Glossary

Abandonment

Sometimes referred to as desertion, this term, loosely applied, refers to when one married spouse leaves the marital home or their willful failure without just cause to provide for the care, protection or support of a spouse who is in ill health or otherwise unable to provide for themselves.   It is no longer grounds for divorce in Australia.

Abduction

The wrongful taking away of a person. Commonly refers to a child being taken by a parent (or other) in breach of a Court Order.

Abuse

An attempt to control the behaviour of another person. It is a misuse of power which uses the bonds of intimacy, trust and dependency to make the victim vulnerable. Abuse can take many forms in a domestic environment; physical, sexual, verbal, financial, isolation, emotional/psychological.

Address For Service

The address provided by a party where documents can be served on them by hand, post or some other form of electronic communication.

Adjourn

Defer or postpone a court event to another timeslot.

Adultery

This term refers to sexual intercourse by a married person outside of their marriage. It is no longer considered grounds for divorce and seldom adversely affects the offender's standing in divorce negotiations.

Adversarial

An approach to dealing with disputes which is characterised by parties engaging in a competitive presention of their case, taking only their best interests into consideration. It may involve high levels of conflict. (See Adversarial System & Non-Adversarial).

Adversarial System

In an adversarial system, the court process involves opposing parties arguing their case in opposition to each other and presenting their case to a third party (usually a judge or magistrate). The third party's role is to determine the outcome of the case based on the evidence presented.

Affidavit

A written statement by a party or witness which is used in court in place of oral evidence. It is the main way of presenting the facts of a case to the court. An affidavit must be signed before an authorised person (such as a lawyer or Justice of the Peace) by way of swearing on the Bible or attesting to the truth of the contents of the statement.

Affirmation

A person makes an affirmation if they do not wish to swear an oath. It is a declaration by a person that evidence which they give in court, or is contained in an affidavit they make is true.

AFP

Australian Federal Police: The Police Force established by the Commonwealth Government to deal with crimes under Commonwealth Law.

Aggrieved Persons

A person named in a Domestic Violence Protection Order who is, in addition to the aggrieved spouse, protected by the order. Usually relatives, friends etc.. of the aggrieved spouse.

Aggrieved Spouse

A person who is entitled to apply for a Domestic Violence Protection Order against their spouse.

Agreement

An agreement is where two or more people consent to an arrangement which requires them each to take certain actions or abide by certain conditions. See also Legally Binding Agreement.

Agreement Enforceable at Law

An agreement which meets the criteria to be legally binding. See also Legally Binding Agreement

Airport Watch List

A list maintained by the Australian Federal Police of children at risk of being removed from Australia in breach of a court order.

Alien

A person who is not a citizen of Australia.

Alimony

Called spousal maintenance in Australia (also called aliment (Scotland), maintenance (England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Canada), and spousal support (U.S., Canada)), it is a legal obligation on a person to provide financial support to his or her spouse before or after marital separation or divorce.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

All methods of resolving legal disputes which do not involve a court making a decision. Common methods of ADR are Mediation, Conciliation and Collaborative Practice.

Annuity

A yearly payment of a certain sum of money.

Annulment

A legal action that says the law does not recognise a marriage as valid because of unsound mind, incest, bigamy, being too young to consent, fraud, force, or physical incapacity. (This is different to religious procedures for annulment. Any inquiry about church granted annulments should be made through the relevant church.)

Appeal

Procedure which allows a party to challenge the decision made by a court. In Appeal, a court decision is then reviewed by a higher court. There must be valid grounds of appeal or the higher court will not take the case.

Applicant

The person who applies to a court for orders.

Application For Divorce

The forms issued by the court which must be completed to request the court to make an order for divorce

Application for Enforcement

Enforcement is applied for when Orders have been breached and they ask the Court to make an Order that the person applying for the enforcement is compensated, in parenting matters for example, by way of 'make-up time' with the child.

Apprehend

To take somebody into police custody.

Approved Deposit Funds

Funds which can accept deposits of superannuation benefits which must, by law, be preserved until retirement.

Approved Family Counsellor

A counsellor who is an accredited 'family counsellor' as defined by section 10C of theFamily Law Act. They are a person authorised to act on behalf of an organisation designated by the Minister (such as Relationships Australia); or authorised as a Court employee, to act as a family counsellor.

Approved Organisation (Family Law Matters)

Centres approved by law to provide Dispute Resolution Services for parties in dispute over parenting issues. (See Family Relationship Centres)

Arbitration

A dispute resolution procedure where an expert person makes a decision to resolve the dispute. In family law, this can only be used for property disputes.

Arrearage

The amount of money that is overdue for child or spousal support.

Arrears

Money overdue under an order, agreement or assessment.

Arrest

The procedure where a person is taken into police custody to be charged with a criminal offence or to be brought before a court, and must remain in police custody until they receive bail or until a court deals with their charges.

ASIC

Australian Securities and Investments Commission: ASIC enforces company and financial services laws to protect consumers, investors and creditors; regulates and informs the public about Australian companies.

Assault

The application of force, or threatened application of force, to a person without their consent.

Assessment Order

An order by a Court Magistrate or the Children's Court authorising action necessary as part of the investigation process to assess whether a child is in need of protection from harm.

ATO

Australian Taxation Office: The Government Department which administers the law in relation to taxation.

Attorney

A person who is legally qualified and licensed to represent a person in alegal matter, such as a transaction or lawsuit. Often used in place of the word lawyer or solicitor.

Attorney General

The government minister responsible for the administration of justice.

Auction

A process by which property is offered for sale to the highest bidder

Auctioneers And Agents

People licensed to act as the person who conducts an auction under the Auctioneers and Agents Act administered by the office of Fair Trading.

Australian Business Number (ABN)

A unique numerical identifier for business's dealings with the Australian Taxation office. It replaces the Australian Company Number or Australian Registered Body number.

Australian Citizen

A person who is a citizen of Australia, either by birth or because they have been granted citizenship.

Australian Residents

Persons entitled to reside in Australia, either because they are citizens or because they hold an appropriate visa.

Authorised Civil Celebrant

A person, other than a minister of religion, authorised to perform marriages.

Authorised Person

A person authorised to perform official/legal duties on behalf of another person. In terms of a Domestic Violence Protection Order it is a person authorised to make an application on behalf of an aggrieved spouse.

