Please keep in mind that the definitions provided are very brief, general definitions, and a full explanation from an attorney experienced in family law is necessary to completely understand what each of these terms mean with respect to the facts of your particular case.
Alimony – spousal support paid by the supporting spouse to the dependent spouse either as a lump sum or for a specified period of time.
Arbitration – Similar to a mediation, in which the parties submit any issue(s) pending before a court to a third-party attorney who has the power to make a decision with regard to the issue(s). Arbitration is different from mediation, because the decision is binding on the parties.
Attorney’s Fees (Motion for) – Motion asking the court to require the opposing party to pay the attorney’s fees you have been charged for pursuing a particular action in court.
Child Custody – the schedule according to which each parent spends time with the minor children.
Child Support – support paid by one parent to the other for the support of any minor children, determine by application of the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines.
Compel (Motion to) – Motion asking the court to require the opposing party to complete a task you’ve requested them to complete pursuant to statute, court order, or local rule.
Contempt – willful disobedience of a court order.
Dependent Spouse – the spouse who is actually a substantially dependent upon the other spouse for maintenance and support.
Deposition – An oral questioning of a party or witness by a party or their attorney, in which the person being deposed is under oath, and a court recorder is present. Testimony at a deposition can be used in future court proceedings.
Divisible Property – the increase or decrease in value of certain items of marital property and debts, and the acquisition of property after the separation of the parties, but prior to distribution, based on the efforts of the spouse(s) prior to the date of separation.
Divorce – severance of the marital tied between spouses, requiring separation for one year prior to filing.
Divorce from Bed and Board – dissolution of the rights and responsibilities that accompany marriage, based on marital misconduct of one party, without a dissolution of the marriage of the parties.
Discovery – written requests for information or the production of document or things to the opposing party.
Equitable Distribution – the distribution of all marital property and debts between the parties, ancillary to the separation and divorce of the parties.
Financial Affidavit – a summary of each parties’ finances, which must be verified by the parties and filed with the court prior to a hearing for post separation support, alimony, or child support.
Interim Distribution – the distribution of a particular marital asset or debt prior to a full equitable distribution.
Legal Custody – decision making power between parents with regards to decisions of lasting importance for any minor child(ren).
Marital Misconduct – the misconduct of one or both spouses, contributing to the end of the marriage.
Marital Property – assets and debts acquired during the marriage by either party, with certain exceptions such as gifts and inheritance.
Mediation – negotiation of the issue(s) pending before the court between the parties, with the assistance of a third party mediator to help facilitate such negotiation; aimed at settlement of the claims. The parties must agree to any settlement in this setting. Without such agreement, there can be no settlement.
Opposing Counsel – the attorney(s) for the other party in a case.
Post Separation Support – spousal support paid from the supporting spouse to the dependent spouse prior to an alimony hearing, and lasting for a specified period of time.
Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) – the means by which a 401k is split between spouses pursuant to a court order ancillary to divorce, and allowing for such transfer without penalties being imposed on either party.
Separate Property – property brought into the marriage by either party, or acquired during the marriage through inheritance or gift directed specifically to one spouse.
Subpoena – an order to a party or witness to produce certain documents or things for inspection, or to appear at a deposition or at court.
Supporting Spouse – a spouse upon which the other spouse is actually and substantially dependent for maintenance and support.
Temporary Parenting Arrangement – a temporary child custody order, establishing a custody schedule pending the entry of a permanent custody order, and entered without prejudice to either party.
Verification – the signing of a document by a party or witness under oath, verifying the veracity of the information contained in the document.
Withdraw (Motion to) – Motion of an attorney for one party requesting the court allow them to withdraw from representation of the party they are currently representing.