The Wiselaw divorce and family law glossary includes over 300 legal terms and definitions that you might come across when dealing with your divorce lawyer or family solicitor. Our glossary explains the jargon in easy-to-read language.
Family Law Glossary
Time that a child spends with their non-resident parent (often referred to as ‘contact’).
Acknowledgement of Service
A document from the court that states you have received a divorce petition from the other party. You are obliged to complete this form and return it to the court.
The increase in the value of any non-matrimonial assets which is due to the efforts of one spouse
Where a hearing or case is directed to take place at a later date or time.
A court order that is issued when a child is adopted, confirming that the adoptive parents are the new legal parents of a child.
The court process when an application for adoption is made and an adoption order sought.
The parents who wish to adopt a child.
A voluntary act of sexual intercourse between a married person and someone who is not their spouse. Note that adultery must be between two people of the opposite sex.
The situation where a court can make an order based on inferences it takes from a party’s failure to provide proper disclosure (for example, a court can assume that a party has deliberately hidden assets if they have failed to provide full disclosure)
A written statement or legal document confirmed on oath to be true, for use as evidence in court.
A formal declaration made by a person in court as an alternative to swearing on a holy book (see also ‘oath’)
An alternative term for spousal maintenance. See also ‘spousal maintenance’.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
An attempt to resolve issues arising from a divorce without court action. ADR includes mediation and arbitration
The previous term for ‘financial remedy’. It describes the financial claims that one spouse can make (for property, pensions, income etc.) against the other during divorce or judicial separation.
The formal declaration that a marriage is void and that it has never taken place in the eyes of the law. Sometimes called ‘nullity’.
Anton Pillar order
A court order which permits the search of premises and the seizure of documents, granted in exceptional circumstances.
The rehearing of a case by another judge.
The party who appeals the decision of a lower court.
The spouse who makes an application to the court.
The process of asking the court to make an order.
A collaborative process where an independent third party can help two parties to resolve a dispute.
The independent third party qualified to oversee arbitration.
Anything of value that you own, including property, cash, investments, tangible items (cars, jewellery) and pensions.
To transfer the ownership of an asset from one party to another.
A person who practices law and that you appoint to act for you (see also ‘solicitor’).
A person who is authorised to serve court documents.
An unforeseeable event which can lead to the challenge of a court order previously made in financial proceedings.
A lawyer who specialises in representing people or organisations in court. They can also provide specialist legal advice.
Beneficiary of a trust
A person who receives capital or income from a trust.
The criminal offence of marrying someone when you are already married to another person.
Brussels IIa treaty
A regulation made by the European Union (EU) setting out the rules on jurisdiction that apply to member states.
All the documents brought together by a claimant for a trial.
Bundles Practice Direction
Guidance that sets out what papers should go before the court as part of a hearing.
The application form used for issuing children proceedings.
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. It is an English public body that promotes the welfare of children and families involved in family court proceedings.
An independent childcare professional who assists the court when deciding arrangements for a child.
A report produced by a CAFCASS officer which is designed to help the court make a decision on arrangements for a child.
A legal term for ‘without prejudice save as to costs’. It is an offer to resolve a dispute that will only be revealed in court proceedings that relate to a disagreement about costs.
The ability of a party to enter into a legal agreement.
Capitalisation of maintenance
A situation where maintenance is paid in one lump sum rather than in instalments.
Laws or legal guidelines that have been created by judges through previous judgments. Also known as ‘common law’.
Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV)
The capital value of a pension fund, often used for pension sharing.
Offices used by barristers and a judge. If a court hearing is heard in private and is not open to the public it will be heard in chambers.
A court order which entitles a creditor to a share in property or shares owned by a debtor. It can be used to enforce a court award.
Items of personal property; generally tangible items such as jewellery or cars.
A person who is under 18 years of age.
The unauthorised removal of a child from the care or custody of a parent or guardian.
Money paid from a child’s non-resident parent to the parent with whom the child lives.
The Child Maintenance Service (CMS). The CMS is the body that governs the payment and receipt of child maintenance payments for separated and divorced parents.
Child arrangements order
An order which sets out arrangements for children when you separate. It can include where your children will live, and how much contact your children will have with the non-resident parent.
Child of the family
Any child born of you and your spouse/civil partner, or any child born of either spouse/civil partner who has been treated as a child of the family, or any child who is not the biological, legal or adopted child of either spouse/civil partner but who has been treated as a child of the family. A foster child cannot be a child of the family.
