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What are they talking about? The Legal Jargon Explained Print E-mail

If your parents are getting divorced they may use lots of legal jargon. Here is an A-Z list of some of the words that might be used.

Allegation. Sometimes adults accuse each other of doing things, a bit like someone accusing you of doing something wrong at school. This is called an allegation and the court has to decide whether the allegation is true or false

Assets are all the money, property and things that people own. In a divorce decisions have to be made about who gets what and who lives where.

Barrister. A barrister is a bit like a solicitor but they speak on behalf of the adults in court. Your mum and dad will probably have a barrister to speak for them in front of the judge.

Cafcass. When court cases involve children a Cafcass officer interviews each family member and makes recommendations for the judge based on what they think is best for the children.

Contact is when children see the parent that no longer lives with them. For most  young people this will be their dad.

Counsellor. A counsellor is a person who can help you deal with your feelings. They mostly just listen to make sure that you don't bottle them up.

Court. A court is a building where decisions regarding the law are made. Divorces and family matters are dealt with in a county court.

Decree Nisi/ Decree Absolute. These are documents that are part of the divorce process. When the decree absolute arrives the marriage is finished.

Divorce is a legal process where two people who have been married end the marriage. This could be for all sorts of reasons. It doesn't mean they stop being mum or dad.

A judge is a person who makes decisions in court. Not all divorces end up in court, but if the adults can't agree on who get the house, or arrangements for seeing the children the judge can make decisions for them.

Magistrate. A magistrate is like a judge and makes the same sort of decisions.

Maintenance is the money that the parent who no longer lives with the children pays the parent who does live with the children to help them to care for them.

Mediator. When parents can't agree but don't want to go to court, they can go to a mediator who helps them to talk to each other. It is a bit like having a referee, making sure that each side get an equal say.

Residency. Sometimes called custody. Residency is the parent that the children live with.

Solicitor. A solicitor is somebody who gives legal advice. Each parent will have their own solicitor to help them with their divorce. Sometimes young people can get their own solicitor to help put their views across in court.

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