Whether you are getting divorced or looking to resolve a different matter, chances are you have heard a few family law terms you do not understand. Unless you are an attorney or a judge, you have no reason to learn these terms. That is until you end up in a family court and realize you have no idea what people are discussing.
Unfortunately, many people hesitate to ask questions about unfamiliar terminology they encounter. Instead, they move forward and hope someone will explain it better. A smarter approach is asking your lawyer what these terms mean and how they relate to your circumstances.
Why is it so important to understand legal terms?
If you fail to understand what a judge or attorney says in family court, you might walk away with an unsatisfactory child custody plan. In another example, if you do not fully understand what marital or separate property means, it may prevent you from acquiring a favorable property settlement.
Common terms to remember
For your convenience, the following list contains explanations for a few commonly used family law terms.
- Equitable distribution: Dividing shared property in a fair but not always equal split.
- Post-separation support: Ordering temporary alimony to one spouse before a divorce concludes.
- Absolute divorce: Ending a marriage without grounds and terminating any equitable distribution claims.
- Perjury: Knowingly telling the court a lie, which is a serious matter.
- Annulment: When a court deems a marriage null and void as if it never even occurred.
You do not have to learn all the family law terms North Carolina courts use, particularly if you have a communicative attorney. However, it is always wise to request an explanation for any words or phrases that you do not fully comprehend.