Children Act 1989
The law which governs most issues relating to children.
Child’s best interests
The primary concern of the court in family proceedings.
The Child Support Agency. The previous name of the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).
A judge who hears cases at local County Courts.
A legal relationship which can be registered by a same-sex couple, with rights similar to those of marriage.
Civil partnership dissolution
The legal termination of a civil partnership (similar to divorce for a marriage).
Clean break order
A principle that spouses should try and come to a financial arrangement on divorce that settles matters in a final manner.
A document that allows you to make amendments to an existing will.
A legal agreement between a couple who have chosen to live together that sets out the rights and responsibilities that each party has in respect of child support and financial outgoings.
The act of living together as a married couple/civil partnership. Unmarried couples cohabiting do not normally have the same rights as married couples.
An approach to separation or divorce that involves couples entering mediation or negotiation to try and reach agreement, rather than going through a court process.
Mutual recognition by countries of laws and customs of other nations.
A court order that sends someone to prison if they have breached other court orders.
Common law spouse
A term with no legal recognition in the UK. It is often used to describe cohabiting couples who are not married.
Community Service Order
A court order requiring someone to carry out unpaid work if they fail to comply with a child arrangements order.
A collaborative process where who parties meet voluntarily with an independent third party in an attempt to resolve a dispute. The third party does not have the power to impose an agreement, and instead the process is aimed at trying to negotiate an agreement.
A court order that is conditional on one or more parties doing something.
The behaviour of one or both parties, either in your marriage or in the divorce proceedings.
Where both parties have agreed a financial settlement and consent to the court approving the agreement and making an order without the need for a court hearing.
A place where a parent can enjoy contact with their child in a neutral and safe environment, either supervised or unsupervised.
Contact in the community
Contact with a child that is restricted to a public place.
No longer used, this order specified how much time a child would spend with their non-resident parent. It is now part of a child arrangements order.
Contempt of court
Where a party breaches a court order. Contempt of court can be punishable by a fine, a prison sentence, or both.
A method of paying legal costs based on the outcome of a case. Sometimes called ‘no win, no fee’.
An official register listing the owners of companies and showing their public accounts.
Any legal fees, disbursements and VAT.
A civil court that can hear family cases.
Any money that is paid to the court, for example to issue proceedings (is not the same as fees paid to solicitors).
Court of Appeal
A court that can review a decision made by lower courts.
The process where one party is asked questions by the other (usually by a barrister).
The legal and practical relationship between a parent and a child in their care. Sometimes known as ‘residence’, and now detailed in a Child Arrangements Order following divorce.
Declaration of Trust
A document in which trustees are appointed to hold property for others (the ‘beneficiaries’). It also sets out the beneficiaries’ entitlement to the property/assets.
The legal document that formally ends your marriage.
The legal document that states that the court can see no reason why your marriage cannot end, and specifies a future date on which your marriage will end unless a good reason not to do so is provided.
Decree of Judicial Separation
A court order that ends legal obligations between two spouses, even though the parties remain legally married.
Divorce proceedings when one party disagrees with the other spouse’s divorce petition.
Where one spouse leaves the marriage and does not return. It is one of the grounds for divorce.
Direct access barrister
A barrister who takes their instructions directly from a client rather than through solicitors.
Instructions made by a judge that sets out what the next steps should be to progress the case, or what the two parties should do.
Any payments made by the solicitor to a third party on behalf of the client and then claimed back from the client or taken from client funds already held on account by the solicitor.
The process by which a party provides information. For example, in financial remedy proceedings, both spouses have to provide full disclosure of all their finances (assets, income, pensions etc.).
Dispute Resolution Appointment (DRA)
A hearing in family proceedings where the two parties try and negotiate an agreement.
See civil partnership dissolution.
A full-time judge who presides over cases in the County Court. District judges hear most financial settlement cases in the family court and can also hear cases regarding arrangements for children.
The process of legally ending a marriage end terminating any obligations you have to your spouse.
A barrister who acts on behalf of a client in court in relation to family law cases.
See divorce solicitor.
See ‘divorce petition’.
The process you must go through to legally end your marriage (unless ‘nullity’ applies, or your spouse is presumed dead).
A specialist family solicitor who represents you during your divorce. Also known as divorce lawyer.
A process where spouses agree all matters pertaining to their divorce without instructing divorce solicitors to represent them.
