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Family Law Glossary

Defining the Terms You Need to Know

At Palmer Rodak & Associates, we know that family law is riddled with terms, laws, and distinctions that can be confusing to anyone navigating a family law case. To ensure that you understand your rights and options, our Oceanside family lawyers take the time to educate clients on the many terms that may be used throughout their case. Read our family law glossary below to learn more.

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Alimony, Maintenance & Spousal Support

These are legal terms for the financial support that one former spouse pays to the other during or after a divorce. Alimony can be ordered temporarily and last only for the duration of the divorce, or it can be ordered for several months or years after the divorce. Spousal support is intended to financially support a lower-earning or jobless spouse while they pursue education or a career.

Child Support

Child support is a payment made from one parent to another to support the child or children they have together. Child support is generally paid to the spouse with primary physical custody of the child. It is a way to ensure that a parent who spends less time with the child provides their fair share of financial support. State guidelines provide a formula for calculating child support.

Physical or Legal Custody & Visitation

Physical custody refers to who a child spends time with, while legal custody determines who is allowed to make decisions on the child’s behalf. Both types of custody can be shared jointly or held solely by one parent.

If one parent has a lesser share of physical custody than the other, that parent will be granted visitation rights. A schedule will outline when the child will spend time with each parent.

Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage

These interchangeable terms refer to the process by which a couple’s marriage ends. Once a divorce has been finalized, each party will be allowed to legally remarry. During the divorce process, the parties will have to agree on how they will divide their marital property, who will have to pay child support and/or alimony, and who will have custody of any children they have together. If the spouses cannot agree on these topics, court intervention may be necessary.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is any act or threat of violence – physical, verbal, psychological, emotional, or sexual – committed against someone with whom you share a familial or intimate relationship. Victims of domestic violence can be spouses, parents, children, siblings, dating partners, former dating partners, and roommates.

Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement – often referred to as simply a “prenup” – is a legal contract that two partners can sign before getting married. This agreement can outline how the couple will divide their property should they separate. It can also include other provisions regarding the marriage, the relationship, alimony, and the terms of divorce. A prenuptial agreement cannot include provisions about child support, child custody, or anything illegal.

Community Property

California is a community property state, which means that all marital property is divided equally in a divorce. Marital property is any property either spouse acquired during the marriage, apart from gifts and inheritances.

Discuss your case with our Oceanside family lawyers today. Call (760) 573-2223.

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