Award

A document, approved by the necessary authority, which sets out the rate of pay and terms and conditions of employment.

BAC

Blood Alcohol Concentration. The percentage of alcohol present in a person's blood.

Bail

The release of a person from custody based on a written commitment or promise by another person that the person in custody will appear in court on the next occasion when their case comes before the court if they are released from custody.

Bailiff

A court officer who assists in court proceedings, serves court documents and carries out court orders eg: warrants to sell property.

Bailment

The delivery of goods from one person to another for a particular purpose (eg: storage, repair, cleaning) upon condition that the goods will be returned.

Balance of Convenience

An objective test applied by the courts to each party's circumstances to establish who is more inconvenienced with having to travel to court.

Balance of Probabilities

The standard of proof in civil cases, ie for something to be proven to be true it must be more probable than not. This is a lesser standard than the standard of proof in criminal matters which is "beyond reasonable doubt".

Bank Cheque

A cheque issued directly by a bank, which is often accepted as cash, unlike a personal cheque which must be cleared before funds can be accessed.

Bankrupt

A person judged by a court to be insolvent, whose property is taken and disposed of for the benefit of their creditors. A court may order that their financial affairs be managed by a trustee to call in all assets and pay debts from available funds. Also referred to as insolvent if it refers to a trading entity.

Barrister

A lawyer who specialises in court appearances and providing written opinions. Barristers do not usually act for clients directly and are engaged by a lawyer to present a case in court. In some courts they are required to wear wigs and gowns.

Bench Charge Sheet

A sheet of paper which sets out brief details of a charge against a person.

Bench Warrant

A warrant issued by a court calling for the immediate arrest of a person so that they can be brought before the court. Usually issued when a person fails to appear in court.

Beneficiary

A person who is left something in a Will or a person for whose benefit funds or property is held by a trustee, such as in the case of a superannuation fund.

Benefit

A payment by the Department of Social Security to assist a person who falls within a defined category of person needing short term financial help (eg: sickness benefit)

Bequeath

To leave property to somebody in a Will.

Best Interest of The Child

This is the basis on which each case which comes before it about children, the Family Court must make decisions to be reflected in orders.   The best interests of the child considers what will be best for the nurturing and future development and well-being of the child and not necessarily the wishes of the parents. All circumstances affecting the child are taken into account.

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

The standard of proof in criminal matters, ie it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt that a person has committed an offence before they can be convicted. This is higher than the civil standard of proof which is the "Balance of Probabilities".

Bigamy

Being married to more than one person at once. A criminal offence.

Bill of Sale

A document which allows one person to possess and use goods while another person (eg: a finance company) retains ownership of the goods until such time as the goods are fully paid for.

Birth Certificate

A document issued by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages which is a legal record of the details of a person's birth (eg: date, place, parents).

Birth Parent

The biological parent of a child.

Bona Fide

"In good faith". A bona fide offer is considered to be genuine without intend to decieve.

Bond

A bond is an undertaking by a person to abide by certain conditions (eg: not to commit criminal offences, undergo educational courses, pay rent and not damage property). May involve the payment of money which is forfeited if the bond is breached.

Bond Loan

An interest free loan available from the Department of Public Housing to low income people to pay a bond for a private rental.

Breach

The breaking of a condition of a legally binding agreement eg: breach of contract, breach of parole.

Breach of Bail

Breaking a condition of bail, eg: failing to appear in court, not reporting to police, contacting a victim of crime.

Breach of Discipline

An action by a member of the police service which is not in accordance with the rules of the service.

Breach of Domestic Violence Order

An action which contravenes a domestic violence order, eg: contacting the aggrieved spouse. Breaching an order is a criminal offence.

Breach of The Peace

Behaviour which causes a public disturbance or is likely to lead to violence.

Break And Enter

The unauthorised entry to premises involving the deliberate shifting or removal of obstacles to enter the premises eg: opening a door, forcing a lock, breaking a window.

Burden of Proof

The obligation to prove that allegations made in court are true by calling evidence to support the allegations. In criminal cases, the prosecutor has the burden of proof and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Call Over

An appointment at court where a member of the court goes through the case waiting to come before the court to ensure that the case is ready to be heard and then indicate a date on which it might be dealt with.

Capacity (legal dealings)

The degree to which a person is capable of understanding the nature and effect of decisions about the matter and can voluntarily make decisions about the matter and communicate decisions in an understandable way.

Carer

Someone who has the day to day care of a child or person who is unable to care for themselves. This person may be a parent, an adoptive parent, a grandparent, an aunt or friend. Previously this person may have been called the custodian. The CSA legislation refers to this person as 'eligible carer' or 'payee'.

Case

When a person makes an application to a court for orders, that becomes the case or matter before the court.

Case Management

The process whereby a court manages the cases which are awaiting hearing, by setting time frames within which, certain steps must be taken eg: filing of affidavits

Casual Employment

Employment which is not on a permanent or structured basis. Casual employment is ad-hoc and does not have leave entitlements (eg: holiday leave, sick leave etc.)

Caveat

A notice by a person claiming an interest in land, lodged with the Department of Natural Resources which prevents any dealing with that land.

Caveat Emptor

Let the buyer beware.   This dictates that there are certain mistakes or performance expectations that are your problem to deal with in a purchase transaction and the onus is on the buyer to make themselves aware and deal with the consequences.

Certificate (Parenting Orders)

From 1 July 2007, people who wish to make an application to the Family Law Court for parenting orders, must file a certificate from an approved organisation with their application. The certificate is issued by a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner to show the couple have attended a mediated session to try to resolve the issue.

Certificate of Exemption (Children)

A certificate which exempts a child from attending at school.

Change of Assessment Team

The office which reviews decisions made by the Child Support Agency in assessing the amount payable by a parent. It has the power to change the amount.

Change of Name

The procedure whereby a person formalises the use of a name other than their birth or married name.

Charge

A formal procedure where a person is accused of committing a criminal offence.

Child

For most purposes a person under the age of 18 years, however at criminal law a person is dealt with as an adult once they reach 17 years.

Child Abuse

An assault, directly or indirectly, where there is unequal power in the relationship between the child and the first person, causing the child to suffer serious physical or psychological harm, including (but not limited to) when that harm is caused by the child being subjected to, or exposed to, family violence, sexual activity, torment and ridicule or serious neglect of the child.