Domestic Violence Intervention Programme (DVIP)
A behaviour-change programme for men who have perpetrated domestic violence aimed at anger management.
The place where someone is born or where they reside, and is a factor in determining jurisdiction.
A method that can be used to calculate the value of a lump sum that one party can pay to the other in lieu of paying spousal maintenance over a longer period.
Now known as a pension attachment order in England and Wales. It is one method of dividing a pension between two spouses on divorce.
Court proceedings that ensure a party complies with a court order.
European Judgments Regulation
European law which controls how court orders made in one country can be enforced in another.
Law made by the European Parliament which applies in all EU countries.
Ex parte hearing
A court application made by one party without the involvement of the other.
A person who has expertise in a specific field who can be called upon to provide evidence in a case.
Extendable maintenance term
A maintenance order for a fixed, but extendable, period of time.
Fact finding hearing
A court hearing when the court considers evidence surrounding allegations and decides whether or not these allegations are proved based on the balance of probabilities.
A court in England and Wales that can hear matters relating to family law.
Laws that relate to family matters, such as marriage or children.
Family Law Bar Association (FLBA)
The association for family law barristers in England and Wales.
Family procedure rules (FPR)
The rules that govern the procedure and practice of family law.
Family Proceedings Court
The court where magistrates hear family proceedings.
Filing for divorce
Starting divorce proceedings in court by issuing a divorce petition.
A hearing where a court will make a final decision regarding any applications it has received.
The legal document that ends a civil partnership.
Financial Dispute Resolution hearing
The Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing is where both spouses try and negotiate a financial settlement with help from a judge. The judge cannot impose a settlement but will help the parties to try and reach agreement.
Previously known as ‘ancillary relief’. It is an application to the court to make an order regarding the finances of a marriage where the parties cannot agree a settlement.
An agreement setting out how you and your spouse will divide your assets when you divorce.
A law which limits the extent to which a foreign court can interfere in the governance and administration of trusts and associated corporate vehicles governed by the law of other countries.
First appointment documents
Documents prescribed by the court in proceedings for a financial remedy, including questionnaire, chronology, concise statement of issues and Form G.
First appointment hearing (or first directions appointment)
The initial heading before a judge, where the first appointment documents are reviewed. The judge will also set out directions for the case.
The form you complete when you want to apply for a financial remedy.
The form you complete giving full disclosure about your financial position and your needs during the process of applying to court for a financial remedy.
The statement which sets out the legal costs incurred and to be incurred by a party in financial proceedings.
Former marital home
The property in which you lived with your spouse during the time that you were married.
A court order that prevents one party from disposing of their assets.
A court order which requires a person to pay a set amount from their salary to satisfy a debt.
A formal divorce that a husband grants a wife under Jewish law.
A child of sufficient age and maturity to have their own views heard and considered by a court.
A reason (or reasons) that you can give to request that your marriage is legally ended.
Grounds for appeal
Reasons given to support the application for appeal, for example that the original verdict was improperly reached.
Someone who is appointed by the court to legally manage the affairs of a person who is incapable of managing them (such as a child).
The standard used to determine which country’s law which should be applied to determine a given legal dispute.
A court order that prevents a party from taking part in proceedings until they have complied with other court orders.
An international convention designed to ensure the swift and safe return of children who have been taken to another country without a parent’s consent.
Heads of Agreement
An agreement which records the main aspects of a settlement but not the full details of an order.
Where a judge hears the details of a case.
A court order that stops a spouse from pursuing a divorce in another country.
Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS)
The government body with responsibility for running the courts.
A court that deals with the most valuable and complex family law cases, below the Court of Appeal.
High Court Judge
A judge who hears cases in the High Court.
Home rights and home rights notice
Sometimes called ‘matrimonial home rights’, this is the right of a spouse to live in your marital home even if they don’t own it. It restricts the Land Registry title and prevents the sole owner disposing of the marital home without the knowledge of the other spouse.
Documents that are improperly obtained during divorce proceedings by one party. They are not permitted and the obtaining of these may result in criminal or civil proceedings.
Where one parent denies the other contact with a child with no justification.
A court order that prevents a spouse from doing something.
Interim care order
A court order which gives a local authority shared parental responsibility for a child. It lets a local authority overrule a child’s parents, typically for a period of up to 28 days.
Interim periodical payments order
An interim order made by the court after divorce proceedings have been issued that outlines payments to be made during the divorce process. Such an order ends on divorce or dissolution.
