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Divorce Terms You Should Know and Understand

As you go through the divorce process, chances are that you will come across a variety of terms that you are not familiar with. Here is a list of a few of the ones you are likely to encounter:

  • Affidavit: This is simply any kind of written statement that you give under oath.
  • Annulment: The process by which a marriage is dissolved due to the fact that it is declared void. Annulments can only happen in special circumstances, such as when there was some sort of major deceit at the outside of the marriage, or if one or both parties were somehow impaired (drunk or on drugs, perhaps) at the time of the marriage.
  • Equitable distribution: The idea that property should be divided fairly between spouses, though not necessarily equally in terms of amount or value.
  • Jurisdiction: A court’s authority to hear your particular case, or the region in which you file your divorce.
  • Marital property: Any property that you accrue during the course of your marriage, including real estate, vehicles, finances, benefits and more.
  • No-fault divorce: A type of divorce in which there is no requirement for one spouse to prove that the other was at fault for the breakdown in the marriage.
  • Petitioner: In family court proceedings (which are not divorce actions  – those can only be brought in Supreme Court), the party who brings or starts the proceeding is called the petitioner. 
  • Prenuptial agreement: A contract that you sign before the marriage that lays out certain expectations and rights to property should the marriage end in a divorce.
  • Separate property: Property you accrued before a marriage, or that was a gift or inheritance specifically meant for you individually.
  • Uncontested divorce: A situation in which the defendant has no plans of trying to stop the divorce and the court has no issues to resolve.

If you come across any other legal terms that you are unfamiliar with as you seek to file for divorce in Long Island, be sure to ask the skilled family law attorneys at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia.

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