Divorce Legal Terms Glossary

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Accidents & Injuries

  • Breach of DutyA failure to meet the required standard of care, violating the legal duty owed.

  • Comparative NegligenceLegal doctrine that assigns fault and reduces compensation based on the plaintiff's degree of responsibility for their own injury.

  • DamagesMonetary compensation awarded to a plaintiff for losses or injuries suffered due to another party's negligence or wrongdoing.

  • Duty of CareA legal obligation to exercise reasonable care while performing acts that could foreseeably harm others.

  • Informed ConsentPatient's voluntary permission for medical treatment after full disclosure of risks, benefits, and alternatives.

  • NegligenceThe failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in damage or injury to another party.

Bankruptcy and debt

  • BankruptcyBankruptcy is a legal process for dealing with overwhelming debt and seeking relief.

  • CreditorAn entity with extended credit or loaned money, possessing a legal claim for repayment from a debtor.

  • DebtorA person or entity legally liable and obligated to pay money owed to creditors or lenders.


  • Alternative Dispute ResolutionMethods for resolving disputes outside of traditional courtroom litigation, such as mediation and arbitration.

  • ArbitrationA private dispute resolution process where parties agree to be bound by a third party's decision.

  • Breach of ContractA breach of contract occurs when one party fails to fulfill its obligations under a legally binding agreement.

  • ContractA legally binding agreement between two or more parties that creates mutual obligations to be performed.

  • CorporationA legally created business entity with rights and liabilities separate from its owners, having perpetual existence and centralized management.

  • Limited Liability CompanyA flexible business structure combining liability protection and pass-through taxation while allowing owner management involvement.

  • MediationA voluntary dispute resolution process facilitated by a neutral third party mediator.

  • PartnershipA business owned by two or more people who share profits, liabilities, and management responsibilities through a legally formed agreement.

  • ShareholdersOwners of a corporation who have purchased shares representing equity stake and are entitled to certain rights and claims on assets/profits.

Civil & Human Rights

  • Civil LibertiesFundamental individual rights and freedoms guaranteed by law and the Constitution against potential government overreach or oppression.

  • Civil RightsThe basic rights and freedoms guaranteed to individuals by a nation's constitution and laws.

  • DiscriminationThe unjust or prejudicial treatment of different individuals or groups, typically due to characteristics like race, age, gender, disability or religion.

  • Equal ProtectionThe constitutional guarantee that all people be treated equally under the law.

  • Habeas CorpusA legal instrument that requires law enforcement to bring a prisoner before the court to determine if the person's imprisonment or detention is lawful.

  • Human rightsFundamental rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion or other status.

Consumers Rights

  • Bait and switchBait and switch is a deceptive marketing tactic advertising low prices to lure customers, but promoting higher-priced goods instead.

  • ConsumerAn individual or household that acquires goods and services, primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, rather than for commercial resale

  • Consumer ProtectionThe laws, regulations, and practices designed to safeguard the rights and interests of consumers, prevent deceptive or abusive business practices, and ensure fair trade.

  • Cooling-Off PeriodA legally mandated time frame during which a consumer has the right to cancel a purchase or contract without penalty.

  • False AdvertisingIntentionally making false or misleading statements about a product or service in advertising or marketing materials.

  • Lemon LawsA statute that provides remedies for consumers who purchase defective vehicles, typically allowing for a refund or replacement.

Criminal Defense

  • ArraignmentArraignment is the initial court appearance where criminal charges are formally read to the defendant, who then enters a plea.

  • BailMoney or bond paid to allow temporary release from custody, ensuring defendant's future court appearances.

  • Reasonable doubtLack of sufficient evidence preventing conviction of a defendant, meaning proof fails to overcome reasonable doubt


  • ADA Compliancedherence to the requirements set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding accessibility and non-discrimination.

  • Disability discriminationUnlawful differential treatment toward individuals based on their physical, mental, or cognitive impairments.

  • Disability harassmentHostile or offensive conduct directed at individuals with disabilities, creating a hostile work environment or denying equal access to services.

  • Disability RightsLegal protections and advocacy efforts aimed at promoting the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities.

  • Reasonable accommodationModification or adjustment made by an employer, educational institution, or public entity to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions or access services.

Divorce & Family

  • AlimonyA court-ordered financial support paid by one spouse to the other after divorce or legal separation.

  • AnnulmentAn annulment is a legal decree that retroactively declares a marriage invalid or null and void.

  • Child CustodyChild custody refers to the legal determination of parental rights and responsibilities regarding the care and upbringing of minor children.

  • DivorceDivorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body.

  • MarriageMarriage is a legally recognized union between two individuals, establishing rights and obligations.

  • Sole custodySole custody is a child custody arrangement where one parent has full legal and physical custody of the child.

Employee Rights

  • Constructive DischargeWhen an employer makes working conditions so intolerable that a reasonable employee is forced to resign.

  • DiscriminationThe unjust or unequal treatment of an employee based on protected characteristics like race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.

  • Disparate TreatmentIntentional discrimination against one or more individuals based on their protected characteristics.

  • Employment-at-willA doctrine that allows an employer to terminate an employee for any reason, without cause, as long as it's not illegal discrimination or retaliation.

  • Hostile Work EnvironmentA workplace where offensive or abusive behavior creates an intimidating, hostile or abusive atmosphere for employees.

  • Wrongful TerminationAn unlawful firing of an employee in contravention of employment laws, contractual obligations or public policies.

Estate Planning

  • ExecutorThe person or entity legally appointed by a testator to administer their estate, manage assets, pay debts, and distribute property per their will's instructions.

  • IntestateIntestate refers to the condition of dying without a legally valid will in place.

  • Intestate successionThe legal process by which a deceased person's estate is distributed to heirs according to state laws when no valid will exists.

  • ProbateA comprehensive court-supervised legal process of authenticating a deceased person's will, appointing an estate administrator, settling debts and taxes, and distributing remaining assets.

  • TestamentA testament is a will or other instrument that disposes of one's possessions after death.

  • TestatorA testator is a person who makes and executes a valid will.

  • WillA will is a legally binding document that outlines an individual's wishes for the distribution of their assets after death.


  • EscrowEscrow is a legal arrangement where a third party holds assets or funds until specific conditions are met by transacting parties.

  • LitigationThe process of resolving disputes through the court system by filing a lawsuit.


  • AlienA foreign-born individual who is not a citizen of the country they reside in.

  • immigrantA foreign-born individual who has been granted lawful permanent resident status in a country.

  • Lawful Permanent ResidentAn immigrant who has been granted the right to live and work permanently in a country (also known as a "green card" holder in the U.S.).

  • NaturalizationThe legal process through which an immigrant acquires citizenship or nationality of a foreign country.

  • NonimmigrantA foreign national admitted to a country for a temporary period and a specific purpose, such as study, work, or travel.

  • RefugeeAn individual who has been forced to flee their home country due to persecution, war, or violence.


  • BeneficiaryThe person or entity designated to receive benefits or proceeds from an insurance policy.

  • ClaimA formal request for payment or benefit under an insurance policy after a covered event occurs.

  • CoverageThe specific risks, losses, or events outlined in an insurance policy for which the insurer agrees to provide financial protection or compensation.

  • InsuredThe individual or entity that purchases insurance coverage and whose interests are protected by the insurance policy.

  • InsurerThe insurance company or entity that provides insurance coverage and assumes risk in exchange for premiums.

  • PolicyThe written contract between the insured and the insurance company that outlines the terms, conditions, and coverages of the insurance agreement.

  • PremiumThe amount paid by an insured to an insurance company for coverage under a policy.

Intellectual Property

  • CopyrightThe exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute an original literary, artistic, or intellectual work.

  • Intellectual PropertyCreations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, and names, that are protected by law.

  • PatentA legally-enforced right to exclusively make, use, and sell an invention for a limited time.

  • Public DomainWorks that are not protected by intellectual property rights and are freely available for public use.

  • RoyaltyA payment made to an intellectual property owner for the use or exploitation of their intellectual property rights.

  • TrademarkA legally registered symbol, word, phrase, or design that distinguishes a company's goods or services, protecting the brand identity in the marketplace.

Real Estate

  • DeedA deed is a legal instrument that conveys ownership rights of real property from one party to another.

  • EvictionEviction is the legal process of removing a tenant or occupant from a rental property due to violation of the lease terms.

  • ForeclosureForeclosure is a legal process where a lender seizes and sells mortgaged property due to borrower's failure to repay the loan.

  • leaseA lease is a legal contract that conveys the right to use or occupy real property for a specified period in exchange for consideration.

  • mortgageA mortgage is a legal instrument securing a loan with real property as collateral, allowing lender recourse if borrower defaults.

  • Real estateReal estate refers to the legal ownership and rights associated with landed properties, including residential, commercial, industrial, and other types of real estate.

  • TitleTitle denotes the legal evidence and documentation that establishes an individual's or entity's legitimate ownership rights and claims over a specific real property asset.