.

The list of the legal terms goes on and on. Whenever the best interest of the child is raised in court during the divorce proceedings, what do lawyers mean by the best interest of the child? Who decides what is right for the child then?

This term is based on the legal standards set by the courts of law. Neither parents decide what is best for their child. Instead, the court steps in to determine to whom child custody should be granted based on several points raised in court. The court also gives legal suggestions concerning the visitation rights of the parent who was not awarded custody alongside the child support demanded from both parents.

In all the legal terms discussed in court, you will need a good divorce lawyer to help you understand them more. After all, the meanings of such terms may differ on a case to case basis.