Child Agreements

An agreement about the arrangements for children made before June 1996. See also Parenting Plans and Consent Orders. From 1 July 2006 parties can reach an agreement by entering into parenting plans or consent orders.

Child Maintenance

This is financial support payable by a parent for a child who does not usually live with that person. The more current terminology is Child Support.

Child of the Marriage

Children of the husband and the wife, includes adoptive children, children born before the marriage, children born as a result of artificial conception procedures. For divorce only, it extends to include any child who is treated as a child of the family.

Child Protection Order

An order made by the Children's Court when it is believed that a child is in need of protection.

Child Support

Money that one parent pays to the other parent to assist in providing for the needs of the children. Sometimes referred to as Child Maintenance.

Child Support Agency (CSA)

Is part of the Australian Taxation office. The CSA is responsible for: administering the Child Support Scheme, the collection of child support and child maintenance, the enforcement of payments and working out how much child support is payable.

Child Support Formula

This formula is set out in the Child Support Assessment Act 1989 and is used to work out the amount of child support payable. There are different formulae which may apply depending on the circumstances of the particular case.

Child Support Income Amount

The amount which forms the basis for an assessment of child support based on gross income of the parents and the number of dependents.

Child Support Scheme

Refers to the legislation which covers child maintenance and child support cases. It was introduced in two stages. It is administered by the Child Support Agency and other agencies play a fundamental role in the operation of the Child Support Scheme - eg. Centrelink and the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department.

Child's Views

The opinion of a child in relation to their living environment.  The Court must consider the views of the child if known, however the weight given to them by the court will depend on a number of factors including the age of the child. The views of an older child will be given more weight.

Children's Commissioner

A government official who handles complaints about the Department of Families, Youth & Community Care in relation to children in care and protection and hears appeals from decisions of the Department.

Children's Court

The Court which deals with juvenile crime and Child Protection Orders.

Children's Court Judge

A judge appointed to deal with Children's Court matters.

Children's Court Magistrate

A magistrate appointed to deal with Children's Court matters.

Church Annulment

Annulment of marriage by a church. Not the same as an annulment granted by the Family Court.

Civil Action

Any court action concerning a civil matter, ie: not a criminal matter.

Classified Patients

A person admitted to an authorised mental health service from court or custody is a classified patient.

Clean Break

A clean break means both parties financial obligations towards each other are ended.  In terms of property settlements, most will have the elements of property split, superannuation split and the consideration of spousal maintenance.  In a clean break settlement, all three elements are combined into an order to cease any ongoing financial obligations between the parties.

Clear Days

A period of time granted for a party to react ie 3 clear days. Clear days do not include the date on which the document was issued or the day of the meeting. 

Clear Title

The title to property is clear if a person is able to pass the property to another person free of the claims of any third person eg: a car has clear title if it is not registered in the Register of Encumbered Vehicles (REVS).

Client Care Letter

A letter which lawyers must send to new clients which sets out important information about the handling of the case by the lawyer, including information about costs and complaint procedures.

Closed Court

A court which is not open to anyone other than those people immediately involved in the matter being heard in court.

Codicil

An amendment to a Will.

COLA

Cost of Living Adjustment.

Commencing Proceedings

Filing the court papers necessary to start a matter in a court.

Commissioner for Declarations

A person recognised by the law as having the ability to witness signatures on documents.

Commit To Trial

A matter heard in local court and sent to a higher court for trial.

Community Legal Centre

A community based group which provides legal advice and may offer legal representation.

Community Property

Community property is everything that a husband and wife or domestic partners OWN TOGETHER. In most cases that includes: (1) Money or benefits like stock options and superannuation that you now have which either of you earned during the time you were living together as husband and wife or as registered domestic partners; and (2) Anything either of you bought with money earned during that period.

Company

A voluntary association formed and organised to carry on a business. Types of companies include limited liability, corporation, and public limited company.

Company

A company is an organisation recognised at law as having the same legal status as a person. It may own property and is capable of suing and being sued.

Compensation

An amount of money paid to a person who has suffered injury or loss by the person who the law regards as being responsible for that injury or loss. The amount payable depends on the facts of the case.

Complainant

A person who begins a legal prosecution eg: a person seeking a Peace & Good Behaviour Order, or a person making a complaint about criminal behaviour towards them, eg: a victim of assault.

Compulsory Contributions

Money required to be paid by an employer for superannuation of employees.

Conciliation Conference

A conference held before a court officer between the people involved in a court action and their legal representatives to try and resolve matters in dispute in the family court.

Consent Order

An order which the court makes when all persons affected by the agreement have consented to the undertakings and agree that it should be made into an order of the court.  The Consent Order makes the consented agreement legally binding.

Consent Order

An order which the court makes when all persons affected by the agreement have consented and agree that it should be made and a court order.

Consideration

The price paid by a person for something under a contract. It may be money or it may be a promise eg: a promise not to pursue court action.

Contact (parenting matters)

From 1 July 2006, the term 'contact' is replaced with the term 'who the child spends time or communicates with'. It refers to a person whom they do not usually live with.

Contempt of Court

Failure to obey a court order or behaviour which shows disregard for the authority of the court eg: offensive behaviour in court. A person may be jailed for contempt of court.

Contested

Any issue on which the petitioner and respondent cannot agree, which must then be decided by the court.

Contract

An agreement which the law recognises as legally binding.

Contract of Guarantee

A contract where one person makes a legally binding promise to take on the legal responsibilities of another person, if that person defaults in their obligations.

Contravention

When a court finds a party has not complied with (followed) a court order, that party is in contravention of (or has breached) the order.

Contravention

Contravention is when the Court can punish the person who does not have a 'reasonable excuse' for breaching an Order. In parenting matters, the court will only consider that you have a 'reasonable excuse' if, for example, the person had to breach the parenting Order to protect the child or possibly that they did not understand they were breaching the parenting Order at the time.

Contravention Order

An order of the Family Court that states a party has contravened a legally enforceable order regarding major long term issues (ie.) parental responsibilities.

Contributions to Property

Any financial or non-financial contribution, whether direct or indirect, which is made towards the acquisition of property.

Corroboration

Independent evidence, which supports the main evidence

Costs

Costs are sometimes awarded to the person who succeeds in a court action (party/party costs). It refers to paying the legal and associated court costs for the other person. It is mainly only applied where the person who succeeds has had to pursue legal action after the other would not accept a reasonable offer. It is not often applied in Family Law.

