The following is a glossary of a broad list of legal terms, civil and criminal, state and federal and not just those in a divorce or family law case.


A.A.R.P.: American Association of Retired Persons

Abandon: To knowingly give up without intent to return or re-claim.

Abatement: To reduce, diminish or temporarily sus­pend.

Abduction: Taking and carrying away by force, by means of fraud, persuasion, or open violence.

Abet: As in "to aid and abet." The act of encourag­ing or inciting another to do a certain thing, such as a crime like trading stock based on insider information. For example, many countries will equally punish a person who aids or abets another to commit a crime.

Abscond: To travel covertly out of the jurisdiction of the courts, or to conceal oneself in order to avoid the process of the court.

Absence of Entry: Refers to evidence that a matter is not included in the reports, records, or data compi­lations in any form kept in accordance with "records of regularly conducted activity".

Absence of Public Record: Refers to evidence in the form of certification in accordance with testi­mony that diligent search failed to disclose that a matter is not included in the reports, records, or data compilations in any form made and preserved by a public office or agency.

Abuse: To act in an unjust, corrupt and offensive manner. Verbal, Physical, Emotional or Sexual.

Abuse of Discretion: Unreasonable, arbitrary or unconscionable action taken without proper consider­ation of the facts and law pertaining to the matter. A standard of review applied by appellate courts in reviewing the exercise of flexible but sensible course of action taken by trial courts and administrative agen­cies and persons. Reviewing courts can upset deter­minations made when such determinations are wholly inconsistent with the facts before the court and the deductions that can reasonably be made from the facts.

Abuse of Process: Malicious use of civil process has to do with the wrongful initiation of such process, such as filing suits to harass another party. The num­ber of cases and the justification of the charges can be used to determine if there is an abuse.

Accessory: One who aids, counsels, procures, or com­mands the deed perpetrated, or contributes in a sec­ondary way, who may or may not be present at the action, before, during or after a crime. One who receives, comfort or assistance from or gives comfort or assistance to a criminal offender or attempts to hinder or prevent his or her apprehension or punish­ment.

Accident: An unforeseen, unexpected event; an occurrence by chance and not by design.

Accomplice: Individual or individuals who voluntar­ily engage with another in the commission or attempted commission of a crime. See Accessory.

Accord and Satisfaction: A compromise agreement between both parties.

Accusation: A charge against a person that may include indictment, presentment and information.

Acquittal: The not guilty verdict in a criminal trial.

Action: A lawsuit. The formal legal demand on one’s rights from another person brought in court.

Actionable: Wrongful conduct which may form the basis for a civil action.

Addiction: A condition of habitually taking a legal or illegal drug or substance with adverse effects on ceas­ing.

Adjourn: To postpone, delay briefly a court proceed­ing through recess or to another time or place.

Adjudication: The formal pronouncing or recording of a judgement or decree by a court. The court’s final order.

Ad Litem: A Guardian Ad Litem is a person appointed by the court to protect the interests of a minor in a lawsuit.

Admissible or Admissibility: Any testimony, docu­ment or demonstrative material that is officially con­sidered by the court by allowing it into evidence generally in compliance with the rules of evidence. Any evidence the judge wishes to see. The judge may properly receive only admissible evidence but need not permit a party to introduce all admissible evi­dence. Within discretion the judge may exclude other-wise admissible evidence when the court determines that its probative value is outweighed by countervail­ing factors such as undue consumption of time.

ADR: Alternative Dispute Resolution is methods other than taking a controversy to court.

Adversary System: The judicial system where in each of the opposing, or adversary, parties has full opportunity to present and establish its opposing con­tentions before the court.

Affidavit: A written statement of facts made under oath and signed before a notary public or other person who has been duly authorized so to act. A written statement of fact that is verified by oath or affirma­tion. Make sure you have personal knowledge of all matters asserted, or else it "can and will be used against you in a court of law." If there is any doubt whatsoever, but you still believe something is true, say "Based on information and belief…"

Affidavit of Preference: A written statement by a child twelve years of age or older, stating desire to reside with one parent over the other or one parenting plan over other options.

Affirmation: A written statement of facts made and executed by a lawyer under penalty of perjury.

Agenda: A conscious or unconscious plan that may or may not be formally contrived to ensure the results desired by an individual.

Agreement: A transcribed or written resolution of the disputed issues when the parties have resolved issues in the case.

Aggravation: or aggravating circumstances are any considerations or factors that may justify an increase in the degree of discipline to be imposed.

Aggressive: Behavior marked by a bold determination and readiness for conflict.

Alimony: See spousal support.

Alias: An indication that a person is known by more than one name. Using more than one name is not nec­essarily criminal. AKA is the abbreviation for "also know as."

Alimony: Payment of support from one party to another; may include property division and attorney fees. Unrelated to child support. Sometimes called "maintenance" and "spousal support". Similarly situated parties are treated dissimilarly when the only dif­ference is gender.

Amicus Curiae: Friend of the Court

Anger: An emotion expressed by feeling or showing strong displeasure or bad temper. Anger is also expresses as being: aggravated, enraged, exasperated, incensed, indignant, infuriated, irate, mad, perturbed, put out, stressed, upset, uptight, worked up, wrathful and vexed.

Annulment: The legal ending of an invalid marriage. According to law, neither party was ever married. All children born of the annulled marriage remain legitimate.

Answer: A legal reply; written answer to demands or charges made in the complaint; the pleading filed by the defendant in response to plaintiff’s complaint. Denies or admits some and denies others, or admits all and pleads an excuse.

Antenuptial: An event or document which pre-dates a marriage.

Appeal: The process whereby a higher court reviews the proceedings resulting in an order or judgment. Appeal is only a review on the record produced in the lower court for errors of law. No new facts or evidence may be considered. The Appeal is primarily a paperwork procedure and neither of the parties to the action nor their attorneys are in attendance at the appeal. An appeal requires that an appellant’s brief must be filed. This document must conform to a rigged format.The Brief is bound like a book with a table of contents and an alphabetical list of all the cases to be cited as precedent in the appeal, all the original transcripts and exhibits from the original trial and a brief with the pre­sentation of the facts and the law, with emphasis onwhy the decision should or should not be upheld.

Appellant: The party appealing a decision or judg­ment to a higher court. The appellant may have been the plaintiff or defendant in the lower court.