International Child Abduction
Where a child is removed to another country without the permission of a parent or official ‘leave to remove’.
Inter partes hearing
A hearing in which all interested parties have been served with adequate notices and are given a reasonable opportunity to attend and to be heard.
The situation where a person dies without making a will. It means their estate will be divided according to the rules of intestacy.
One of the grounds for divorce used in other countries, notably the USA.
Where two spouses decide that they can no longer continue living with each other. It is the reason a court can grant a divorce.
Issuing divorce papers
Where a court issues the petition, supporting documents and notice of hearings once it is satisfied with the divorce petition.
Joint and several liability
Where a debt is held in joint names and two or more people are responsible for the payments and balance of a debt.
Any asset that is in the names of more than one person.
Where a child lives part-time with both parents following separation or divorce.
Where property is held on the terms that both parties will share the sale proceeds equally if the property is sold. If one party dies, their share in the joint property will pass to the remaining joint tenants.
A person who is owed money under a court order.
A person who fails to pay money they have been ordered to under a court order.
A process whereby the court approves the formal separation of spouses but does not dissolve the marriage (the process stops at decree nisi).
A party’s links to a particular country, which must be established in order that a court can hear a case.
The body which registers the ownership of land and property in the UK.
Lasting power of attorney
A legal document that lets you choose someone to make decisions about matters such as property, health or financial affairs on your behalf. It is designed to ensure someone you trust can administer your affairs when you can no longer make these decisions yourself.
Leave to remove
Consent from the court to take a child out of the country. You will require leave to remove if the other parent does not give you permission to take your child overseas.
A scheme that provides funding for legal fees if you are on benefits or you have a low income. In family cases, Legal Aid is now only available for family mediation and cases where there are domestic violence or child protection issues.
The principle that ensures communication between a party and their legal representatives cannot be seen be anyone else.
Legal separation means you can live apart without divorce or dissolution.
Legal services order
A court order that requires one party to pay the other party’s legal fees.
The process of taking legal action through the court.
Litigant in person
Someone who represents themselves in court proceedings without appointing a solicitor to act on their behalf.
A loan that a party can obtain to cover the cost of divorce proceedings, including financial and child proceedings.
The process of filing documents with a court.
Lump sum order
An order whereby one spouse pays another a lump sum in consideration of marital assets.
See child maintenance or spousal maintenance.
Maintenance pending suit
A temporary court order for maintenance made before the Decree Absolute is granted.
A court order that states that maintenance should end at a fixed point in the future.
Matrimonial (or marital) home
The main home in which you and your spouse lived while you were married.
Any assets, property or income which are acquired, earned or created during your marriage.
Matrimonial property regime
A system used in many European countries where spouses decide under which property regime they will hold their assets during marriage, and how they will be divided on divorce.
Someone without legal qualifications who accompanies a litigant in person during a family court hearing.
A way of resolving disputes between spouses that have arisen as a result of their divorce or separation. An impartial mediator helps couples to talk through options and find solutions for their issues. It can be used for financial disagreements or issues arising from the care of children.
Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM)
An initial meeting between spouses carried out by an authorised family mediator. The aim of the meeting is to assess whether mediation is a suitable option for resolving a couple’s disputes. In most cases, couples must attend a MIAM before proceeding through a court.
A type of court order that ensures a party retains a share in a property even though the sale of the property is delayed (often because children live there).
The principle that the needs of both parties should be considered in a divorce settlement.
Where sexual intercourse in a committed relationship has not taken place.
The failure of one party to provide information that the court has requested.
Assets owned by either spouse generated other than during the marriage.
An order made by the court that prevents another person for harassing you or your family, or using or threatening violence.
A parent with whom a child spends less than half their time with.
No order principle
The principle that, if possible, it is better to avoid making a court order in cases relating to children than making one.
Notice of First Appointment
A court order which sets out the date for the first appointment hearing. It may also include directions and deadlines for the completion of Form E and the first appointment documents.
A trust or property settlement designed to provide a continuing benefit for a husband and wife.
Committing to telling the truth by swearing on a holy book.
A court order that removes another person from your home and forbids that person from returning and trying to enter your home.
An Internet-based service that lets you complete and file divorce papers online.
Where a court considers an application without a hearing.
A hearing where members of the public and press can attend and report. Family cases are normally not held in open court.
A direction of the court.
Order for sale
A court order that states property or shares should be sold. The proceeds should be directed as per the court order.
