Divorce Dictionary

Unfamiliar with a term? Need to clarify a definition? This comprehensive dictionary of words commonly used during the divorce process can help.
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Bailiff The court attendant in charge of maintaining order in the courtroom.
Bankruptcy A legal proceeding in which a person who is financially insolvent requests the federal bankruptcy court to determine his or her debts and use his or her assets to pay those debts. Property in bankruptcy usually is administered for the benefit of the bankrupt person's creditors. Some forms of bankruptcy seek to discharge all debt if there are no assets to distribute to the creditors. Child support obligations cannot be discharged by bankruptcy.
Bench warrant An order issued by a court for the arrest of a person who has failed to appear in court as ordered. Can also be issued for a witness who has failed to appear in response to a subpoena.
Best interest of the child A discretionary legal standard that pertains to support, visitation and custody.
Bigamy A criminal offense committed when one spouse enters a marriage when the previous marriage has not been terminated.
Bill of particulars The formal title for information attached to a complaint or petition.
Blood test The process by which blood is drawn from a child and its parents and tested to determine biological parentage. It involves genetic HLA and DNA testing.
Bona fide Truthfully, honestly and without deceit.
Brief A document presented to the court outlining one side's position.
Burden of proof One spouse must prove to the court any claims made against the opposing spouse. The claims must be supported with sufficient evidence.