Appellee: The party against whom an appeal is taken. The appellee may have been the plaintiff or defendant in the lower court.

Appearance: The manner in which the defendant appears under the jurisdiction of the court. To show up in court. See Compulsory appearance.

Acquittal: To declare not guilty, free and clear of blame of responsibility.

Arbiter: One appointed by the court or chosen by the parties. Responsibilities are to be impartial and decide a controversy according to law or equity. Sometimes called an umpire or referee.

Arbitration: The parties agree to submit their contro­versies to a person chosen by them for final determi­nation. Arbitration may be binding or non-binding and the award can be made into a court judgment and enforced. Binding Arbitration is not Appealable.

Argument: Is a connected discourse based on a line of reasoning intended to establish a position and to induce belief.

Arraignment: To bring a prisoner to the court to answer criminal charges.

Arrears or Arrearage: Money which is overdue and unpaid. That which is unpaid although due to be paid. A person "in arrears" is a person who is behind in payment.

Arrest: To deprive a person of his or her liberty by legal authority. Arrest indicates only that a law enforcement agency believe that probable cause to arrest existed for some offense. The arrest record is not complete, it does not reflect guilt, nor that the person actually committed the offense.

Assault: A verbal or physical attempt or threat with unlawful force to inflict injury. The apparent present ability to cause the harm if not prevented. An assault need not result in physical contact.

Assets: Anything owned that has monetary value. Any interest in real or personal property that can be used for payment of debts. 

Attest: To swear a statement is true.

Attorney: Also called Lawyer, Counsel. The legal representative of a party at a trial.

Attorney Client Privilege: The indefinite protection of oral, written, actions or gestures of communication between an attorney and client in the course of the professional relationship and cannot be disclosed without the consent of the client.

Attorney Work Product: Material prepared by an attorney, as an attorney, including notes, analysis, and trial strategy is not subject to the process of Discov­ery.

Audi Alteram Partem: A principle of justice which prohibits a judicial decision which impacts upon indi­vidual rights without giving all parties in the dispute a right to be heard. Habeas corpus was an early expres­sion of the audi alteram partem principle. In more recent years, it has been extended to include the right to receive notice of a hearing and to be given an opportunity to be represented or heard.

Bad Faith: intentionally committing an ethical or legal breech.

Badger: To persist in tormenting or harassing another.

Bail: A financial obligation which guarantees a per-son’s future appearance in court. Often issued in the form of a document called a Bail Bond. A money bond (usually secured by real estate or valuable per­sonal property) deposited as an assurance for the ful­fillment of a condition for an arrested person to be released from arrest as surety that the person will appear at trial and forfeited if the person fails to appear.

Bailiff: A court officer who guards the judge and jurors and keeps order in the court. (Establish a friendship with the bailiff. The bailiff knows how the judge wants things done and sees more cases than any attorney. If your attorney has established a relation-ship with the bailiff, you have a smart attorney.)

Bar Association: Organizations dedicated to promot­ing good will between attorneys and their clients. They claim to monitor attorneys and impose sanctions against bad ones.

Batterers: People who assault others usually family members such as their spouses and children.

Battery: Physically striking someone without reason.

BBS: Bulletin Board System allows a person with small computer and one or two telephone lines to host groups for you to read and carry on conversations, upload and download files, put (post) messages and announcements usually dealing with a specific subject.

Believability: Is the demeanor or ability to be viewed as right or true. To be able to instill in others a firm conviction in the reality of what you say and are. To have other people who do or do not know you accept, trust and credit what you say. Believability and honesty are not the same thing. It is possible for someone to be believably but not truthful.

Bench Trial: A hearing before a Judge, but with out the presence of a jury.

Bench Warrant: An order issued by the court from the Judge on the Bench in the courtroom) for the arrest of a person, so that (s)he may be brought before the court.

Best Evidence: Primary evidence; the best evidence which is available; any evidence falling short of this standard is secondary. The original document is "best," a copy is secondary.

Bifurcation: Splitting of a case into separate issues.

Bill of Particulars: The formal title for information attached to a complaint or petition.

Borderline Personality Disorder: Is marked by instability in mood, action and thoughts; however, these different, conflicting ideas, beliefs, and goals are resident within a single personality.

Breaking and Entering: Any act of physical force, however slight, by which obstruction to entrance is removed. Example: The pushing open of a door that is ajar followed by entrance into a building is sufficient to constitute the act of breaking and entering. Abbreviation used by police B&E.

Brief: A written argument concentrating upon legal points and authorities, used to convey the essential facts, a statement of law involved, the law that the lawyer would like applied, and the application desired made of it by the court, in the client’s case, and sub mined with other paperwork. Often a brief accompa­nies a motion and is properly bound, footnoted, indexed and bibliographed to make it easier for the judge to review.

Bugging: To wire tap a telephone or wire a room for the pick up of sound and or video by another location.

Burden of Proof: In the law of evidence, the neces­sity or duty of affirmatively proving a fact or facts in dispute. In civil matters, this burden may be a "preponderance of the evidence" or "clear and convincing evidence."

Calendar: The order in which cases are heard during a term of court.The calendar includes the name of the court, the name of the judge, and the names of the participants and date of the cases.

Calling for the Rule: All witnesses except for the plaintiff and the defendant who may testify for either party will be excluded from the courtroom until they are called to testify. These witnesses are admonished by the judge not to discuss the case or their testimony with other witnesses or persons except the attorneys.

Canon Law: The law of the Christian Church. Has lit­tle or no legal effect today. Canon law refers to that body of law which has been set by the Christian Church and which, in virtually all places, is not bind­ing upon citizens and has virtually no recognition in the judicial system. Some citizens resort to canon law, however, for procedures such as marriage annulments to allow for a Christian church marriage where one of the parties has been previously divorced. Many church goers and church officers abide by rulings and doc­trines of canon law. Also known as "ecclesiastical law."

Case Law: The entire collection of published legal decisions of the courts which, because of stare decisis, contributes a large part of the legal rules which apply in modern society. If a rule of law cannot be found in written laws, lawyers will often say that it is a rule to be found in "case law". In other words, the rule is not in the statute books but can be found as a principle of law established by a judge in some recorded case. The word jurisprudence has become synonymous for case law.

