Legal Terms Used In A Divorce

There are terms lawyers use, off hand and quickly, which may leave you wondering what exactly that term means. In the process you might be missing the important parts of what was just said. You can familiarize yourself with those terms ahead of time and not miss an important piece of information.

Terms You would Want to Know:

Dissolution of Marriage – The official term used in Arizona to describe divorce.

Petition – A formal written request filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court requesting the court to legally end the marriage and issue other orders to deal with the couple’s property, debt and financial support. If minor children are involved, it also includes requests for custody, parenting time and child support.

Petitioner – The party who filed first.

Respondent – The other party in the marriage.

Summons – A document directing a sheriff deputy or other officer to notify the person named in the Petition that a divorce case has been filed. There are a few ways to serve the Petition.

Process Server – A person who physically serves the Petition and the Summons to the other party. He notifies the court when he has completed his delivery.

Docket Number – The number that is given to each case as it is filed.

Joint Preliminary Injunction – Court order that prohibits both spouses from changing things involving the children, money or property.

Notice of Right to Convert Health Insurance – In Arizona, each spouse is supposed to receive a formal notice advising them about existing health insurance benefits and obligations.

Creditor Notice – Each spouse must receive a notice about the debt acquired during the marriage.

Divorce by Default – If the other party’s response is not filed within the required time, the court may grant the request in the Petition as it was filed, and sign the divorce decree without the respondent being present.

Hearing – A court session that is scheduled before a judge or commissioner of the court.

Divorce Decree – The court’s final decision on the case.

Parenting Time – The term used in the state of Arizona for visitation rights.

Guardian Ad Litem – A person appointed by the court to represent the interests of minor children in a divorce case, when the court feels it is necessary.