Counsel

A lawyer who appears in court on behalf of clients. In the higher courts counsel are usually barristers, but in the lower courts eg: Magistrates Court, lawyers often appear as counsel.

Counselling

The process whereby one or both parties in a relationship meet in the presence of a counsellor to discuss problems and explore solutions.

Counsellor

A person who is qualified to do counselling. To provide counselling recognised by the Family Law Act, a counsellor must be approved (see Approved Family Counsellor)

Couple

The couple can refer to two people who are married or as defined under de facto property settlement law as two persons who live together on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship based on intimacy, trust and personal commitment to each other. People who are co-tenants of a property are not necessarily a couple.

Court Hearing

The date and time when a case is scheduled to come before the court.

Court Order

The actions the parties or a party must do to carry out a decision made by a court. An order may be either interim or final.

Court Order

A ruling made by a court which must be followed by the people concerned.

Court Proceedings

The process whereby a claim is determined in court.

Court Seal

A stamp put on documents by the court to indicate that the court has accepted the document for filing.

Credit Card

A card issued by a finance provider where there is an agreed credit limit, and the consumer can use the card to purchase items and must make regular minimum repayments which may include paying interest on the credit facility.

Credit Contracts

Any contract where credit is provided.

Credit Limit

The maximum amount which can be advanced in a credit arrangement eg: credit card or overdraft.

Creditor

A person, institution or business to whom money is owed by another.

Cross Examination

Questioning a person in court about evidence they have given to the court.

Crown

A name sometimes given to government because the Queen is the formal head of government.

CSA (Child Support Agency)

Is part of the Australian Taxation office. The CSA is responsible for: administering the Child Support Scheme, the collection of child support and child maintenance, the enforcement of payments and working out how much child support is payable.

Curfew

A requirement that a person must be at home after a certain time.

Custodial Parent

The parent who has physical custody of the child.  This terminology is no longer used.  Parenting orders now refer to who the child lives with instead of the custodial parent.

Custody

In family law, it was the old term where a person has the custody of a child, they have the right and the responsibility of a child's day to day care. This term was replaced by "residence" in June 1996 and from 1 July 2006 it is replaced with the term who the child 'lives with'. In Child Protection matters, the right to and the responsibility of a child's day to day care.

Custody Order

An order made by a court placing a child in the care of a person. This term was replaced in June 1996, by "residence order" and from 1 July 2006 it was replaced with the term who the child 'lives with'.

De Facto Partners

People living in a de facto relationship. see de facto relationship

De Facto Property

Property owned by people living in a de facto relationship

De Facto Relationship

A de facto spouse is either 1 of 2 persons, whether of the same or the opposite sex, who are living, or have lived together, as a couple. Two persons are a couple if they live together on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship based on intimacy, trust and personal commitment to each other; and 2 persons are not defacto only because they are co-tenants.

Debt

An amount of money owing.

Debtor

A person who owes money

Declaration of Interest

A declaration by a court that a person has an entitlement to property or to a share in property.

Decree Absolute

'Decree Absolute' is replaced with the term 'Divorce order that has come into effect' (see 'divorce order that has come into effect') A 'divorce order that has comes into effect' is issued by the court one (1) month after the 'divorce order' (see 'divorce order') is made.

Decree Nisi

'Decree Nisi' is replaced with the term 'Divorce Order' A 'divorce order' (see divorce order) is made by the court for divorce and does not become final until usually one (1) month after the order was made when the court will then then issue a 'divorce order that has come into effect' (see 'divorce order that has come into effect'),  A divorce order which has come into effect is often called a Divorce Certificate or Decree Absolute.

Decree of Nullity

An order made by the court that a marriage is void. see annulment 

Deed

A legal document that is signed and delivered, which is legally binding especially, one regarding the ownership of property or legal rights.

Deed of Revocation

A written document which revokes the appointment of a power of attorney.

Deed Poll

A written document registered with the Supreme Court used to formally record a change of name.

Defamation

Speaking or publication of words or other matter which is likely to injure a person's reputation

Defamatory

The adjective used to describe material which defames a person ie injuring their reputation.

Default

Failure to respond in the prescribed manner within a given period of time or to meet other legal obligations.

Default Judgment

Judgment given because the defendant does not defend a court action.

Defence

A legal reason why a claim made against a person should not succeed.

Department of Child Safety

The government department responsible for administering law in relation to child protection and state welfare.

Dependant

A person who may be recognised as having a legal entitlement to be maintained by another person. A person may be recognised as a dependant for some purposes eg: taxation, but not others eg: testators' family maintenance

Deponent

A person who makes (deposes to) an affidavit.

Deputy Registrar

An officer of the Family Court with limited power to deal with family law disputes eg: hold conciliation conferences

Detinue

An action where a person claims the specific return of goods or the value of goods wrongfully detained. Also used to collect money damages for losses caused by the wrongful detention.

Directions Hearing

A procedure in the Family Court to set a time table for an action and make any other necessary orders eg: for documents to be produced

Disbursement

A payment made. Often used in a lawyer's account to describe payments made by the lawyer on the client's behalf, such as postage or the cost of retrieving documentation.

Discharge

To be released from an obligation

Discovery

A procedure by which each person involved in court proceedings gets to view documents held by the other people involved before the matter goes to trial. Pre-trial information-exchanging disclosure including financial figures, by one or both parties.

Discrimination

Treating a person differently because of a personal attribute. Discrimination is unlawful if it occurs because of defined attributes (eg: race, sex, age etc.) and in some circumstances (eg: employment, education etc.)

Dishonoured Cheque

A cheque which is not paid by a bank when it is presented for payment, usually because there is not enough money in the person's account to pay the cheque.

Dispensing with Service

An order by a court that it is not necessary to notify a person about court proceedings in the usual way.

Dispute Resolution

A procedure designed to resolve disputes between people. Usually refers to procedures which are an alternative to going to court.

Dispute Resolution Centre

Centres established by government to provide mediation of a range of disputes between members of the public.

Dissolution

Another word for divorce, which is the legal termination of a marriage. Usually more common in USA.

Dissolution of Marriage

An order that a marriage is at an end. Divorce

Division of Matrimonial Property

The division of property belonging to a husband and wife after a breakdown of the marriage.

Divorce

The legal termination of a marriage relationship.