Case in Point: A judicial opinion which deals with a factual situation similar to the one being researched and substantiates point of law to be asserted.

Caseload: The number of cases a Judge, Court itself, Attorney or Friend of the Court case worker handles at any given time.

Cash Bond: A payment of a specific amount of money to guarantee future support payments will be made.

Canon Law: The laws that govern churches.

Capacity: A person’s mental ability to make rational decisions. Capacity is not necessarily synonymous with sanity.

Capias: A civil arrest warrant ordering the sheriff or other officer to take a person into custody and deliver that person to court. This procedure is used when a party refuses to appear in court.

Cause: A suit, litigation or action – civil or criminal.

Cause of Action: A claim in law and in fact sufficient to bring the case to court; the grounds of an action.

Caveat: Let him or her beware. A warning or empha­sis for caution.

Cease and Desist Order: An order of a court prohibiting a person or entity from undertaking or continuing a particular activity or course of action.

Certified Order: A copy of an order signed and certi­fied as a true copy by the Clerk Of The Court with whom the original order was filed.

Chameleon: An unacceptable person who can appear to be acceptable especially for short periods of time in order to with the observers support.

Change of Venue: A change of the place where the case is to be tried. The removal of a suit begun in one county or district to another for trial, or from one court to another in the same county or district.

Character Witness: A person who testifies as the reputation of a litigant involved in a lawsuit.

Chart: A symbolic depiction of something incapable of direct verbal or pictorial representation. A con­densed ordered enumeration of items usually arranged in columns. Charts you create to identify specific information are Demonstrative Evidence. They are admitted in evidence or visual aids that will not be entered in evidence, but are simply used by a witness or by the lawyer to explain matters that are relevant to the trial. Demonstrative evidence includes models, medical devices, diagrams, photographs, sketches, graphs, maps and objects at issue.

Chattel: Any article of personal property. Animate as well as inanimate property, as opposed to real estate or land property.

Child-Snatching Lawsuits: Legal actions the "vic­tim" parent and child may be able to file against the abductor parent and the other people who assisted the abductor.

Child Support: Monies paid by one parent to the other parent to assist with the costs of meeting the child’s needs. Child Support Formula: Factors considered by the Friend of the Court and the Prosecuting Attorney when making a recommendation, and by the circuit court when making a determination for an appropriate amount of child support. Both parents’ incomes are considered under the formula.

Circumstantial Evidence: Is evidence which may allow a judge or jury to deduce a certain fact from other facts which have been proven. In some cases, there can be some evidence that can not be proven directly, such as with an eye-witness. And yet that evi­dence may be essential to prove the case. In these cases, the lawyer will provide evidence of the circum­stances from which a juror or judge can logically deduct, or reasonably, directly; it is proven by the evi­dence of the circumstances. Fingerprints are an exam­ple of circumstantial evidence. While there may be no witness to a person’s presence in a certain place, or contact with a certain object, the scientific evidence of someone’s fingerprints in persuasive proof of a per-son’s presence or contact with an object.

Circuit Courts: Courts whose jurisdiction is over several counties or districts may hold sessions in counties or districts alternately, or a circuit court may hold all its sessions in one county.

Citation: The reference to previous cases (authority) necessary to substantiate the validity of one’s argu­ment or position.

Civil Action: A lawsuit that arises from a non-crimi­nal dispute.

Civil Case: A lawsuit is called a civil case when it is between persons in their private capacity or relations.

Civil Law: Legal ruling developed from Roman law. The law concerning non-criminal matters in a common law jurisdiction.

Claim: A charge one party makes against the other. Assertation of a right, as to money or property. The accumulation of facts which give rise to a right enforceable in court.

Clandestine: Something that is purposely kept from the view or knowledge of others either in violation of the law or to conduct or conceal some illegal purpose.

Class Action: A lawsuit brought by a representative party on behalf of a large group, all of whose members have the same or a similar grievance against the defen­dant. Used when the group is too large for it to be practical to name every member of the group as a party.

Clean Hands (Doctrine): The concept in equity that people who seek fair relief must be fair.They must not have themselves have indulged in impropriety in relation to the transaction upon which relief is sought.

Code: The laws in force are rewritten and arranged in a classified order, with the addition of material having the force of law taken from judicial decrees. The repealed and temporary acts are eliminated and the revisions are reenacted.

Co-Defendant: Another person defending him or her-self against charges in a crime in which another defen­dant is charged. The guilt or innocence of the codefendant may or may not have impact on the defendant’s charges.

Co-Dependent: With another being unable to do without something. Usually a drug or negative behavior or set of behaviors.

Codification: The process of collection and arrang­ing systematically, usually by subject, the laws of a state or country. The end product may be called a revised code of statutes.

Cognitive Ability and Memory Loss: The victim begins to have intrusive memories of the abuse or may actually develop psychogenic amnesia and not always remember important details or events. The victim may have trouble following his or her thoughts in a logical way, being distracted by intrusive memories that may be flashbacks to previous battering incidents. The vic­tim may disassociate himself or herself when faced with painful events, memories, reoccurring night mares or other associations not readily apparent to the observer. Considered the third major impact of Battered Woman Syndrome is to the cognitive and mem­ory areas.

Cognitive Therapy: The goal of this type of therapy is to reduce immediate behaviors that are either life threatening (suicide threats, self-mutilation) or interfere with quality of life (rages directed toward others).

Cohabitation: The act of living together among unmarried persons of the opposite sex is often pro scribed by local laws. Such living conditions will pro-duce an inference of criminal fornication.

Collusion: When two or more people plan to act in an unethical manner in unison, such as in giving similar but incorrect testimony.

Comity: Is other countries recognizing United States legal orders and the United States recognizing theirs.

Commissioner: A person authorized by the court to make judicial decisions.

Commit: To send a person to prison, an asylum, or reformatory by lawful authority.

Common Law: Law discovered in the customs and habits of the people. The strength of the judicial sys­tem in which prior decision (case law) is distin­guished from statutory law.

Common Law Marriage: The cohabitation of two people living in the same domicile, who consider themselves married.

Complaint: The first papers filed in a lawsuit, stating the facts and allegations and request for relief

Compulsory Appearance: Where one has been val­idly served, processed, and so is compelled to appear in court.

