The Law

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Glossary of Terms


Access
 - This is the old term for Contact. See Contact.

Abduction - The wrongful removal of a child from the parent with Residence, or for more than a month from the parent with Parental esponsibility, without their permission.

Adoption - An application to Court for the official transfer of all parental rights that a biological parent has to a child and the assumption by the adopting parent of all such rights.

Absent Parent - The parent that does not live in the family home or with the children.

Adultery  - Sexual intercourse that takes place while you are married, at any time before a Decree Absolute, with someone of the opposite sex who is not your husband or wife.

Affidavit  - A formal statement, sworn on oath to be true by the person making it.

Ancillary Relief - Ancillary relief is divorce proceedings which are that part of the process which resolves any financial issues between the parties to the marriage.

Answer  - The formal defence to a divorce petition.

Bond - A legal mechanism for securing monies against real property.

CAFCASS  - The Children And Family Court Advisory And Support Services for England and Wales.

Calderbank Offer - An offer of settlement made in matrimonial financial proceedings. A Calderbank offer is marked "without prejudice save as to costs". This means that the trial judge will only be made aware of the offer once the case has been concluded and when one party asks that the other should pay the costs of the proceedings because the other side have unreasonably rejected the offer. Calderbank offers are no longer effective in England but remain so in the Channel Islands. Such offers relate only to financial proceedings and not in relation to children.

Care and Control - This term has now been replaced by Residence which confirms where a child is to live on a day to day basis.

In Chambers  - This term is when the District Judge or Judge considers an application in private. This is less formal than open court.

Change of Name Deed - The formal process for change of a surname.

Charge  - A charge on a property is like an additional mortgage. It gives the holder of the charge security as he/she has to be paid out of the proceeds of the eventual sale of the house.

Child(ren) - A child or children of the marriage or relationship under 18 at the time of the separation or divorce. A disabled and dependant child of any age is considered.

Child Support - Another name or referral for maintenance.

Civil Partnership  - The Civil Partnership Act enables a same-sex couple to register as civil partners of each other. It provides same-sex couples who form a civil partnership with an equality of treatment in a wide range of legal matters with those opposite-sex couples who enter into a civil marriage.


Clean Break Order -  The parties have agreed an arrangement where each agrees to make no further claim on the other, with the exception of child maintenance. A clean break order will provide for the dismissal of maintenance or the possibility of maintenance for the spouses.

Cohabitation - Living together as husband and wife without being married.

Collaborative Law  - A alternative approach built on mutual problem - solving where both parties and their lawyers pledge to work together to negotiate an agreement without going to court.

Committal - A formal application to Court to commit a person to Prison for breach of a Court Order.

Common Law - Common Law is a system of law in place in England and its colonies.

Conciliation  - This is a type of mediation usually in court which helps couples to sort out arrangements for children. If it is outside of the court process, it is usually known as mediation.


Consent order  - An order made by a court in terms agreed by both husband and wife.

Contact  - Previously known as Access. The arrangement for the child or children to visit or stay with the parent who no longer lives with them. Indirect contact means the exchange of letters, telephone calls or presents. Contact orders can also be made in favour of others, for example grandparents.

Contact Centre -  This is a place where a non-resident parent may have supervised (or supported) contact with his or her children. Its primary role is to support and promote contact between those parents, grandparents, guardians and children.

Contact Order - A Court Order requiring the Resident parent to allow the child to have contact with someone else usually the absent parent or sibling. This can remain in force until the child is 18 or has completed full time education.

Co-Respondent  - The person with whom your spouse (the respondent) has committed adultery. It is no longer legally required for this person to be named.

Contempt of Court - The wilful and deliberate breach of a Court Order, judgment or decree punishable by a fine, imprisonment or both.

Conveyance - A formal legal document to convey real property.

Counsel  - Another name for an Advocate or Lawyer.


Cross-petition  - This is when the Respondent argues different grounds for the divorce from those of the Petitioner.