Divorce Order

A 'divorce order' is made by the court granting the application for divorce and does not become final until usually one (1) month after the order was made when the court will then then issue a 'divorce order that has come into effect'

Divorce Order That Has Come Into Effect (Replaces The Terminology 'Decree Nisi')

Divorce order that has come into effect' replaces the terminology 'decree absolute' and indicates that divorce has been granted and the marriage is legally dissolved. A 'divorce order that has comes into effect' is issued by the court one (1) month after the 'divorce order' is made.

DNA Testing

Medical testing which can establish paternity of a child and involves testing of both alleged parents and of the child.

Docket

The court's calendar schedule.

Domestic Violence

The term used to describe violence which occurs within a family including physical, verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual, financial or social abuse

Domestic Violence Application

An application made to the court by or on behalf of an aggrieved spouse for an order to prevent domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Protection Order

An order made by the court which imposes conditions on a person designed to prevent domestic violence eg: that a person not contact their spouse.

Domicile

The place where a person normally lives and regards as home.

Donor

A person who gives something (eg: a power of attorney) to someone else.

Duty of Care

An obligation to take reasonable care to avoid causing foreseeable harm to another person or their property.

Easement

A right to enter onto land owned by another person.

Economic Loss

Loss suffered of a direct financial nature, eg: loss of past and future income if unable to work as a result of an injury

Ejectment

Action to remove a person from land or recover possession of land from someone who is unlawfully in possession.

Eligible Carer

A CSA term referring to someone who has the day to day care of a child or person unable to care for themselves. This person may be a parent, an adoptive parent, a grandparent, an aunt or friend. Previously this person may have been called the custodian. The CSA legislation also refers to this person as the "payee".

Emergency Examination Order

Authorises a person to be taken to an authorised mental health service and be detained for assessment.

Emergency Housing

Housing which can be provided by the Government to people who need accommodation urgently eg: victims of domestic violence.

Emotional Abuse

A gradual wearing down of the victim's self-esteem by ridiculing their character, friends, race, religion or values. It may take the form of a person threatening to take the children, end their own life or harm themselves or others if you don't do as they want among other things. Emotional/psychological abuse often goes undetected for many years as it is not as obvious as other forms of abuse.

Emotional Harm

Harm which is recognised as resulting from an event and for which a person may be compensated even though it is not a physical injury.

Encumbrance

A legal impediment which prevents dealing with a property freely eg: a mortgage over property.

Endorsement of Warrant

The process of recognising a warrant in a place other than the state or territory where it was issued which enables the warrant to be enforced in that place.

Enduring Power of Attorney

A power of attorney which enables the attorney to act even though the person who appointed the attorney may cease to have legal capacity.

Enforceable Money Order

An order of the court for payment of an amount of money.

Enforcement

Action taken after a court order has been made to ensure that the order is in fact followed eg: selling property to pay a judgment debt.

Enforcement Hearing

A hearing to obtain information to facilitate the enforcement of a money order.

Enforcement Hearing Warrant

A warrant which authorises the arrest of a person to bring them before a court to be examined.

Enforcement Order

An order made by a court to make a party or person comply with (follow) an order.

Equal Shared Parental Responsibility

It means that parents share responsibility for making decisions about major long term issues that affect their children. In family law matters, it is presumed to be in the best interest of the child for parents to have equal shared parental responsibility (exceptions family violence and child abuse). This does not mean 'shared care'.

Equal Time

In family law matters, if parents have equal shared parental responsibility, then the court must consider the possibility of the child spending equal time with each parent (exceptions family violence and child abuse).

Equity

a) A system of legal rules developed to modify common law. ,b) A general term for fairness ,c) To describe the fact that a person has a financial share in property even though they may not be the legal owner of the property.

Estate

The property belonging to a person. Usually used to describe the property left by a person on their death or the property which a person held at the time of bankruptcy.

Evict

The legal procedure to have a person removed from property when they have no legal entitlement to be there eg: a tenant who does not pay rent

Ex Parte

In the absence of a party to the case. In some limited cases an application may be made to the court without informing anyone else involved in the proceedings of the application and this is said to be an ex parte application.

Ex Parte Hearing

A hearing where one party is not present and has not been given notice of the application before the court; usually reserved for urgent cases.

Executor

The person appointed to administer the estate of a deceased person under their Will.

Executrix

The old term used for a female person appointed to administer the estate of a deceased person under their Will.

Fair Comment

A defence to an action for defamation that something was an honest opinion and not purporting to be a statement of fact.

Family Consultant

A psychologist and/or social worker who specialises in child and family issues that may occur after separation and divorce. The family court can appoint a family consultant in parenting proceedings. The family consultant is a person with professional training, approved by law, who assists and advises people about parenting their children and best interest of the child factors.

Family Counsellor

A family counsellor is a person with professional training and approved by law, who helps people with relationship issues and separated parents with parenting issues.

Family Court

A court established by the Commonwealth government to determine disputes in family law matters.

Family Court Scale

The scale of fees which lawyers may charge for acting for clients in family law matters in the absence of any written agreement between the lawyer and the client to the contrary.

Family Dispute Resolution

A process whereby a family dispute resolution practitioner assists people to resolve some or all of their disputes with each other following separation and/or divorce.

Family Dispute Resolution

Family dispute resolution is a method of dispute resolution used in family law matters to help people reach agreement about parenting arrangements. A family dispute resolution practitioner (i.e. Mediator) assists people to reach agreement by conducting the process of discussion and negotiation to assist in resolving the dispute. (See Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner).

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner

A family dispute resolution practitioner is a person with professional training and approved by law who provides dispute resolution services to parties involved in disputes about parenting arrangements and other family law issues.

Family Law Act

The Act of the Commonwealth Parliament which deals with Family Law and establishes the Family Court of Australia. The Family Law Act 1975, (FLA), is an Act of the Australian Parliament. It has 15 parts and is the main Australian legislation dealing with divorce, parenting arrangements between separated parents (whether married or not), property separation, and financial maintenance involving children or divorced or separated de facto partners.

Family Law Courts

Comprise the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia.

Family Law Registry

A public area at a Family Law Court where people can obtain information about the court and its processes and where parties file documents in relation to their case.

Family Relationship Centres

Centres approved by law who provide counselling and dispute resolution services for parties in dispute over relationship issues and parenting arrangements.