Computer: May be used to accurately determine solu­tions to otherwise complex and tedious equations and arrive at solutions to standard often used equations such as those used for determining velocity, force of impact, or path of trajectory. The data put into the computer and the computers output can be easily veri­fied.

Computer Generated Graphics: Are used to illus­trate a proposed sequence of events as testified to by a witness. The evidence is considered demonstrative rather than substantive.

Computer Modeling: The use of computers to pro-vide visual simulations of car crashes, aircraft crashes and DNA structure of an accused with the perpetrator of a crime. The court will determine the admissibility of computer modeling using the "Frye test" or the more liberal standard, as set out in "Daubert Test".

Computer Noted Evidence: Printouts from data recorders and other automatic machines including logs and journals, computer generated or created evidence and include two kinds (1) computer models, simula­tions and forecasts (2) artificial intelligence or fuzzy logic.

Computer Printed Evidence: Is the direct mechani­cal production of the computer’s machine readable contents to a hard copy on paper for example.

Computer Stored Evidence: Is information kept in machine readable form in the computer’s hard drive, on a floppy or tape.

Computer Transmitted Evidence: Any computer data transmitted when an automatic system which logs the incoming message with the date, time, purported identity of sender and dumber of segments received and stores the information on a non
-erasable media.

Conciliation: To make a friendly atmosphere for dif­ficult discussions, encouraging the exchange of infor­mation and ideas and allowing negotiations.

Conclusion of Fact: Is reached solely through the use of facts and natural reasoning. A conclusion reached without resorting to the rule of law or interferences from evidentiary facts.

Conclusion of Law: Is reached through application of rules of law.

Conclusive Evidence: Is incontrovertible evidence that is not open to question because it is irrefutability proven.

Conflict of Interest: A situation in which regard for one duty leads to disregard for another, or the reason-able expectation that this might happen.

Conflict Resolution: A training of mind and tempera­ment that enables one to work out problems in a posi­tive manner in the face of opposition, hardship, or danger.

Conscience of the Court: Refers to the power of the court to resolve a controversy by applying common standards of decency and fairness of the community rather than the opinion of a particular judge.

Consideration: Usually refers to money. What one person in a contract offers to induce the other person to cooperate.

Consistent With: During deposition or courtroom questioning when the opposing attorney uses this term it means nothing but it is a clever devise to convert remote causation to a more likely causal connection. The opposing attorney may try to get you to agree that certain acts are consistent with a particular practice or occurrence. You must be very careful about this. Just because something is consistent with something else, it does not follow that there is necessarily any relation-ship whatsoever between the two things. This is true even if the opposing attorney identified many factors which are supposedly "consistent with" the practice or occurrence. Try to avoid agreeing that remote facts are "consistent with" any key fact in the case.

Conspiracy: Two or more persons planning and or committing a criminal or unlawful act.

Contact Orders: Same as visitation schedule

Contempt of Court: Conduct in court which inter­feres or stops a court in the administration of its duties. The willful and intentional failure to comply with a court order, judgment, or decree by a party to the action, which may be punishable in a variety of ways. There are two kinds of contempt: civil and criminal. Criminal is as punishment for disobedience of a court directive, including, but not limited to, acting in a naughty manner in open court. Criminal contempt can be detected by its consequence: punishment by incarceration for a definite time period and/or a fine. Then there is civil contempt, incarceration until the person in contempt uses "the keys to the jail house in his hands" i.e. until he obeys the orders of the court.

Contested Custody: Any custody case in which the court must decide one or more issues on which the parties have not agreed.

Contingency Fee: A percentage of the recovery. Contingent fees are generally forbidden in divorce cases but, in some states, are permitted in a proceeding to enforce the judgment.

Controlled Substances: Drugs whose general avail-ability is restricted by law through prescription use or are outlawed. Such drugs include those classified as narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and cannabis.

Conversion: In legal terms the wrongful appropria­tion to oneself of the personal property of another.

Conviction: Is a societal judgment regarding an indi­vidual’s actions. Unlike arrest, a conviction record is complete. Guilt and accountability have been final­ized.

Copy: A copy of an order signed and certified as an exact true copy by the officer of the court having pos session of the original order.

Corporal Punishment: Physical punishment inflicted upon the body. A punishment for some violation of conduct which involves the infliction of pain on, or harm to the body. A fine or imprisonment is not con­sidered to be corporal punishment (in the latter case, although the body is confined, no punishment is inflicted upon the body). The death penalty is the most drastic form of corporal punishment and is also called capital punishment. Some schools still use a strap topunish students. Some countries still punish habitual thieves by cutting off a hand. These are forms of corporal punishment, as is any form of spanking, whip ping or bodily mutilation inflicted as punishment. Although the use of reasonable corporal punishment has been upheld in schools by the courts, many juris­dictions are in constant flux about what constitutes "reasonable." Psychologists strongly oppose any form of physical assault.

Corpus Delicti: The body or thing the crime was committed against.

Corrigena: Document to make corrections on a depo­sition. A thing to be corrected.

Corroborating Evidence: Evidence to complement evidence already given and tending to strengthen or confirm the same point.

Costs: An allowance for expenses in prosecuting or defending in a suit.

Counsel: Also called Lawyer, Attorney. The legal representative of a party at a trial.

Counseling, Supportive: This is less intensive than psychoanalytic. The therapist helps the patient with problems that are more current rather than trying t resolve early childhood issues.

Count: Separate and independent claims. Civil and criminal indictments may contain one or more counts.

Counterclaim: Also called Counter-Petition or Cross-Complaint. Constitutes a separate cause of action. A pleading asking for relief filed in response to a Petition or

Court: The branch of government which is responsi­ble for the resolution of disputes arising under the laws of the government. A place or a person entrusted with and assembled for the administration of the law (and sometimes justice).

Court Order: A written document issued by the court, which becomes effective only when signed by a judge.

Court Reporter: An instrument of the court.The court reporter takes down, in shorthand or on a machine, everything that is said in the courtroom, or judge’s chambers. These notes may be transcribed if necessary.

Credibility: Whether or not a witness is able to evi­dence a degree of integrity, knowledge and confidence and the appearance that the witness is being truthful. The primary measure of credibility is whether the tes­timony is probable or improbable when judged by the common experience of mankind.

Crime: Any act which the sovereign has deemed con­trary to the public good and may be prosecutable.