CSA Guidelines  - These relate to the now defunct Child Support Agency in England. These rules are often adopted as guidelines in Channel Island divorce cases whereby the absent parent is required to pay 15% of his/her net income for the maintenance of a child or 20% if there are two children or 25% if there are three or more children. The Rules are complex and provide for reductions in the level of maintenance where the child or children stay overnight for more than 52 nights per annum.

Custody  - The old term for Residence. See Residence.

Decree Nisi  - A provisional order showing that the court is satisfied.

Decree Absolute  - This is the final court order bringing the marriage to an end.

Deed Poll - The formal process for change of a surname.

Defined Contact Order - An Order of the Court fixing the dates, times and places for the children to see the absent parent.

Directions Hearing  - A time in the divorce proceedings when the judge considers the petition and the affidavit in support of the petition. The Judge can ask for further information to be provided before a decree nisi is pronounced. This is also the stage in children's applications when the Judge considers the Statement of Arrangements for Children and can ask for further evidence before making any order.

Disclosure  - This is the process of providing full and frank financial details about a person's capital, income, assets and liabilities . This is either done voluntarily, or the court can order it.

Divorce - The legal ending of a marriage.

Domestic Abuse - This is very widely defined to include physical, verbal and emotional harm. Domestic abuse includes physical violence, extreme or excessive threatening, insulting or intimidating behaviour and any other form of abuse which directly or indirectly may have caused harm to the other party or to the child or which may give rise to the risk of harm.

Domicile  - The domicile of origin is normally where you are born unless a new domicile of choice is adopted by taking up permanent residence in another country.

Duxbury Calculation - This is a formula for calculating the lump sum required to achieve a clean break. It takes into account the annual maintenance requirement and life expectancy of the recipient.

Equity  - Refers to the net value of a property after mortgages, expenses and other charges are paid off.

Ex-parte Application - An application to the Court made without notice to the other party.

Father - The genetic father of a child, whether or not he has parental responsibility, or an adoptive father.

Family Law - Collectively, those laws dealing with matters of significant impact on family relationships, particularly adoption, divorce, residence, and abuse.

Final Order - The making of a Final Order terminates a marriage.

Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing - An informal hearing before a judge where the Court, having considered all the relevant documentation, gives an indication as to the likely outcome in the event that the matter were to proceed to trial. If no settlement is reached a different judge will deal with the final hearing without being privy to what was said during the original one.

Financial Provision - This is another name for Ancillary Relief, for example, all the financial orders that can be made on divorce namely maintenance for spouses and children, lump sum orders or the vesting of real property.

Financial Statement - This is a standard form providing basic information with regard to each party's circumstances and assets. This is filed together with any Consent Order or Judicial Separation.

Finding of Fact - A hearing fixed by the Court to determine disputed facts of domestic abuse or violence where relevant to issues of residence and contact.

First Appointment - A hearing when the Court will decide what further disclosure is required from each party in relation to financial matters or evidence.

Form A Guernsey - This is a standard format questionnaire which each party is required to complete in the course of any financial application in divorce proceedings.

Form B Guernsey - Court application for financial provision and ancillary relief.

Form C Guernsey - Court application in relation to children.

Guernsey & Alderney Family Court Advisory Service - A States funded agency which represents the interest of children and young people in public and private law proceedings.

Habitual Residence - Where you live. For legal purposes this is important because it can determine in which jurisdiction proceedings are brought. For divorce purposes it is necessary for one party to be either domiciled in the jurisdiction or have lived there for at least the last twelve months.

Harassment - A course of conduct or behaviour intended to disturb, provoke or upset.

Injunction  - A court order which tells someone to refrain from doing something. Penalties for not abiding by the order can include a fine or imprisonment in some cases.

Inter-parties Application -  An application to the Court where notice is given to the other party. Most Court applications are inter-parties as opposed to an ex-parte application where no such notice is given.

