Glossary of Legal Terms Throughout Family Law

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A

ABSENT PARENT
A parent who no longer lives with his / her children.

ACCESS
The right of a non-custodial parent to spend time with the child(ren).

ALIMONY
Regular payments by one party of a marriage to another in the US 

AFFIDAVIT 
A written statement of facts that are sworn or affirmed to be true.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
Resolving conflict through means other than going to court. Examples of alternative dispute resolution include: arbitration, mediation, and collaborative family law.

ANSWER
A response to an Application that may also include a claim against the Applicant. An Answer must be served within 30 days of receiving the Application.

APPLICATION
A document that commences a divorce proceeding in court. An Application contains claims against the other spouse. Either spouse may commence proceedings by serving and filing an Application.

ARBITRATION
A process where a neutral third party is selected by the disputing parties to make a decision on the issue(s) in dispute. Arbitration is one form of alternative dispute resolution.

ASSESSMENT
An analysis by a qualified professional who investigates, assesses and reports on the needs of the child(ren) and the ability of the parties to meet those needs.


B

BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD
Circumstances that must be taken into account by the court when making orders concerning custody and access. The factors the court will consider include the child's needs, interests, views and preferences, and cultural and family connections.

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