Criminal Case: A lawsuit to handle crimes when the state is the plaintiff; a person or persons on the other side are defendant(s) and involves a question of whether the defendant has violated some of the laws defining crimes.

Cross-examination: Questions asked a witness by the other person’s attorney at deposition or trial.

Cross-petition or Cross-complaint: May be filed by the defendant either separately or as part of his answer. It asks for relief or damages on the part of the defendant against the original plaintiff, and perhaps others. When a cross-petition is filed, the plaintiff may then file other motions to the cross-petition, except a motion to quash service of summons.

Culpability: Responsibility for misdeed or delin­quency. Blame, fault, guilt or onus found be assigned to one. One could be accountable, answerable, liable, accused, charged, censured, condemned, denounced and reprehended if found to be responsible or involved.

Cyber: Or Cyberspace. Used to describe the whole range of information resources available through com­puter networks.

Damages: Monetary compensation awarded by a court for an injury caused by the act of another. The injured must ask for the compensation for it to be awarded. Damages may be actual or compensatory (equal to the amount of loss), exemplary or punitive (in excess of the actual loss and which is given to pun­ish the person for the malicious conduct which caused the injury) or nominal (less than the actual loss. Often a trivial amount such as one dollar) which is given because the injury is slight or because the exact amount of injury has not been determined satisfacto­rily.

Daubert Test: For the admissibility is guided by the liberal premise of Federal Rule of Evidence 402 which states, "[a]ll relevant evidence is admissible. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 93 C.D.O.S. 4825,4826 (June 28, 1993)

Debit: The sum of money one person owes another.

Debtor: A person who owes money to a person or company.

Decree: Or Final Decree is the decision of the court. A publicly proclaimed order by the court in the case. An interlocutory decree is a provisional or preliminary decree which is not final.

Declaration: Written testimony under oath, not nec­essarily sworn to before a notary.

Declaratory Action: An action taken in a case where litigants need interpretation to understand a law.

Defamation: To make a false statement in public that tends to diminish the reputation so that people think less of that person or company. The two kinds of defamation are slander and libel.

Default: Failure to do something or to do it on time. Order of a court for the plaintiff based on the defen­dant’s failure to answer the filings within the time allowed or make an appearance in the case.

Defendant: Also called a Respondent. In a civil case, the defendant is the person against whom the lawsuit is brought. In a criminal case, the defendant is the per-son charged with the offense.

Deliberation: The period of time in which a judge or jury determines the facts and declares a verdict.

Dementia: Is a loss of many cognitive functions, usu­ally beginning with memory loss, then leading to con-fusion and inability to function mentally in normal situations or not be able to recognize normal situations in life. The progress of the decease is not always pre­dictable.

Demonstrative Evidence: Consists of trial exhibits that are admitted in evidence or visual aids that will not be entered in evidence, but are simply used by a witness or by the lawyer to explain matters that are relevant to the trial. Demonstrative evidence includes models, medical devices, diagrams, photographs, sketches, and objects at issue, as well as a variety of other items.

Demur: To file a pleading admitting the truth of the facts in the complaint, or to answer, but contending they are legally insufficient.

Dependent: Unable to do without someone or some-thing. As is a child’s relationship with it’s caregiver.

Depersonalization Disorder: Is either a persistent or recurring alteration in one’s perception of one’s self, such as a feeling of detachment from one’s actions or thoughts, or feeling like an observer of one’s own actions. Alternatively, one may feel as if one is an automaton, without conscious will of one’s actions, or feel as if one is dreaming, rather than actually per-forming, one’s actions. Depersonalization Disorder is caused by severe stress; it is not uncommon to have a single instance of depersonalization (but this is usually not recurrent or persistent) due to stress. It is usually found in younger adults (late adolescence / early adult-hood).

Deposition: Testimony of any witness taken out of court under oath, in writing and typed in question and answer form, just as if it were given in court.

Depression: Occurring spontaneously without any obvious reason, possibly from chemical manifestation in the brain affecting a person’s mood is intrinsic. Occurring as a result of a depressing life situation or loss it is reactive. Prognosis is good and treatment includes medication and therapy. Sometimes depres­sion can mimic dementia and affects decision related to incapacity.

Developmentally Disabled: Unable to function well mentally these Individuals have been born with some defect which is lifetime limitation. Some die as children, others may have a normal life expectancy with permanent deficiency. If disability is severe, the per son will not be able to function independently and will need outside help.

Diagnostic Statistical Manual III: Also known as the DSM III, lists categories of mental disorders.

Directed Verdict: An instruction by the judge to a jury to return a specific verdict.

Direct Evidence: Proof of facts by witness who saw acts done or heard words spoken, as distinguished from indirect evidence, which is called circumstantial evidence.

Direct Examination: The first questioning of a wit­ness by the party on whose behalf the witness is called. The story being told the way this side wants it told.

Dirty Hands: A person who seeks fair relief from the court in a matter when that person has indulged in impropriety in relation to the matter in which relief is sought.

Disbar: To deprive an attorney the right to practice law; disbarment. A grievance is filed with the State Bar Association where the attorney practices. The State Bar Association has specific procedures they must follow to investigate each grievance. The State Bar Association will either dismiss the charges or exercise any number of sanctions against the attorney. It is very difficult to have an attorney disbarred, and there is no money involved for the party filing against the attorney. Disbarment is a much larger threat than a malpractice suit. If you have a case for disbarment, you may also have a case for malpractice.

Discovery: The processes used to determine the nature, scope, and credibility of the other side’s case before the trial.

Dismiss: A court ordered end to a lawsuit.

Dismissal Without Prejudice: Permits the complain-ant to sue again on the same cause of action.

Dismissal With Prejudice: Bars the complainant from filing suit or maintain an action on the same claim or cause.

Disorderly Conduct: Generally means a breach of the peace, disturbing those who hear or see it, or endangers the morals, safety, or health of the commu­nity.

Disposable Earnings: is that part of the payer par­ent’s earnings remaining after deduction of any amounts required by law to be withheld, union dues, nondiscretionary retirement contributions, and medi­cal hospitalization, and disability insurance coverage for the payer parent and the child.

Dissolution: The termination of an agreement.

District Attorney: The state’s representative in a criminal case.

Divorce: The dissolution of marriage.

