Family Legal Terms & Other Resources

Family Legal Terms


Divorce
— The legal dissolution of a marriage, during which decisions are made regarding the exact nature of the dissolution and the nature of how both parties will interact going forward.

Child support — Financial obligation from a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to meet the children’s needs.

Parenting plan — Agreement formerly known as child custody that lays out each parent’s rights and responsibilities in regards to their children.

Time-sharing — Formerly known as visitation. A schedule of time for parents to spend with their children.

Alimony — Financial support from one spouse to another following a marriage. There are different forms and different durations.

Modification — Asking the court to change the terms of your divorce or paternity judgment to better suit changed circumstances.

Prenuptial agreement — Agreement entered into prior to marriage that dictates control of property during the marriage and in the event of divorce.

Postnuptial agreement — Agreement entered into after a marriage has been entered into that dictates control of property during the marriage and in the event of divorce.

Relocation — When one parent who is part of a parenting plan seeks to relocate in such a way that it will have an impact upon the parenting plan, that parent must secure the other parent’s permission or the leave of the court.

Adoption — When someone assumes the legal status of the parent of a child of which he or she is not a biological parent.

Paternity — Having the court legally recognize you as a child’s parent.

Uncontested divorce — Divorce without litigation is referred to as uncontested.

Domestic violence — Physical abuse between those involved in some sort of significant relationship such as husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend.

Restraining order — A court order forcing one party to refrain from contacting the party that secures such an order.

Documents Needed for Family Law Case

  • List of monthly income and expenses
  • List of all assets and liabilities (cars, trucks, real property, bank accounts, credit card balances, loan balances, etc.)
  • Tax returns for past 3 years or W-2, 1099 and K-1 if you did not file a tax return for any of the previous 3 years
  • Pay stubs or other evidence of earned income for the last 3 months
  • A statement by you identifying the amount and source of all income received from any source during the past 3 months, if not reflected on the pay stubs produced
  • All loan applications and financial statements prepared or used within the past 12 months, whether for the purpose of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit or for any other purpose
  • All deeds within the last 3 years
  • All promissory notes within the last 12 months
  • All present leases
  • All periodic statements from the last 3 months for all checking accounts, and from the last 12 months for all other accounts (for example, savings accounts, money market funds, certificates of deposit, etc.), regardless of whether or not the account has been closed
  • All brokerage account statements in which you or the other party to this action held within the last 12 months or holds an interest
  • The most recent statement for any profit sharing, retirement, deferred compensation, or pension plan (for example, IRA, 401(k), 403(b), SEP, KEOGH, or other similar account
  • The declarations page, the last periodic statement, and the certificate for all life insurance policies insuring your life or the life of your spouse, whether group insurance or otherwise, and all current health and dental insurance cards covering either of the parties and/or their dependent children
  • Corporate, partnership, and trust tax returns for the last 3 tax years if you have an ownership or interest in a corporation, partnership, or trust greater than or equal to 30%
  • All promissory notes for the last 12 months, all credit card and charge account statements and other records showing your indebtedness as of the date of the filing of this action and for the last 3 months, and all present lease agreements
  • All written premarital or marital agreements entered into at any time between the parties to this marriage, whether before or during the marriage. 
  • Additionally, if this is a modification proceeding, all written agreements entered into between you and the other party at any time since the order to be modified was entered
  • All documents and tangible evidence supporting your claim of special equity or nonmarital status of an asset or debt for the time period from the date of acquisition of the asset or debt to the date of production or from the date of marriage, if based on premarital acquisition
  • Any court orders directing you to pay or receive spousal or child support.