The principle that cases should be dealt with fairly, efficiently and in a cost-effective manner.
The legal rights and responsibilities you have for your child. Parental responsibility can be automatic – for example if you are the mother or you are the father and you were married to the mother when your child was born – or you can obtain parental responsibility under certain circumstances.
Part 25 application
The application used if evidence from an expert is needed.
Part III claim
Under part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984, a party can claim relief from the English courts after an overseas divorce, in certain circumstances.
The petitioner and respondent in divorce proceedings or the applicant and respondent in financial and children proceedings.
Any natural increase in the value of non-matrimonial assets.
Where the court can order the use of DNA to establish the identity of a child’s father.
Pensions attachment order (or pensions earmarking)
A pensions attachment order (or pensions earmarking) is a court order designed to help spouses split pension assets. It can redirect part or all of a scheme’s pension benefits to the other spouse on divorce.
Pension sharing order
A court order which details how pension benefits can be redirected from one spouse to another.
Periodical payments order
A court order which states that one spouse should make periodical payments to the other spouse for a period fixed by the court.
The criminal offence of lying under oath or affirmation in court proceedings.
The delivery of court documents by hand (not through the mail).
Divorce proceedings are started when one spouse sends a petition to the court confirming they believe the marriage has irretrievably broken down. It must outline the grounds for divorce and the details of the spouses and any children concerned.
The spouse who applies for the divorce. They are the party that files the divorce petition with the court.
Sometimes called a ‘postnup’. A document that both spouses sign after the wedding which details how their financial arrangements should be dealt with in the event of a future divorce. While not legally binding, courts may consider the contents of a post-nuptial agreement as long as the parties have satisfied several factors.
Sometimes called a ‘prenup’. A document that a couple sign before they get married stating how they wish their assets, property and income to be divided if they were to divorce in the future. While not always legally binding, courts may consider the contents of a pre-nuptial agreement as long as the parties have satisfied several factors.
The person who has the main responsibility for caring for a child.
Prohibited steps order
A court order granted in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express consent of the other parent.
The legal principle that a promise is enforceable by law, even if made without formal consideration, when a promisor has made a promise to a promisee who then relies on that promise to his subsequent detriment
Property adjustment order
A court order relating to property on divorce or separation. The order can transfer or change the ownership of property from one party to another or to a child of the family.
A person who is the presumed father of an illegitimate child.
Queens Counsel (QC)
A senior barrister who is a recognised expert in a specific area of law.
A formal document asking for information and clarification following the exchange of each party’s Form E.
A term often used in the media regarding celebrity divorces, suggesting that their divorce will take place more quickly than a typical divorce might. In reality, everyone is bound by the same timescales for divorce and people with wealth cannot pay more money to speed up the core stages of the divorce process.
A legal term meaning houses and land.
Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act 1922
The law which details how judgements made in English courts are enforced in British Overseas Territories.
Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) unit
A public body that is responsible for recording and enforcing child maintenance orders internationally.
Previously called ‘custody’. It outlines where a child should live for the majority of the time.
Now called a ‘Child Arrangements Order’. It is a court order that sets out where a child should live after divorce or separation.
The parent with whom a child lives for the majority of the time.
The person who responds to any application that the petitioner/applicant makes to the court.
A court order (from a criminal court) that prohibits a party from contacting another party.
A trust that is created by the parties making contributions to the purchase of an asset. The trust will be held in equal proportion to the money paid in.
In financial proceedings, a Rose order can be made where there is insufficient time at court to convert heads of agreement into a consent order. The judge may approve the agreement between the parties and make an order in terms of the agreement.
Round table meeting
An informal meeting between two parties and their legal representatives.
Schedule of deficiencies
A form that can be used to highlight where one party has failed to provide full answers/disclosure in a questionnaire.
Schedule of Expenses
A form which sets out a party’s monthly/annual outgoings used for calculating maintenance.
Schedule one cases
An application for financial relief relating to a child where the parents were not married.
School fees order
A court order that requires one spouse to pay some or all of their child’s school fees.
Section 25 factors
The factors detailed in section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which the court will consider when making financial provision.
Section 25 statement
A statement made in financial proceedings before the final hearing, setting out each party’s case in relation to the section 25 factors.
Section 28 1 (a) bar
Where the court stop a maintenance term from being extended, under Section 28 1 (A) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.
Section 37 application
An application under section 37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which sets aside a transfer where a party has deliberately moved money to avoid it being affected by the divorce.