DNA: Abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid. A chromosome molecule which carries genetic coding unique to each person with the only exception of iden­tical twins (that is why it is also called "DNA finger-printing"). Through laboratory process, DNA can be extracted from body tissue such a strand of hair, semen, blood and matched against DNA discovered at a crime scene or on a victim to scientifically implicate an accused. Can also be used to match DNA between parents in a paternity suit.

Docket: A complete list maintained by the county clerk, of cases a court has in its system.

Docket Number: A number, sequentially assigned by the clerk at the outset to a lawsuit brought to a court for adjudication.

Doctrine: A principle accepted as valid and authorita­tive sometimes a rule of law.

Domestic Violence: Includes beatings, threats, stalk­ing, intimidation, harassment, neglect, and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Domestic violence may include any act by one family member that causes harm to another family member.

Domicile: A person’s permanent home.

Double Jeopardy: Common-law and constitutional prohibition against more than one prosecution for the same crime, transaction or omission.

Dual Citizenship: Where two different sovereigns within their respective territorial confines may law-fully claim citizenship of the same person and that person of them.

Due Care: The legal duty one owes to another according to the circumstances of a particular case.

Due Diligence: An attorney must be able to demon­strate that all efforts made on behalf of the client were marked by careful attention and persistent application. Some contraindications would be: not filing proper documents, not answering service on time, not show­ing up for court.

Due Process: The guarantee that every person has the protection of a fair trial by giving an unbiased hearing to resolve a two-or-more-party dispute.

Duress: Action by a person which compels another to do what he would not otherwise do. Where a person is prevented from acting (or not acting) according to their free will, by threats or force of another, it is said to be "under duress". Contracts and agreements signed under duress are voidable and, in many places, you cannot be convicted of a crime if you can prove that you were forced or threatened into committing the crime (although this defense may not be available for serious crimes).

D.W.I. (Driving While Intoxicated): Is the offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This does include only sitting in the vehicle.

Earnings: Means compensation paid or payable to the payer for personal services, whether called wages, salary, compensation earned as and indepen­dent contractor, overtime pay, severance pay, commis­sion, bonus, or otherwise, and includes periodic payments pursuant to a pension, annuity, workers’ compensation, disability and retirement program, and unemployment benefits.

EBT, Examination Before Trial: see deposition.

Ecclesiastical Law: The body of church-made law which binds only those persons which recognize it, usually only church officers, and based on aged pre­cepts of canon law.

Eighth Amendment: prohibits excessive bail, exces­sive fines and cruel and unusual punishments.

E-Mail: Electronic main messages sent from one per-son to another via computer. It will appear something like this

Emancipation: An age, ruling of the court or the activities, behavior and independence that indicates that a child is now an adult. In some states, when the obligation of child support may be terminated.

Enforcement: Anyone disobeying an order of the court may be subjected to sanctions, reversal of prior favorable decisions, forfeit of property, fine or imprisonment.

Entrapment: The inducement, by law enforcement officers or their agents, of another person to commit a crime for the purposes of bringing charges for the commission of that artificially-provoked crime. This technique, because it involves abetting the commis­sion of a crime, which is itself a crime, is severely cur-tailed under the constitutional law of many states.

Emotional or Verbal Abuse: Would include name-calling, put-downs, and the like. Consistently telling someone that they are worthless is emotional abuse, for example. Telling someone they are not worthy of love is emotional abuse. Withholding of affection is also emotional abuse. Manipulation of someone so that they do precisely what the manipulator wants is emotional abuse. ("If you loved me, you wouldn’t want to go to visitation." "If you don’t do this, you are worthless.")

Equitable Parent: A spouse that is not a biological or adoptive parent who has had a parental relationship with the child with the encouragement of the biologi­cal parent. The equitable parent may be required tpay child support and have the right to visitation.

Equity: Some circumstances even though they are no fair they are not covered by law or the law is unfair when dealing with them. In the past, there were "courts of equity," but today, most courts have "equity jurisdiction." The court can apply "equitable principles" to cases, including divorce. These are sometimes called "anti-law" courts because they were able to cir­cumvent unfair laws. In most cases judges will not ignore statutes and established common law.

Et Al: Meaning and others.

Et Ano: Meaning and another.

Ethics: Legal, Medical and Professional Ethics. Codes of conduct, also known as the Code of Profes­sional Responsibility, imposed on licensed profession­als. Violations may subject the professional to disciplinary proceedings within their profession and malpractice claims.

Evaluation: The act of appraising or valuing the nature, character, quality, status or worth of someone or something.

Evidence: The physical facts including items, docu­ments, objects, and testimony offered to prove or dis­prove allegations in a case. The judge may properly receive only admissible evidence. see Demonstrative Evidence.

Evidence, Computer: Evidence from computers take several forms; computer printed, computer created or generated, computer noted, computer stored, computer printed, computer transmitted.

Excited Utterance: Is a statement relating to a star­tling event or condition made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition.

Exhibit: Tangible things presented at trial as evidence such as documents, items produced and identified in court.

Ex Parte: A written or verbal application for court relief without the presence of the other party, or in some states, without formal notice. Hearings and divorces can be ex parte.

Expert: Having the knowledge, skill and experience for success in a particular field or endeavor. A person possessing a higher degree of knowledge than would be presumed to be held by the court with regard to the field in which he or she is qualified. This knowledge may be derived entirely from the study of technical works, or specialized education, or practical experi­ence or varying combinations thereof. It is determina­tive that his or her answers indicate to the court that he or she possesses the knowledge which will assist the court in making inferences regarding fact issues more effectively than the court could do so unaided.

Expert Witness: An expert is a person with creden­tials or experience beyond that of the general public and recognized by the court. In divorce cases, most experts are called to testify as to the value of the mari­tal home, pensions, and privately-held businesses. In child related disputes, mental health professionals are often called to testify.

ex post facto law: States are prohibited, under Article 1, Section 10 of the United States Constitution, from making any "ex post facto law." An ex post facto law is a law that applies to crimes which were committed before the enactment of the law. Thus, a person can not be prosecuted for violation of a law which was made after the person committed the crime.

Extended Family: Persons other than the parents and the children, such as grandparents, stepparents, step-children, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles.

Extradition: The surrender by one city, state, c
ounty or country to another of an accused or convicted per-son.

Face Fee: Money paid to an attorney that allows you to place the attorney’s name on the documents filed while the attorney does not in fact do any of the work in the case.

