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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Sales comparison approach A set of procedures in which an appraiser derives a value indication by comparing the property being appraised to similar properties that have been sold recently, applying appropriate units of comparison, and making adjustments, based on the elements of comparison, to the sale prices of the comparables.
Sanctions Court-ordered punishment.
Separate maintenance An action filed for support between two spouses not living together even though the spouse's are not actively seeking a divorce.
Separate property Property considered to be owned by one spouse prior to marriage, which in most states in not up for distribution upon divorce.
Separation When spouses no long co - habitate or live together.
Separation agreement An agreement on support, child care and property covering the period before divorce but after separation.
Service of process The act of presenting the complaint or summons to the defendant or respondent.
Set aside To cancel, annul, or revoke a prior judgment of a court.
Setoff A debt or financial obligation of one spouse that the court weighs against a debt or financial obligation of the other spouse.
Settlement agreement The written version of the settlement.
Severability The understanding that one clause in a contract is independent of the others.
Sole custody A form of custody in which one parent is awarded both physical and legal custody.
Split custody A form of custody in which the actual time of physical custody is split between both parents, which gives both parents the right to make decisions.
Spousal support Money paid from one spouse to the other in one lump sum or in installments for a period of time. There are many factors considered. (see spousal support section in your state).
Spouse Husband or wife.
Stipulation An agreement between the parties or their counsel.
Subpoena A document that is delivered to a person who is not directly involved in the action filed, but is in need for testimony.
Summons A written notification to the defendant or respondent that an action has been filed against him or her.
Support Payment for housing, food, clothing etc.
Surrebutal Evidence the defendant can present to counter rebuttal evidence.