Divorce Legal Glossary

Definitions Of Legal Terms Commonly Used In Divorce

When you first enter into the divorce process, legal terms may make the process feel confusing or disorienting. At the law offices of Hugh O. Allen Attorney at Law, we work to educate our clients and make sure that they understand what is happening in their cases at every step.

That's why we have included this glossary — to help you get your bearings. We represent clients in Sacramento, California, and the surrounding area and have handled family law issues like child custody and child support for over 30 years. Call 916-229-6847 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with an experienced attorney.

  • Collaborative law: A divorce resolution method in which the parties agree beforehand not to litigate and rather work cooperatively to draft an acceptable settlement. Learn more about collaborative law.
  • Community property: Any property that is part of the "marital estate" — that is, property that both spouses own together equally. In California, any property acquired after the marriage is considered community property.
  • Discovery: The first step attorneys take in resolving any legal dispute, discovery involves investigating and acquiring and reviewing documents to learn about the case.
  • Enforcement: When one partner fails to adhere to the divorce decree or child custody/support arrangement, the other can initiate an enforcement proceeding to force payment.
  • Guardian ad litem: A court-appointed representative to advocate for a child's best interest in a family law trial, especially in child custody issues
  • Mediation: A method to resolve divorce in which the parties attempt to work through a legal mediator to create a divorce settlement that they both find agreeable
  • Modifications: If you need to change your child custody, child support or spousal support order, you can file for a modification with the court.
  • Paternity: The legal relationship between fathers and children. Paternity creates visitation rights and the obligation to pay child support.
  • Pendente lite: A term meaning "while the litigation is pending," meant to refer to any litigation that is still ongoing

We provide experienced, knowledgeable and caring service to help all of our clients in divorce. To schedule an appointment with a lawyer, call 916-229-6847 or contact us online.

This does not constitute a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.