Fact: An event that has occurred or circumstances that exist, events whose actual occurrence or existence is to be determined by the evidence.

Failure to Appear: Not showing up for deposition or court when ordered to do so by Subpoena. If failure is willful, you can be held in contempt of court. Contempt of court is punishable by fine and or imprison­ment. The attorneys may also have a claim against you for out of pocket expenses and their time spent attending the abortive deposition or court appear­ance. Costs could exceed $400.00 per hour.

Fair To Say That: During deposition or courtroom questioning, when this phrase is used, you can be quite sure that the opposing attorney has no intention of being fair to you but wants to appear fair. Try to avoid agreeing by responses such as, "I don’t know if that is fair or not," or "that is not how I would characterize it.

False Accusation: A charge that is not true against a person that may include indictment, presentment and information.

False Claim: An accusation one party lodges against another, knowing it is not true.

False Swearing: Is a `common law’ misdemeanor which is the same as perjury except that it is not com­mitted in a judicial proceeding.

Family Law: For divorce and custody.

Family Records: Statements of fact concerning per­sonal or family history contained in family Bibles, genealogies, charts, engravings including on jewelry, inscriptions on family portraits, engravings on urns, crypts and tombstones.

Fanatics: Persons who manifest extreme and often dangerous ardor, fervor or attachment to a person or a cause. Sometimes referred to as fiends, freaks, mani­acs, nuts, extremist or zealots.FAQ: Abbreviation used on the Internet for frequently asked questions.

Fast-tracking: When the issues in the case are clear, the facts are sharply defined but hotly in dispute and all that is required is a verdict. Fast tracking can either be agreed upon and requested of the judge or the judge may do it on his own.

Federal Rules of Evidence: The statues and rules that govern evidence. There are state rules of evi­dence and rules of civil procedure.

Felony: A generic term employed to distinguish cer­tain high crimes from minor offenses known as misdemisde­meanors. Conviction of a felony crime can result in the imposition of the greatest punishment for violation of law, such as a jail sentence greater than one year and fines exceeding $1,000.

Fifth Amendment: The popular term given to a person’s assertion of his or her Fifth Amendment right not to give evidence that will incriminate him or her-self. A direct reference to the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of The United States. Actually the Fifth Amendment provides several critical protections: pro­hibition against double jeopardy (you may not be tried more than once for the same offense): prohibition against self-incrimination (you may not be forced to testify against yourself): prohibition against depriva­tion of life, liberty or property without due process of law.

Fight Response Mode: The body and mind prepare to deal with danger by becoming hypervigilant to cues of potential violence, resulting in an exaggerated startle response. The automatic nervous system becomes operational and the individual becomes more focused on the single task of self defense. This impairs con­centration and causes physiological responses usually associated with high anxiety. In serious cases, fearful­ness and panic disorders are present and phobic disor­ders may also result. Irritability, rage and crying are typical symptoms of this stage.

Findings of Fact, or Rule 52: In all actions tried upon the facts without a jury or with an advisory jury, the court shall find the facts specially and state separately its conclusions of law thereon, and judgment shall be entered. The court shall similarly set forth the find­ings of fact and conclusions of law which constitute the grounds if its action.

Financial Abuse: Is controlling, through whatever means, someone’s financial resources, including money for food, clothing, shelter, luxuries, and the like. It is often accompanied by some other form of abuse; for instance, forcing someone to sign their check over to the perpetrator by beating that person.

Financial Statement: A paper required by each party to specify the monthly income and expenses.

First Impression Case: Means that there is no precedent for such a case because it is the first time the sub­ject has ever come before a court.

Flat Fee: A fixed amount of money charged for han­dling an entire case or a certain part of it.

Flight Response Mode: Alternates with the fight pat-tern of response when people face danger. When physical escape is actually or perceived as impossible, then mental escape occurs. This is the avoidance or emotional numbing stage where denial, minimization, rationalization and disassociation are subconsciously used as ways to psychologically escape from the threat or presence of violence.

Fourteenth Amendment: prohibits all the States from enacting or enforcing any law which violates the privileges and: immunities of the citizens of the United States: prohibits all States from depriving a person of life, liberty or property without due process of: law mandates that all persons are entitled to equal protection of the laws.

Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in an injury or loss to another.

Frye Test: For the admissibility asks if proposed evi­dence has been "sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs. Frey v. United States, 54 Appl D.C. 46, 476, 293 F. 1013, 1014 (1923)

Friendly Fire: A combat term that indicates that the bullets or bombs are coming from one’s own groups rather than from the enemy. This term is valid for business as well as personal interaction.

Friend of the Court: A person, usually a profes­sional, from which the court has requested information or appearance. The Friend of the Court, submits information on an issue related to but broader than the case in question, regarding the legal implications of the ruling.

Frivolous: Clearly lacking in substance and clearly insufficient as a matter of law.

Fruits of the Crime: That advantage which is derived by the criminal who commits a crime.

Fugitive: One who runs away to avoid arrest, prose­cution or imprisonment. Many extradition laws also call the suspect a "fugitive" although, in that context, it does not necessarily mean that the suspect was try­ing to hide in the state or country from which extradi­tion is being sought.

Full Age: The age at which the child becomes an adult on the state in which he/she resides.

Full Faith and Credit: Legal principal requiring judges to recognize and enforce valid decrees and judgments issued by courts in other states. A constitu­tional requirement for every state to enforce the judg­ment of another state.

Gag Order: To silence by authority of the court to prevent speech about a person or event.

Garnish: The seizing of a person’s property, credit or salary, on the basis of a law which allows it, and for the purposes of paying off a debt. The person who possesses the assets of the debtor and is the subject of the seizure is called a "garnishee". This is frequently used in the enforcement of child support where delin­quent debtors will be subjected to salary garnishment. A percentages of their wages is subtracted directly off their pay-check and directed to the person in need of support the employer being the garnishee.

Good Faith: Acting with integrity and honesty with-out intent on cheating.

Grand Jury: Usually a jury of 16 whose duty is to receive complaints and accusations in criminal cases, hear the evidence and find bills of indictment in cases where they are satisfied that there is probable cause that a crime was committed and that a trial ought to be held. Grand jury proceedings are private and secret. Prospective defendants are not entitled to be present at the proceedings and no one examines witnesses on the defendant’s behalf.

