Absolute divorce: A court order terminating the marriage. For more details on the requirements for an absolute divorce, click here. We can also assist you to file your uncontested divorce anywhere in North Carolina. Visit Irvine Law Firm Online
Alimony: Monetary support paid by a supporting spouse to a dependent spouse after they separate. It is often referred to as “spousal support”. Read more about alimony.
Appeal: An extra level of judicial review of a case once it has been decided. For instance, appeals from Small Claims Courts result in a de novo hearing in District Court. De novo means that the case is tried again from the start. Appeals from Civil District Court and Superior Court are handled by the Appellate Courts of North Carolina and generally involve a review of the trial below and do not allow new evidence to be submitted.
Best interest of child: This is the guiding principle in child custody cases. In determining the custody of a child, the judge must first determine what is best for the child. The judge may consider any aspects of the child or parent’s lives that he or she believes to be relevant in determining the child’s best interest. Read more about child custody.
Bid Deposit: The amount that a high bidder must deposit after a public sale, such as a foreclosure sale, in order to secure the bid. Information for Foreclosure Bidders
Child Custody: The care, control and decision making authority of a parent over children when the parents are separated or divorced. Read more about child custody.
Child Support: Monetary support paid by one parent to the other parent for the benefit and care of the parents’ children. Read more about child support.
Collaborative Law: An alternative to litigation in court. Collaborative law is not an adversarial process. Instead, the participants agree in advance to make a good faith effort to settle their case out of court. Read more about collaborative law.
Contract: A binding legal agreement. A contract can be verbal or in writing. It generally requires each side to perform some type of benefit for the other. An example of a simple contract is an agreement where John agrees to mow Bill’s lawn for $25.
Custody Mediation: Settlement discussions conducted by a neutral, impartial third party with the goal being an agreement between parents regarding custody of their children. Read more about mediation.
Deed of Trust: A security interest given by the owner of real estate to another, generally to secure a debt owed by the owner of the real estate. A deed of trust may also be referred to as a mortgage.
Dependent Spouse: A spouse, whether husband or wife, who is actually substantially dependent upon the other spouse for his or her maintenance and support or is substantially in need of maintenance and support from the other spouse. Read more about alimony.
Distributive Award: A court ordered payment by one party in an equitable distribution case to the other party to make the distribution of marital property equitable. Read more about equitable distribution.
Domestic Violence: Attempting to cause bodily injury, or intentionally causing bodily injury to a member of one’s household or placing a member of the household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress.
Equitable Distribution: The procedure for dividing the marital estate (assets and debts) of a divorcing couple. Equitable means fair. An equitable distribution is not necessarily an equal distribution. Read more about equitable distribution.
Equitable Distribution Inventory Affidavit (EDIA): A list of the real and personal property of the spouses which includes a description of the properties, whether they are marital or separate, the value as of the date of separation and the spouse’s proposed distribution of each item. The EDIA also includes similar information for marital debts. The EDIA is executed by the spouse under oath and is filed with the Court and served on the opposing party. Read more about equitable distribution.
Ex Parte: Generally refers to a court order granted to one party to a dispute without the other party being present or participating in the hearing. Often an initial domestic violence protective order is entered by the judge ex parte. It can also refer to a communication with a judge without the other side to the dispute participating in the communication.
Family Financial Mediation: Settlement negotiations conducted with a neutral mediator in an attempt to resolve the financial issues arising from a dissolving marriage with trial. Read more about mediation.
Foreclosure: The remedy for the creditor when a debtor does not comply with the loan agreement and the debtor has pledged land as security for the debt. The remedy of foreclosure generally results in the real estate pledged as security being sold. Read more about foreclosure.
Guardian Ad Litem: A guardian appointed by the court to represent the interest of someone in a lawsuit. Usually, a Guardian Ad Litem is appointed to represent the interests of minors or incompetent people.
Joint Custody: An arrangement whereby the parents or custodians share in the physical care and control and/or the decision-making authority for minor children. Read more about child custody.
Legal Custody: Although the custody statutes do not recognize such a term, legal custody generally refers to the ability of one or both parents to make major life decisions on behalf of the minor children. Read more about child custody.
