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Glossary of Utah Divorce Terms

Common Terms Used in Utah Divorce Cases

There are numerous terms used in divorce proceedings, some of which may be difficult to understand. Here is a list of some of the more common terms and what they mean. If you’re looking for representation in your divorce case, contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation.

  • Affidavit: A written document, outlining statements made under oath.
  • Alimony: Money paid to a (former) spouse for their support during and/or after the divorce.
  • Annulment: The marriage is determined to be null and void as though it never existed.
  • Arrearage: Past due money owed for child or spousal support.
  • Child Support: Money paid by a parent to the other parent with custody of the child(ren) in support of those children.
  • Custody: Legal and/or physical rights, either joint between (ex-)spouses or individual, over your child(ren). Legal custody applies to making decisions over the child(ren)’s welfare while physical custody means the child(ren) live(s) with and are raised by you.
  • Decree: Written order or decision from the court finalizing the divorce.
  • Default Judgment: Granting the full request of the spouse who initially filed for divorce, based on the failure by the other spouse to answer the petition and/or appear in court as required.
  • Defendant: Spouse against whom the divorce petition is filed.
  • Dissolution: The legal termination of a marriage, based on a divorce petition request.
  • Divorce: The legal termination of a marriage, based on a divorce petition request.
  • Equitable Distribution: A fair, but not necessarily equal, division of property based on the circumstances of the divorce.
  • Guardian ad Litem: Independent attorney assigned to represent the best interests of the child(ren) of the divorcing spouses.
  • Irreconcilable Differences: A legal ground for no-fault divorce petition.
  • Irretrievable Breakdown: A legal basis for a no-fault divorce petition.
  • Marital Property: All properties acquired by the spouses during the time of the marriage.
  • Mediation: Attempt to resolve legal disputes without trial through the assistance of a professional independent third party who facilitates the negotiation of a mutual agreement between the divorcing spouses. Utah Courts require attempts at mediation before a divorce trial.
  • No-Fault Divorce: Type of petition where neither spouse is required to show fault or misconduct on the other spouse’s part before a divorce is granted.
  • Non-Custodial Parent: The parent who does not have physical custody of the child(ren), but may have legal custody.
  • Non-Marital Property: Generally, property owned by either spouse prior to marriage or acquired by them individually, such as by gift or inheritance, during the marriage.
  • Parenting Plan: Outline of how (soon-to-be) divorced parents plan to raise their child(ren). This is typically required for shared custody arrangements.
  • Petition: Initial request for divorce with the court.
  • Petitioner: The spouse who files for divorce.
  • Plaintiff: The spouse who files for divorce.
  • Premarital Agreement: A legal contract agreed upon and signed by both spouses prior to the marriage, outlining the rights and responsibilities in case of divorce.
  • Prenuptial Agreement: A legal contract agreed upon and signed by both spouses prior to the marriage, outlining the rights and responsibilities in case of divorce.
  • Respondent: Spouse against whom the divorce petition is filed.
  • Split Custody: A custody agreement whereby some of the children remain with one parent and the other child(ren) are in custody with the other parent.
  • Spousal Support: Money paid to a (former) spouse for their support during and/or after the divorce.
  • Stipulation: An agreement between divorcing spouses, which becomes part of the Court’s final judgment of divorce.
  • Temporary Order: Temporary resolution for the divorcing spouses until a final divorce decree is issued by the Court.
  • Uncontested Divorce: The spouse against whom the divorce is filed agrees to all the terms laid out in the petition, without the need for the Court to intervene.
  • Visitation: Time granted to the non-custodial parent to spend with the child(ren).
  • Writ of Summons: A court order to respond to a motion, petition or complaint for divorce.

Contact The Law Office of David Pedrazas Today

If you have any terms regarding the above terms, give us a call at (801) 263-7078. The Law Office of David Pedrazas has helped countless families through divorce proceedings. Give us a call today and we would be happy to help you.

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