Joint Tenancy  - A form of joint ownership of land in which both parties share the whole title to the property. If one party dies the survivor will own the entire property.

Judicial Separation  - This involves a court procedure which is virtually identical to divorce. The essential difference is that the court pronounces a decree of Judicial Separation rather than a divorce. This means that you and your spouse would remain married.

Jurisdiction - The authority of a particular Court to rule on a specific legal matter.

Legal Aid - This is the provision of financial assistance to people otherwise unable to afford legal representation and access to the court system. Legal aid is regarded as central in providing access to justice by ensuring equality before the law, the right to a lawyer and the right to a fair trial.

Liquid Assets - Cash assets or assets easily convertible into cash such as net equity in any property(s), savings, shares, pensions or endowment and other policies.

Lump sum  - A payment of a capital amount of money.

Maintenance  - Money one spouse pays to the other for ongoing financial support on a regular basis, either just for the spouse or for children too. A maintenance order can remain in force until the child is 18 or has completed full time ducation.

Maintenance Pending Suit - Temporary financial support of one spouse or children whilst the divorce is pending.

Matrimonial Home  - A property where the married couple lives or have lived together. It can either be rented or owned.

Mediation - A process in which an impartial third person assists those involved in a family breakdown to reach their own agreed and informed decisions about some or all of the issues relating to or arising from the separation, divorce, children, finance or property.

Mesher Order - A type of Ancillary Relief order made in divorce proceedings which allows for the postponement of the sale of the matrimonial home upon specific triggers. Typically these include the youngest child attaining the age of 18 years or completion of full time education whichever shall be the later or the earlier death of the custodial parent or voluntary sale of the property. The order also provides as to how the net proceeds of sale are to be divided between the parties and who pays what pending sale.

Mirror Order - An order granted in another jurisdiction to reflect the terms of the order granted in the home jurisdiction. Mirror Orders are registered in other jurisdictions to ensure enforceability.

Mortgagee  - This is usually a bank or building society, but it can be anyone that lends you money to buy a property on the security of the property.


Mortgagor  - This is the borrower who obtains the mortgage.

Mother - The woman who gave birth to a child or an adoptive mother.

Non - Molestation Order  - This order is to prohibit someone using or threatening violence against you or intimidating, harassing or pestering you.

Nullity - A Petition filed at Court seeking a declaration that the marriage is either void or voidable, for example, if the marriage was celebrated through fraud, threats or duress or has not been consummated or is bigamous.

Occupation Order  - An order which regulates occupation rights to the matrimonial home. A spouse can be excluded from the home or from a certain part of it.

Ouster Order - A Court order requiring one party to leave the family home, to prevent re-entry or to come within a specific distance.

Parent - A mother or father who has parental responsibility.

Parental Responsibility  - This means the rights and responsibilities that mothers and fathers have to their children. Non-married fathers can acquire Parental Responsibility through marriage to the child's mother, by entering into a Parental Responsibility agreement with the child's mother or by applying to the court for a Parental Responsibility Order.

Paternity - Legal confirmation of the parental relationship between a father and his child.

Pension Sharing  - The division of a pension fund between two spouses.

Periodical payments  - Another term for maintenance which can be paid weekly, monthly or annually.

Personal Property - All property other than the right of ownership of land and other limited rights in land. Personal property is the opposite of real property.

Petition  - This is the document requesting a divorce or a separation.

Petitioner  - The person who starts the divorce proceedings by filing a divorce petition in court.

Post-Nuptial Agreement - A financial settlement agreed between the parties after they have separated.

Power of Arrest - Specific power included in injunction orders enabling the Police to arrest a party who they believe to be in breach of an injunction order.

Practice Direction - A formal directive from the Court stipulating how formal Court procedures are to be undertaken.

Prayer  - The part of the Petition or Answer which asks the court to make orders in favour of the Petitioner or Respondent.