Section 8 order
A court order made in child proceedings – it can be a prohibited steps order, single issue order or child arrangements order.
Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP)
A course designed to help parents understand how to manage arrangements for their child and to communicate about their child’s needs.
Where a relationship ends, often in a situation where a couple choose to no longer cohabit.
A contract/agreement that two parties can reach that outline the terms of your separation when you are not yet proceeding with a divorce. The agreement may include residence and child arrangements, and division of your assets.
Providing a party to court proceedings with documents.
Set-aside of a transaction
A court order that reverses a financial transaction, made under section 37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.
Set-aside of an order
Where a court decides to set aside an order as if they had never made it.
Severance of joint tenancy
The process where, instead of you and your spouse owning the property as joint tenants in equal shares, you will own the property as ‘tenants in common’ in equal shares.
An arrangement where two parents share the living arrangements for a child, and where a child resides with different parents at different times.
The religious law of Islam that applies in many Muslim countries.
The principle where, if both parties have enough assets to meet their needs, the court will decide how these assets should be divided.
Social Security and Child Support Tribunal
A body which hears appeals in relation to Child Maintenance Service issues.
A qualified legal professional who you appoint to represent you, give you legal advice, and take responsibility for the day-to-day management of your case.
Where a divorce petition proceeds to decree nisi without additional hearings.
Specific issue order
A court order that is used when people with parental responsibility for a child disagree on a specific subject, such as the child’s name.
Payments made by one spouse to another after divorce, typically on a periodic basis. Sometimes called ‘alimony’.
Written documents made be a party which set out information relating to their case.
Statement of Arrangements
A form which outlines the intended arrangements for children on divorce. It is filed with the divorce petition, but not binding on either party.
Statement of Issues
A document prepared for the first appointment which details any issues on which the parties disagree.
Statement of Truth
A formal declaration that the contents of a witness statement or other court document are true.
Written laws made by parliament and interpreted by the courts.
A legal argument made to the court.
Contact that a parent has with their child under the supervision of a third party.
The highest court in the United Kingdom. The Supreme Court hears appeal cases from the Court of Appeal.
Supreme Court Judge
One of the nine judges who sit in the Supreme Court.
The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973
The law in that governs divorce and marriage in England and Wales. It was introduced “to consolidate certain enactments relating to matrimonial proceedings, maintenance agreements, and declarations of legitimacy, validity of marriage and British nationality”.
A divorce under Sharia law.
Tenancy in common
A property ownership arrangement where each party owns a specific share in the property. Each owner can sell or dispose of their share through a will, and it means that your share of a property does not automatically pass to your spouse on your death.
The EU Maintenance Regulation
A European Union regulation on conflict of law issues regarding maintenance obligations, applicable to all EU countries.
Third party debt order
A court order that states that a person who owes money to a judgment debtor pays it to their creditor instead.
Third party disclosure order
A request for information from someone other than the petitioner or respondent.
The same as a final hearing.
An arrangement where a trustee holds property on behalf of the beneficiary.
Someone in a position of trust who holds property or authority for the benefit of another.
Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (TOLATA)
A piece of legislation which allows the court to determine the extent of each party’s interest in the land or property and also how that interest can be dealt with.
An agreement or promise to do something (or not to do something) designed to be binding on the person who gives the undertaking.
Where your spouse has behaved in such a way that you can no longer continue to be married to them. It is the most common ground for divorce in the UK.
An application made to the court to change the terms of an order. For example, you might apply for a variation to a financial order if a party’s financial circumstances change.
A marriage that is treated as if it had never existed because it was unlawful or invalid.
A principle in family law that all decisions and orders will reflect the best interests of a child.
Whole life order
A maintenance order which lasts until one of the parties dies, or if the receiving party remarries.
A legal document that contains instructions as to what should be done with a person’s money and property after their death.
When used in correspondence between the petitioner and respondent, ‘without prejudice’ means that what follows can’t be used as evidence in court or be taken as the person’s final word on a subject.
A person who gives evidence in court having witnessed an event.
The document requiring a person to attend court to give evidence.
Writ ne exeat regno
A court order that confiscates a party’s passport and prevents them from leaving the country.
Writ of control (formerly fieri facias)
A court order allowing a judge (acting through a bailiff) to seize a debtor’s goods in order to enforce an order.
An agreement between spouses about how to divide their assets. While it is not a court order, the agreement is sufficiently clear to be binding.