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Defendant: The person against whom the person who is served the divorce action is brought.

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Deposition: A person's out-of-court, sworn testimony that is reduced to writing usually by a court reporter for later use in the lawsuit. Except for a judge not being present, it is conducted in a manner similar to trial.

Discovery: Required disclosure, at a party's request, of information that relates to the litigation. In divorce cases, it usually relates to financial information. Upstate, disclosure can also relate to grounds for divorce and custody issues. Dissipation: The wasteful use of an asset for an illegal or inequitable purpose, such as a spouse's use of marital property for personal benefit when a divorce is imminent.

It is intended to deprive the other spouse of the use and enjoyment of the asset. Divorce: The legal ending of the marriage between a husband and wife so that each is free to marry again. Earning Capacity: A person's ability or power to earn money, given the person's talent, skills, training and experience. Emancipation: The release of a child from the responsibility and control of a parent or guardian.

Under New York law, child support must be paid until the age If a child marries, enters the military or becomes self-supporting, before turning 21, the court may consider the child emancipated, and child support may be terminated. Enjoin: To legally prohibit or restrain by a court injunction order. Equitable Distribution: The way marital property must be divided by law in a divorce action in New York State.

Distribution is based on various factors presented to the court. Evidence: Something including testimony, documents and tangible objects that tends to prove or disprove the existence of an alleged fact. Exhibit: A document, record, or other tangible object formally introduced as evidence in court.

Ex Parte Communication : An application or statement made to the court by one party including counsel to a proceeding without notice to, or in the absence of, the other party. This type of communication to the court is generally prohibited, except for scheduling issues. Expert: A person who, through education or experience, has developed skills or knowledge of a particular subject, so that he or she may form an opinion that will assist the judge or jury in making a decision.

Family Court: The Family Court in New York State has the jurisdiction to hear cases involving child support, custody, visitation, spousal support and family offenses Orders of Protection. A divorce action cannot be heard in this court. Fiduciary: One who must use a high standard of care in managing another's money or property. Finding of Fact: A determination by a judge or jury of a fact as proved by the evidence in the record, usually presented at the trial or hearing. Forensic: Used in courts of law. It relates to the application of a particular subject of expertise such as medicine, science or accounting to the law.

Good Faith: Honesty of intention; absence of intent to defraud. Grounds: Legally sufficient reason for granting of divorce in Supreme Court.

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Guardian ad litem : A guardian, usually a lawyer, appointed by the court to help a minor or incompetent person in a lawsuit. In a divorce case, the guardian ad litem does not act as an attorney for the child , but reports to the court on what is in the child's best interests. Hearsay: Testimony that is given by a witness who tells not what he or she knows personally, but what others have said which is therefore dependent on the credibility of someone other than the witness. That testimony is generally inadmissible under the rules of evidence.

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In Camera Inspection: A trial judge's private consideration of evidence. Typically, sensitive information about child custody or business records are reviewed in camera, not in open court. The number is used to identify a case in that court, and should be indicated on all papers served on the parties and filed with the court. The number is either: a purchased; or b obtained after a Poor Person Application is filed and approved by the court. Interrogatory: A written question or a set of questions given to the other party in a lawsuit as part of discovery.

Irretrievable Breakdown: the relationship is impossible to repair for a period of at least six months. Judgment of Divorce: A document signed by the court granting the divorce. Jurisdiction: The authority of a court to act in particular matters. Law Guardian: see Attorney for Child. Maintenance: Support paid by one party to the marriage for the support of the other party to the marriage pursuant to a final Judgment of Divorce sometimes also referred to as "post-divorce maintenance" or "spousal support".

Marital Property: Any property, regardless of which person is named as owner, that the Plaintiff or Defendant obtained from the date of marriage to the beginning of the divorce action. A house, car, IRA, bank account s , pension, annuity, business and advanced degree are all examples of marital property. However, an inheritance, a gift from someone other than your spouse, compensation for personal injuries, may be deemed separate property. See Separate Property. Mediation: A neutral person called a "mediator" helps the parties try to reach a mutually-acceptable resolution of the dispute.

The mediator does not decide the case, but helps the parties communicate so they can try to settle the dispute themselves. Mediation may be inappropriate if a party has a signficant advantage in power or control over the other. Notice of Entry: A form given to a party saying that the final judgment of divorce was entered in the County Clerk's Office. A copy of the judgment, date-stamped to indicate the filing, is also given to the party with this document. The time to file a Notice on Appeal commences upon service of the judgment of divorce with Notice of Entry.

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Note of Issue: A form filed with the court to notify the court that all documents are ready for the court's review or that the action is ready for trial. A separate fee is charged for filing and a Calendar Number is issued.

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See Calendar Number. Order: A direction of the court. Failure to comply may result in contempt. See Contempt. Order of Protection: An order issued by a court which directs one person to stop certain conduct, such as harassment, against another person. The order may also direct the person to be excluded from the residence and to stay away from the other person, his or her home, school, place of employment and his or her children.

Understanding Family Law (New Title)

Poor Person Application: An application made to the court, by either the Plaintiff or Defendant, stating that because of insufficient income he or she is unable to pay the court fees normally required for divorce actions. If the application is granted by the court, the usual court costs for the divorce action are waived. Pro Se: Self-Represented Appearing on one's own behalf without an attorney.

Removal of Barriers to Remarriage Form: This form is necessary when the marriage was solemnized in a religious ceremony by a member of the clergy, minister of any religion, or a leader of The Society for Ethical Culture. It requires the party obtaining the divorce to acknowledge that he or she has taken all steps to remove religious barriers to the other party's remarriage. Separate Property: Property considered by the courts to belong only to one spouse or the other.

It is not available for equitable distribution. Separation: One spouse's absence from the marital household prior to divorce. Separation Agreement: A written agreement on support for the child ren , spousal maintenance payments, division of marital property, responsibility for debts bills , residence of child ren , child care and related issues. This agreement must be formally signed and acknowledged and covers the period before divorce but after the separation.

See Acknowledgment. Service: Formal delivery of a legal paper such as delivery of a Writ, Summons with Notice, or Summons and Verified Complaint officially notifying the recipient that he or she is a party in a lawsuit. Settlement Agreement: A formal, voluntary, written agreement on all of the issues surrounding divorce.

It must be formally signed and acknowledged. Statute of Limitations: The time limit in which to bring an action. Stipulation: A voluntary agreement between parties on an issue or issues related to the divorce proceedings. Subpoena: A legal order requiring a person's attendance at a particular time and place to testify as a witness or to provide certain documents that are requested. Failure to comply can be contempt of court. Also known as judicial subpoena. Summons with Notice: A legal document which starts the Plaintiff's action for a divorce and requires the Defendant to serve a Notice of Appearance in the action within a specific period of time.

This document is initially filed with the County Clerk 's Office and a copy is then served upon the Defendant to give notice that the Plaintiff has started a divorce action. It states the reason s for the divorce and may also include requests for additional relief such as: child support, custody, visitation, spousal maintenance and equitable distribution. Support: Payment for housing, food, clothing, and related living expenses. Divorce actions may be started only in this court.

Third Party: A party to a court action who is not the Plaintiff or Defendant. Unemancipated Children: Children under the age of 21 who are supported by a parent or guardian. See Emancipation. Uncontested Divorce: An uncontested divorce occurs when: a there are no disagreements between you and your spouse over any financial or divorce-related issues i. Verified: Sworn before a notary public that the facts made in that document are true.

Generally, a restriction placed on a right; specifically, a time-bar within which legal proceedings must be commenced, failing which a claimant can no longer sue. Title: Copyright Law. By: David Vaver.

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