Family Report

A written assessment of a family by a family consultant. A report is prepared to assist a court to make a decision in a case about children.

Family Violence

Violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person's family (the family member), or causes the family member to be fearful. A child is exposed to family violence if the child sees or hears family violence or is otherwise exposed to family violence. See the Family Law Act, section 4AB, which gives examples. Family violence may also amount to child abuse.

Family Violence Order

An order (including an interim order) made under a prescribed law of a State or Territory to protect a person from family violence.

Fee Waiver

Where the Family Court can allow the filing of an application for divorce without the payment of a fee. A person must show that they are financially eligible by completing a fee waiver form.

Fee Waiver Application Form

A form to be completed by a person who requires the Family Court to forgo the payment of a filing fee on an application for divorce

Filing

The process whereby documents are accepted by a family law registry for placing on the court file. This is often evidenced by the court stamping its seal on the filed document

Final Hearing

Where the matter is determined for the last time and orders are made as to what is to take place

Final Order

An order made by a court to bring a case to a close.

Finance Company

An institution which provides finance in advance or a credit facility.

Financial Abuse

Where a person does not provide sufficient financial assistance to enable their de facto/ wife/ other parent of the child to have access to the bare necessities of life. It also occurs when one party runs up large debts in your name or sells your possessions without your permission. It may also mean one person stops the victim from earning an income of their own.

Financial Affairs

Matters relating to finances including the receipt of income and or benefit, the payment of rent and the investment of monies

Financial Agreement

A written agreement, made, before, during or after marriage, which deals with financial resources and maintenance of parties. Financial agreements may be enforceable through the courts if they each party has taken independent legal advice before signing the argeement.  In this case, the agreement is said to be a legally binding financial agreement.

Financial Contributions

Any contribution whether direct or indirect which is made towards the acquisition of property or payment of expenses

Financial Counselling

A procedure where a person having financial problems is counselled by a qualified person to assist them to resolve their financial problems

Financial Hardship

Where a debtor cannot afford repayments on a credit contract, they may seek a variation of the repayment arrangement on the grounds of hardship, where "illness, unemployment, or other reasonable cause" is the reason for that hardship.

Financial Matters

Includes looking after the donor's property, payment of bills, accommodation and other expenses, investment and legal issues.

First Court Date

The court date which appears on the summons or bench charge sheet. On this date a person can, depending on the nature of the charge, plead guilty, have the matter adjourned, or ask for a hearing/committal date. Also known as first mention date

First Mention Date

The court date which appears on the summons or bench charge sheet. On this date a person can, depending on the nature of the charge, plead guilty, have the matter adjourned, or ask for a hearing/committal date. Also known as first court date

FOI

An abbreviation of Freedom of Information. Where members of the public are allowed access to documents held by government agencies at the federal, state and local levels.

Foreclosure

The forced sale of real property by a creditor due to money owing under a mortgage or a debt.

Forensic Accountant

A forensic accountant, sometimes called an Investigative Accountant, scrutinises the books of an entity for possibly fraudulent activity or to trace the audit trail of funds and assets.

Foreseeable Harm

Harm that could be foreseen by the average person

Form

A particular document that must be completed and filed at court. Different forms are used for different family law matters.

Freezing Bank Accounts

Where a financial institution may at the request of one of the signatories to the account, place a hold over the account so that money cannot be taken out, or further credit cannot be obtained.

Full and Frank Disclosure

This refers to declaring all known truths in relation to both parenting and financial matters in family law.  Under Rule 13.04 of the Family Law Rules, both parties to a property settlement are obliged to provide “full and frank disclosure” both to their lawyer and to the other party in relation to their financial circumstances. Rule 13.04 states: A party to a financial case must make full and frank disclosure of the parties’ financial circumstances, including: a. The parties’ earnings, including income that is paid or assigned to another party, person or legal entity; b. Any vested or contingent interest in property; c. Any vested or contingent interest in property owned by a legal entity that is fully or partially owned or controlled by a party; d. Any income earned by a legal entity fully or partially owned or controlled by a party, including income that is paid or assigned to any other party, person or legal entity; e. The party’s other financial resources; f. Any trust; g. Any disposal of property; h. Liabilities and contingent liabilities.

Full Court of The Family Court

A division of the Family Court where appeals are heard.

Full Hand Up Committal

A committal where there is no cross examination and all evidence is given to the magistrate in the form of statements.

General Power of Attorney

A legal document where a donor appoints an attorney to act on the donor's behalf in areas of property and financial affairs. A general power of attorney, unlike an enduring power of attorney will come to an end if the donor becomes mentally incapacitated.

Gossip

Talk about the actions or character of others. Unless gossip amounts to defamation, there is no court action available to prevent gossip from occurring.

Grounds

The basis for action or complaint, as in grounds for divorce.

Guardian

A person who has the right and duty to protect another person, their property and their rights.

Guardian Ad Litem

A person appointed to defend a court action or other legal proceeding on behalf of a child, or a person under a disability.

Guardianship

If a person has the guardianship of a child, they have the responsibility of a child's daily care as well as decisions relating to the child's long term care.

Guardianship of Adults

Where a guardian acts for an adult, and in cases where the adult is disabled, then it may be the Public Trustee.

Habeas Corpus

A court order requiring a person who has someone in their care to bring that person to the court.

Hague Convention

An international treaty on child abduction where if a child is taken to a country which is a party to the treaty, then the child can be ordered to be returned. The Commonwealth Attorney General's Department can assist with these proceedings.

Harassment

Harassment itself is not an offence and there must be elements of threat, or defamation or be part of a domestic violence matter, before any legal action can be taken

Hearing

A court session in which testimony or arguments are offered by attorneys or involved parties for the purpose of resolving a legal dispute and a judgment is made.

Hearsay Evidence

Where a person has not seen or heard the fact to be used as evidence but has been told by another who saw or heard the fact. Often hearsay is not permissible in court, but there are exceptions.

Hire Purchase

An agreement to buy goods where a person gets possession of the goods without paying for them in full, however ownership of the goods does not pass to them until after the goods have been paid for.

Husband

The male partner in a marriage. Sometimes used to refer to the male partner in a de facto relationship

IACP

International Academy of Collaborative Professionals

Immediate Family

Where there is a reference to "Immediate Family Member", this refers to: a partner a parent (includes step-parent, foster parent or adoptive parent) a grandparent a child (includes step-child) a sibling, e.g. sister or brother, in some cases step-sibling In some cases, discretion may be applied where a family relationship exists that is similar to one of the above, e.g. an aunt or grandparent or another legal guardian who has raised a person and could be taken to be a person's mother or parent.

