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Common Terms You May Hear in Family Law Cases

Family law is an area of the law unlike any other. Florida has very specific laws dealing with matters of the family, including dissolution of marriage, child custody, child support, and more. Family courts also have their own rules and procedures that may be different from regular civil courts. For these reasons, issues involving your marriage or children require special attention from an attorney who has extensive experience with such cases.
Florida family laws cover a wide range of topics and set out specific provisions for the handling of family matters by the courts. Therefore, the vocabulary regarding family law cases is very specific, and may include numerous terms with which most people may be unfamiliar. The following are just a few common terms that you may hear throughout your family law case, as well as a brief explanation of their meanings.
Abandonment: A term that refers to when one party has deserted their spouse and children and has failed to provide support or to have a substantial or meaningful relationship with them.
Alimony: Another term for spousal support or maintenance following a divorce. Under certain circumstances, a court may order one of four types of alimony–bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent.
Arbitration: The process in which a neutral third party acts as a private judge to rule on a divorce agreement out of court. An arbitration agreement is legally binding with limited exceptions.
Collaborative law: Divorcing spouses and their attorneys agree in advance not to take the case to court and work together to come to an agreement. If the case does go to litigation, each party must find a new attorney.
Contested divorce: A divorce in which the parties cannot agree on one or more provisions of the divorce agreement, including custody, property division, support, and more.
Ex-Parte: A divorce proceeding that can take place, under limited circumstances, with only one of the spouses involved.
Guardian Ad Litem: A person a court may appoint to advocate for a child’s best interests in custody or support proceedings.
Mediation: A process using an impartial third party who is trained to assist parties in negotiating a divorce agreement without having to litigate.
No-Fault Divorce: Type of divorce in Florida in which a spouse does not have to allege that the other party did something wrong, such as adultery.

Parenting Plan: A plan the court approves that details how each parent will share and be responsible for the daily upbringing of the child, including visitation schedules.
Petition: The document filed with the court requesting the dissolution of your marriage.
Prenuptial Agreement: A contract drafted and signed before marriage that set out provisions should the couple get divorced.
Restraining Order: A court order that can protect a victim of domestic violence and their children from contact with the abuser.
Uncontested Divorce: A divorce in which both spouses agree on all terms of the divorce agreement without requiring litigation, mediation, or other negotiations.
These are only some of the terms that you may hear in family law matters. If you have any type of family issue or questions regarding the law, contact experienced Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale family lawyer Alan R. Burton for help today.

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