Family Law Terms to Know

Alimony – also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, alimony is a court-ordered payment from one spouse to another designed to alleviate or mitigate the negative economic impact of divorce on a non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse.

Child Custody – a legal guardianship for a child. May be joint custody or sole custody, depending on the situation and the decision of the court.

Dissolution – the formal and legal end of a marriage; the object of divorce proceedings.

No-fault divorce – also called uncontested divorce, a very common form of divorce nowadays. No-fault divorce seeks to dissolve a marriage without assigning fault or responsibility to either spouse for the marriage’s end. Adversarial in nature, but attempts to avoid some of the legal wrangling associated with fault-based divorce.

Fault-based divorce – divorce proceedings where one spouse seeks to prove that the marriage is ending due to the actions of the other spouse. Adultery is one example of possible fault. This form of divorce is rarer nowadays, as people seek to avoid long, drawn-out battles.

Prenuptial agreement – sometimes shorted to “prenup.” Prenups are legal documents drawn up and signed before marriage, setting out virtually any and all conditions that the spouses agree to set for their marriage, including division of property, individual responsibilities, and more.

Mediation- an attempt to resolve marital problems through discussion and open dialogue rather than legal action, with the help of a third-party mediator. Although pursued by many as an alternative to court battles, mediation does not preclude either spouse from taking legal action in the future.

Domestic violence – assault, battery, or other abusive actions or behaviors taken by one spouse, relative, or co-habitant against another member or resident of the same household.

Separation – formal or informal parting of two spouses for an extended period of time. May be outlined with a legal agreement if desired, but not necessary.

For more information on family law issues which concern you, contact a San Diego family law attorney from Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, by calling 760.722.7646 today.

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