Independent Children's Lawyer

A lawyer appointed by the court to represent a child's interests in a case.

Interim Order

An order made by a court to grant rights to one or other party until another order or a final order is made.

Interrogatories

A formal or written question that must be answered under the direction of the court.

Investigative Accountant

An investigative accountant, sometimes called a Forensic Accountant, scrutinises the books of an entity for possibly fraudulent activity or to trace the audit trail of funds and assets.

Isolation Abuse

Occurs when a person is not allowed to maintain contact with family, friends and community as a way of retaining control. It can include the restriction of access to email, post and social media or daily activities as well as monitoring all forms of communication and forcing you to be accountable for the time you are away from the controlling person.

Joint Legal Custody

The sharing by both parents of decisions for their child's education, medical care, religious training, welfare and other day to day matters. Not common in Australian terminology.

Joint Orders

An application for both property orders and parenting orders to be made.

Joint Physical Custody

The sharing, by both parents, of the actual physical care and residential arrangements of a child, wherein the child spends time with both parents including sleeping in both parents' homes..

JP

Justice of the Peace.  The office of the Justice of the Peace is a statutory position that involves a range of duties and responsibilities - most commonly including witnessing of documents such as Affidavits, Statutory Declarations, Enduring Powers of Attorney and Wills. 

Judgment

A decision by a court after all the evidence is heard.

Judicial officer

A person who has been appointed to hear and decide cases; for instance, a judge or federal magistrate.

Jurisdiction

The authority given to a court and its judicial officers to apply the law. For example, the courts have jurisdiction under the Family Law Act 1975 in family law matters.

Justice of the Peace

The office of the Justice of the Peace is a statutory position that involves a range of duties and responsibilities - most commonly including witnessing of documents such as Affidavits, Statutory Declarations, Enduring Powers of Attorney and Wills.

Legal Custody

The right to make important decisions about the raising of your child, on issues such as health care, education, and welfare.

Legal Separation

A judgment of legal separation allows you and your spouse or domestic partner to end your relationship but still remain legally married or partnered, and get court orders on parenting and money issues.

Legally Binding Agreement

A common legal phrase indicating that an agreement has been consciously made, and drawn up to reflect that certain actions are now either required or prohibited by the affected parties.  For the agreement to be binding, each party must have taken independent professional legal advice.  

Legally Binding Financial Agreement

An agreement in which both parties agree on the parameters of the agreement, seal it by signing each page of the document, and have certified proof that: ,(a) Before signing the agreement they each received independent legal advice from a legal practitioner as to: ,(i) the effect of this Agreement on their individual rights; and ,(ii) the advantages and disadvantages, at the time of that advice, of consenting to the Agreement.

Litigant

A person involved in a lawsuit. A person who represents themselves in court without a barrister or solicitor is referred to as a self-represented litigant or litigant in person.

Litigant in person

A person who represents themselves in court.

Lump-Sum Alimony

Alimony (Spousal support/maintenance) money given in a single lump-sum payment instead of periodic payments.

Maintenance

Payment from one party to the other after separation or divorce. Refers to payments to the spouse (alimony or spousal support).

Major Long Term Issues

TheFamily Law Act defines that these issues are those about the long-term care, welfare and development of the child and includes (but is not limited to) issues of that nature about: education (both current and future); religious and cultural upbringing; health; the child’s name; and changes to the child’s living arrangements that make it significantly more difficult for the child to spend time with a parent.

Marriage Certificate

A marriage certificate is an official recorded document issued by a governmental authority that proves that the couple listed on the marriage certificate have a legal marriage. In most areas, a marriage record is part of the public record. A marriage certificate usually contains who married who, when they were married, where they were married, who married them, and who witnessed the marriage.

Mediation

A non-adversarial form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for resolving legal disputes without going to trial, by the use of a trained and impartial third party, who attempts to bring the parties together in mutual agreement.

Motion To Modify

A motion put before the court requesting that changes be made in physical or legal custody, or in child support payments, thus modifying the existing arrangement.

Motions

Written or verbal appeals to the court for some sort of temporary relief, such as maintenance, child support, attorney's fees, etc..

No-Fault Divorce

A divorce in which neither party has been accused of or found guilty of any misconduct. This is the accepted practice in Australia regardless of behaviour.

Non-Custodial Parent

The parent with whom the child is not physically living.  This is old terminoligy.  In parenting orders, the word custody and custodial is no longer used and all matters refer to who the child lives with and who the child spends time with.

Parental Responsibility

The responsibility of each parent to make decisions about the care, welfare and development of their children. These responsibilities may be varied by agreement or by a court order.

Parenting Orders

Arrangements for the care of children which are decided by a court. A couple can apply to have an agreed parenting made in to an order.

Parenting Plan

A written agreement between the parties setting out parenting arrangements for children. It is not approved by, or filed with, a court. If a couple wish to formalise their parenting plan, they can submit it to the Court to be sealed as parenting orders.

Party Or Parties

A person or legal entity, such as a corporation, involved in a court case; for example, the applicant or respondent.

Paternity

Legal determination of fatherhood. Paternity must be determined before a court can order child support or medical support.

Pension Plan

A term used in certain jurisdictions (not usually Australian) which relates to retirement funds (Superannuation).

Petitioner

The person who initiates the divorce within the Family Law courts. Typically a UK law term.

Physical Abuse

A violent act towards another which may include such acts as pushing, shoving, slapping, kicking, punching, hitting, spitting, pinching, pulling hair, choking, throwing things, hitting victims with an object, and using or threatening to use a weapon.

Physical Custody

The day-to-day rights and responsibilities associated with having your child in your home and being responsible for his or her care and upbringing.  This terminology is now replaced with who the child lives with and who the child spends time with.

Precedent

A decision made by a judicial officer, which may serve as an example for other cases or orders.

Premarital Agreement

An agreement entered into before marriage that sets forth each party's rights and responsibilities should the marriage terminate by death or divorce: Also called a prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial Agreement

An agreement entered into before marriage that sets forth each party's rights and responsibilities should the marriage terminate by death or divorce: Also called a premarital agreement.

