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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Capias An arrest warrant ordering the sheriff or another police officer to take a person into custody because he or she refuses to show up to court.
Capitalization The conversation of income into value.
Caption The heading of a motion or other document illustrating the names of the plaintiff and the defendant, the name of the court, the court term and the identification number.
Certificate of mailing A written statement proving to the court that a copy of a certain document was mailed to the person for whom it was intended.
Certificate of service A written statement proving to the court and completed by a process server that a copy of a document was served to the person for whom it was intended.
Certified copy A copy of the document contained in the court file. It includes a stamped seal confirming that the copy is indeed a true and correct copy of the document contained in the court file.
Change of venue A change of judges when one side one side feels the present judge is prejudice.
Chart child support method The method used in some legal areas to establish a basis for determining child support. It takes into consideration the gross income of both parents, less special adjustments such as support for children of a previous marriage, and a set amount of money to be allotted monthly for the child. The court has the authority to digress from the said formula as it decides is necessary in each case.
Chattel Personal property.
Child custody Deals with the living arrangements and the legal decision - making concerning the child (see child custody section in your state).
Child support The money the non - custodial parent pays to the custodial parent to help pay for the needs of the child.
Child support guidelines A series of mathematical formulas that help derive the proper amount of child support that should be awarded.
Child support worksheet A court form devised to calculate the child support guidelines.
Citation An order from a court requiring a court appearance.
Civil court The court which presides over non - criminal cases.
Claim The charge by one spouse against another.
Clear title Transferring ownership of an asset without any encumbrances, obstructions or burdens that present any reasonable question of law or fact.
Clerk The person responsible for keeping court records and procedures in an orderly fashion.
Co-respondent The individual who is targeted as the partner in an adulterous relationship.
Cobra Federal Legislation which guarantees that all individuals who are covered by medical insurance have the right to continue coverage for a monthly fee if employment changes or marital status changes.
Cohabitation Two people living together. This can be grounds for terminating support in some states and provinces. Often time a period of cohabitation is written.
Cola The cost of living adjustment (a COLA offset).
Common - law marriage A marriage in which no formal ceremony took place and no license exists.
Common - law property distribution The method of dividing property in a divorce according to who holds the title to the property.
Community property All income or property that was acquired during the marriage, with exception to gifts or inheritances.
Comparables A shortened term for competitive property sales, rentals, or operating expenses used for comparison in the valuation process.
Complaint The initial pleading filed for divorce with specific grounds states.
Conciliation The attempt to establish an agreement between the divorcing spouses concerning the children and any other areas in which they do not agree.
Condonation When misconduct of a spouse is no longer grounds of divorce due to the act of forgiveness.
Conflict of interest When any professional is not capable of performing services due to previous relationships or present relationships and/or a situation where confidentiality can be broken.
Constable A person who is given the legal right to serve process.
Constructive abandonment The refusal of one spouse to engage in sexual relations with the other spouse. In some states and provinces this is considered grounds for divorce if lasting for a certain length of time.
Constructive service of process When the service of process is delivered through other methods such as a newspaper due to the unknown where abouts of the spouse.
Contempt of court Any deliberate failure to comply with the legal process, including the disruption of the court.
Contested divorce A divorce where at least one issue has not been settled before court. The court must decide the issue or issues.
Contingent fee An agreement which specifies that the attorney does not get paid unless the client wins the case. This type of arrangement is generally not allowed in divorce and custody cases.

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