Premarital Agreement  - A Premarital Agreement (also referred to as a Prenuptial Agreement) is a formal written agreement entered into by a couple before marriage. Its purpose is to record the parties' intentions as to the division of assets in the event that the marriage breaks down. The courts are not obliged to enforce such agreements although they now seem to be moving towards acceptance of them.

Pre-Nuptial Agreement - A written legal agreement between a couple made before they marry which sets out what will happen in the event of divorce.

Private Law Proceedings - Applications between individuals such as applications for parental responsibility, residence and contact. The opposite of private law proceedings, public law, relates generally to care proceedings in relation to children.

Prohibited Steps Order  - This is a court order used to prohibit something being done to a child, for example removing a child out of the Islands.

Protocol - A set of guidelines or rules usually produced by the Court or some other agency.

Provisional Order - An order granted as part of the divorce process whereby the Court confirms that the grounds of divorce are made out. Upon granting of a Provisional Order, the Final Order usually follows a month or so later.

Public Law Proceedings - Proceedings brought by the State against an individual the most common of which is care proceedings.

Real Property - Land or an interest in land. The opposite of personal property or personalty.

Reasonable Contact Order - An order stating that the children have the right to maintain direct or indirect contact with the absent parent. A reasonable contact order does not specify the dates, times and places when contact is to take place. See defined contact order.

Relevant child  - A child of the marriage under 16 at the time of the decree nisi or between 16 and 18 if in full-time education or training for a trade. A disabled and dependant child of any age is considered.

Request for Directions  - An application to the court for a Decree.

Residence Order   - A court order which determines where a child or children will live.

Respondent  - The spouse who receives and responds to the petition for divorce or separation.

Section 17 Orders Guernsey -  This relates to Section 17 of The Children (Guernsey and Alderney) Law 2008. The orders under Section 17 are residence, contact, specific issue, prohibitive steps and parental responsibility orders.

Section 25 Factors Guernsey - These are all the factors that can be taken into account by the Royal Court in sharing assets on divorce. Section 25 relates to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which is English law imported into Guernsey divorce law by custom.

Separation Agreement  - A document which sets out the agreement reached in financial matters arising out of a separation without involving the court at all.

Service  - The process by which court documents are formally sent to one spouse.

Shared Residence - An order of the Court whereby the children reside for part of the time with each parent.

Social Housing - Housing to rent provided by the States.

Spouse - a husband or wife you are married to.

Statement of Arrangements for Children  - This form is sent to the court along with the divorce petition if there are any children. It sets out proposed arrangements for the children. If possible, this form should be agreed by the parents and signed.

Statement of Means - This form is also sent to the court and is used to determine a persons financial situation and what assets and liabilities are available. It is mainly used for the consideration of maintenance and distribution of the assets, liabilities and property of the marriage, particularly if there is a dispute over the amounts.

Surrender Value -  The current cash value of a life or endowment policy.

Trial - A final hearing when the Court will determine the issues that need to be resolved. This is otherwise known as a final or contested hearing.

Undefended Divorce - Proceedings by agreement or when there is no answer.

Undertaking -  A solemn promise to the Court to do or not to do something. Breach of an undertaking is punishable as a contempt of Court.

Vesting Order - A formal conveyancing document which will transfer the property between spouses.

Void Marriage - A marriage that legally has no effect and is regarded as invalid from its beginning. It is as if the marriage had never existed.

Voidable Marriage - This is a marriage that is valid when entered into and remains valid until, unless a Court declares that it should be cancelled on specific grounds.

Welfare Checklist - This is a list of considerations that a Court will take into account before making orders in relation to children such as residence or contact.

Without Prejudice  - This is a way of preventing the court at the final hearing from knowing about any negotiations which did not result in an agreement. You may see this term at the start of a letter.

If you are looking for a term, phrase or word that is not listed above, contact us for more information.

Separation & Divorce

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Finance

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The Law

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