Lien: A legal interest in real or personal property granted to a creditor of the owner of that property to secure a debt owed to the creditor. Some liens are imposed by contract, such as an interest in a car bought on credit. Some liens are imposed by law, such as a contractor’s lien imposed on real property improved by the contractor.
Lump Sum Alimony: Support paid from one spouse to the other in a single lump sum rather than on a periodic basis. Read more about alimony.
Marital Debt: Debt incurred by either spouse or both spouses for a marital purpose during the marriage and before the date of separation. Read more about equitable distribution.
Marital Property: Real and personal property acquired by either spouse or both spouses during the marriage and before the date of separation and still owned on the date of separation. Marital property does not include “separate property” (see definition for “separate property” below). Read more about equitable distribution.
Mediation: A form of alternative dispute resolution where a mediator assists the parties to a dispute in negotiating a mutually agreeable resolution of the dispute. Read more about mediation.
No Fault Divorce: An absolute divorce without any allegations of fault by either party. In North Carolina, it is not necessary to prove fault in order to obtain a divorce. Read more about divorce.
Permanent Alimony: Support paid by one spouse to the other spouse. Permanent alimony refers to support paid until either spouse dies or until the recipient remarries or cohabitates. Read more about alimony.
Post-Nuptial Agreement: An agreement between spouses to provide for property division and support should the parties separate and divorce. A post-nuptial agreement can also be used during the marriage even if the spouses do not intend to separate but want to memorialize something they have agreed upon. Read more about family law.
Post Separation Support (PSS): Spousal support paid during the pending domestic lawsuit. Read more about Post Separation Support.
Power of Attorney: A document giving someone else the power to take certain legal actions on behalf of the person signing the power of attorney. Read more about estate planning.
Pre-Marital Agreement: A written agreement between a couple before marriage to decide in advance issues of property division and support. This Agreement is sometimes referred to as a pre-nuptial agreement. Read more about pre-marital agreements.
Pre -Trial Order: An order entered by the court before trial that sets forth the parties’ witnesses, exhibits and stipulations. In equitable distribution cases, the pre-trial order reflects the parties’ contentions regarding classification, valuation and proposed distribution of marital assets. Read more about equitable distribution.
Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO): A court order entered to govern the division and distribution of a portion of one spouse’s retirement or pension benefits to the other spouse. Read more about equitable distribution.
Separate Debt: A debt incurred by either spouse before the date of marriage, after the date of separation, or incurred during the marriage for a non-marital purpose. Read more about equitable distribution.
Separate Property: All real and personal property acquired by either spouse before marriage or acquired by a spouse by inheritance or gift during the marriage. Read more about equitable distribution.
Separation: In North Carolina, separation is defined as a husband and wife living apart from each other with the intention on the part of one of them that the separation be permanent. Read more about divorce.
Separation Agreement: A contract between Husband and Wife to resolve some or all issues arising from their separation. Read more about separation agreements.
Statute of Limitations: The time within which a person must file suit in order to enforce a certain type of legal claim. For instance, the statute of limitations for most negligence cases is three years.
Supporting Spouse: A spouse, whether husband or wife, upon whom the other spouse is actually substantially dependent for maintenance and support or from whom such spouse is substantially in need of maintenance and support. Read more about alimony.
Uncontested Divorce: An absolute divorce proceeding where the Defendant does not raise any objections and the only issue is the granting of the divorce. Read more about divorce. We can also assist you to file your uncontested divorce anywhere in North Carolina. Visit Irvine Law Firm Online
Valuation: Establishing the fair market value of marital property in an equitable distribution setting either by considering the opinions of the parties, expert appraisals or other evidence of value. Ultimately, the judge determines the value of marital property in an equitable distribution trial. Read more about equitable distribution.
Visitation: The times agreed to by the parties or ordered by the court when a party without custody of the minor children is allowed to visit with the children. Read more about child custody.
Voluntary Dismissal (with and without prejudice): Voluntary ending of a lawsuit. This can be without prejudice, which means you can re-file the lawsuit under certain conditions; or it can be with prejudice, which means that the lawsuit is done forever. If the dismissal does not specify, it is without prejudice.