Terms to know in Family Law
Adoption – Refers to the act by which an adult formally becomes the guardian of a child and incurs the rights and responsibilities of a parent. At the conclusion of the formal process, a legal relationship between child and guardian will have formed.
Divorce – Also known as dissolution of marriage, is the termination of a marriage or marital union, the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law of the state.
Uncontested Divorces – Generally available to couples who have no remaining disagreements regarding the basic divorce issues: child-custody, property division and spousal support. Like a contested divorce, an uncontested divorce begins by one side filing for divorce. Uncontested divorces usually have streamlined paperwork, in which property and child custody information is filed, along with a statement of the grounds for divorce.
Guardian – One who has or is entitled or legally appointed to the care and management of the person or property.
Paternity – The quality or state of being a father.
Joint Legal Custody – The sharing, by both parents, of the right to make important decisions about a child’s welfare.
Joint Physical Custody – The sharing, by both parents, of the actual physical care and custody of a child.
Non-Custodial Parent – The parent who does not have physical custody of the child(ren).
Equitable Distribution – The distribution of marital assets by a court in a divorce action in accordance with statutory guidelines that are designed to produce a fair but not necessarily equal division of the property.
Conservatorship – A Conservatorship is a court proceeding in which a Judge appoints a family member, friend or other responsible person (conservator) to care for another adult (conservatee) who cannot care for themselves and/or their finances.