Pro Per

A short form of "in propria persona." Refers to persons that represent themselves in court without lawyers.

Procedural Order

An order made by a court of a practical nature. For example, the court may order the parties to attend family dispute resolution.

Process Server

A person that serves court papers on a party to a lawsuit

Proof of Service

The form filed with the court that proves that court papers were formally served on (delivered to) a party in a court action on a certain date.

Property Settlement

The process and final agreement on the division of assets and liabilities of a couple after they have agreed to separate.

Psychological Abuse

A gradual wearing down of the victim's self esteem by ridiculing their character, their friends, their race, religion or values. It may take the form of a person threatening to take the children, end their own life or harm themselves or others if you don't do as they want. Psychological/emotional abuse often goes undetected for many years as it is not as obvious as other forms of abuse.

Rebuttal

The act of rebutting or contradicting in a legal suit.

Registrar

A court lawyer who has been delegated power to perform certain tasks; for example, grant divorces, sign consent orders and decide the next step in a case.

Request for Production

Part of the Discovery process in which one attorney asks for the other side to produce documents they deem necessary to the case, such as financial documents.

Respondent

A person named as a party to a case. A respondent may or may not respond to the orders sought by the applicant.

Retainer

The fee paid to an attorney or other professional for their services, sometimes representing advance payment for anticipated future services.

REVS

Register of Encumbered Vehicles.  This is a register of all vehicles on which money is owed.  

Rules

A set of directions that outlines court procedures and guidelines. The rules of the Family Court are the Family Law Rules 2004 and the rules of the Federal Magistrates Court are the Federal Magistrates Court Rules 2001.

Seek Leave

Ask permission of the court to perform an action such as accept an application which is outside the time limits for having been lodged.

Self-represented Litigant

A person who represents themselves in court.

Separate Property

Generally, property owned by either spouse prior to marriage or acquired by them individually, such as by gift or inheritance, during the marriage.

Separation Date

The date of separation for divorces or registered domestic partnerships is when one spouse (or both) or one partner (or both) decides that the marriage or partnership is over and takes some actions to show this (like moving out of the house).

Service

The process of sending or giving court documents to a party after they have been filed, in accordance with the rules of court. Service ensures that all parties have received the documents filed with a court.   If a document is required to be served by special service, the person on whose behalf the document is served must satisfy the Court that the person served actually received the document.   There are various forms of Special Service. By hand. You may arrange for a process server (for a fee) or any other person over 18 years of age to hand deliver the documents for you. Process servers are listed in the Yellow Pages phone Directory. The Subpoena, the Application - Contravention and the Application - Contempt must be served in this way. By post or electronic communication (fax or email). Do not use this method of service unless you are confident that the other party will sign theAcknowledgment of service and return it to you. If you choose to serve by electronic communication, you must include a cover sheet with required details. If you attempt service by post, fax or email and the Acknowledgment of service is not returned to you, your application may be delayed and it may be necessary to arrange for further copies of the documents to be served on the person. If service is by post you must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (for the return of the Acknowledgment of service). By service on a lawyer. A document is taken to be served by special service on a person if: a lawyer representing the person agrees, in writing, to accept service of the document for that person; and the document is served on the lawyer and the lawyer acknowledges service.

Sexual Abuse

Forced unwanted sex, demanding the partner wear more (or less) provocative clothing; forced sex in any form; insisting the partner act out fantasies, and denial of the partner's sexuality.

Show Cause

A court order telling a person to appear in court and present any evidence why the orders requested by the other side should not be granted or executed

Special Service

If a document is required to be served by special service, the person on whose behalf the document is served must satisfy the Court that the person served actually received the document.   There are various forms of Special Service. By hand. You may arrange for a process server (for a fee) or any other person over 18 years of age to hand deliver the documents for you. Process servers are listed in the Yellow Pages phone Directory. The Subpoena, the Application - Contravention and the Application - Contempt must be served in this way. By post or electronic communication (fax or email). Do not use this method of service unless you are confident that the other party will sign theAcknowledgment of service and return it to you. If you choose to serve by electronic communication, you must include a cover sheet with required details. If you attempt service by post, fax or email and the Acknowledgment of service is not returned to you, your application may be delayed and it may be necessary to arrange for further copies of the documents to be served on the person. If service is by post you must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (for the return of the Acknowledgment of service). By service on a lawyer. A document is taken to be served by special service on a person if: a lawyer representing the person agrees, in writing, to accept service of the document for that person; and the document is served on the lawyer and the lawyer acknowledges service.

Spousal Support

Financial payments made to help support a spouse or former spouse during separation or following divorce : Also called alimony.

Statutory Declaration

A written statement signed and declared to be true before an authorised witness; commonly used to legally verify names, addresses, insurance claims, superannuation matters, lost passports and as evidence to support sick leave.

Stipulation

An agreement entered into by the divorcing spouses that settles the issues between them and is often entered into the court's final judgment and decree.

Subpoena

A document issued by a court, at the request of a party, requiring a person to produce documents and/or give evidence to the court.

Summons

Written notice to appear in court either as a defendant or a witness.

Swearing of Document

Completing a document which outlines a sequence of events (similar to an affidavit). The person "swearing" the document, completes a specific paragraph at the end of the account to say that they have signed it with the understanding that the declaration is made under the penalty of perjury. It is said to be made under oath.

Sworn Document

A sworn document is one that was made under oath. A sworn document is sometimes submitted as evidence so that the person making the declaration does not have to appear in person.

Testator's Family Maintenance application

An application made against the estate of a person by their previous dependents.

Transcript

A record of the spoken evidence in a court case. All court hearings are recorded, except uncontested divorce hearings. The court does not order transcripts in all instances and does not provide transcripts to parties. If a party orders a transcript, they will be responsible for the costs.

Uncontested

An application for orders which is not refuted by the respondent.  When all issues have been resolved in a manner acceptable to both parties, the divorce is said to be uncontested.

Verbal Abuse

A form of abusive behaviour involving the use of language (criticizing, name-calling, put downs threatening, blaming). It differs from profanity in that it can occur without the use of expletives. Verbal abuse is a pattern of behaviour that can seriously interfere with one's positive emotional development and over time, can lead to significant detriment to one's self-esteem, emotional well-being and physical state.

Visitation

The time that a noncustodial parent spends with the children.

Waiver

The legal document with which one relinquishes a known right, claim, or privilege.
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