Grievance: A formal complaint filed with a licensing body or regulatory agency against a professional. The process may have strict filing, answering and hearing requirements. Grievances for professionals are a nui­sance at best and may endanger their licensing at worst.

Gross Negligence: Any action or an omission in reckless disregard of the consequences to the safety or property of another. Sometimes referred to as "very great negligence" and it is more then just neglect of ordinary care towards others or just inadvertence. Also known as culpa lata.

Guardian: An individual who, by legal appointment or by the effect of a written law, is given custody of both the property and the person of one who is unable to manage their own affairs, such as a child or mentally-disabled person.

Guardian Ad Litem (GAL): A person lawfully invested with the power, and charged with the duty, to protect and represent the interests of a minor child in a lawsuit. The status of the guardian ad !item exists only in that specific litigation in which the appointment occurs.

Habeas Corpus: The name given a variety of writs whose object is to bring a person before a court or judge. In most common usage, it is directed to the official or person detaining another, commanding him to produce the body of the prisoner or person detained so the court may determine if such person has been denied his liberty without due process of law.

Habitability: The condition of residential or other premises being reasonably fit for occupation and does not impair the health, safety, or well-being of the occupants.

Habitual Offender: A person who is convicted and sentenced for crimes over a period of time and even after serving sentences of incarceration, such as dem­onstrates a propensity towards criminal conduct. Reformation techniques fail to alter the behavior of the habitual offender. Many countries now have special laws that require the long-term incarceration, without parole, of habitual offenders as a means of protecting society in the face of an individual that appears unable to comply with the law.

Halo Effect: Positive Halo Effect; If a good impres­sion on an observer is established, the observed is without further effort deemed worthy of acceptance, believing and trust. After that it becomes much more difficult for anyone to discredit the observed. This works first because once people decide how they feel about someone, they are unwilling to find their judg­ment was in error. Second, because all information is filtered through to support your opinion. Third, if the information a person is hearing does not corre­spond with the information that person is seeing, that person will believe what he or she is seeing. "The Negative Halo Effect" is just as pervasive as the Posi­tive is helpful. Once the Negative Halo Effect is in place, it is much more difficult to change than the Pos­itive Halo Effect.

Harassment: Any activity that is unnecessarily oppressive with purposeful actions and conduct moti­vated by a malicious or discriminatory purpose. Unso­licited words or conduct which tend to annoy, alarm or abuse another person. An excellent alternate definition can be found in Canadian human rights legislation as: "a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwel­come." Name-calling ("stupid", "retard" or "dummy") is a common form of harassment.

Harmless Error: A mistake that does not merit rever­sal of judgment by the appellate court. Distinguished from "Prejudicial Error," an error which warrants the appellate court to reverse the judgment before it.

Hearing: Any proceedings before a court where testi­mony is given.

Hearsay: Any statement other than that by the person reciting the statement. Evidence not proceeding from the personal knowledge of the witness, such as a rumor.

Heroin: A trademark for certain narcotic.

Hinder: To check, obstruct, hamper, embarrass, debar or shut out. To put obstacles in the way.

Histrionics: Overly dramatic presentation.

Home State: The state in which the child’s perma­nent domicile is located. If the child has a Home State, the suit must be brought in the home state. If the child has no home state, but the child and at least one party has significant connection with a state, and there is substantial evidence concerning the child’s care, pro­tection, training, and personal relationship in the state, the suit may be brought in that state.

Home Study: Also known as Social Study may be ordered by the court to evaluate the home environment of people requesting custody of a child or elderly.

Honesty: Uprightness as evidenced in character and actions. Also known as: having honor, being moral, possessing virtue, trustworthiness, dependability, and evidencing justness.

Hornbook: A series of textbooks which review a cer­tain field of law in summary, textural form, as opposed to a case book which is designed as a teaching tool and includes many reprints of court opinions.

Hostage: A person offered or kept by one party as security for the fulfillment of some promise, agreement, or the like, made by another party.

Hostile Witness: A witness who is subject to cross-examination by the party who called the witness t testify, because of the witness evident antagonism toward that party as exhibited in his direct examination. A lawyer is not allowed to ask leading questions of their own witness. But, if that witness openly shows hostility against the interests (or the person) that the lawyer represents, the lawyer may ask the court t declare the witness "hostile", after which, as an excep­tion of the examination-in-chief rules, the lawyer may ask their own witness leading questions.

Hostility: Deep-seated dislike or ill will or a manifes­tation of such feeling, often with bitterness.

Hourly Fee: Cost based on the time not per job. Minimum charges may apply.

Humiliate: To lower the pride, self-respect, status, prestige, or esteem to embarrass, discomfort, humble or mortify.

Husband-Wife Privilege: A special right that married persons have to keep communications between them secret and even inaccessible to a court of law. While this privilege may have been varied in some states, it has always been held to be lifted where one spouse commits a crime on the other. Similar to the client-solicitor privilege.

Hypothetical Question: A combination of facts and circumstances, assumed or proved, stated in such a forms as to constitute a coherent state of facts upon which the opinion of an expert can be asked by way of evidence in a trial.

Identity Disorder: Is considered a disorder of childhood and adolescence. It is severe and distressing arising from the inability to create an integrated, cohe­sive and acceptable sense of self. Symptoms include severe stress regarding uncertainty over one’s long-term goals, career choice, friendship patterns, sexual orientation, religious identification, morals / values, group loyalties, and other important decisions, accom­panied by impairment in one’s functioning due to this stress and uncertainty.

Ignorance: Lack of knowledge. Ignorance of the law or a specific law does not justify breaking the law.

Illegal: Against the law.

Illicit: Contrary to or prohibited by law. Unlawful, criminal, illegal, illegitimate, nefarious, improper, intolerable or objectionable.

Immunity: An exemption that a person (individual or corporate) enjoys from the normal operation of the law such as a legal duty or liability, either criminal or civil. An example of an immunity is where a witness agrees to testify only if the testimony cannot be used at some later date during a hearing against the witness. Once you are granted immunity or otherwise won’t be prosecuted in a criminal case, you lose your ability to "plead the fifth", since your testimony isn’t going to be used against you in a criminal trial. You can be sued after in a civil trial, that may end in your incarceration.

Impeachment of Witness: An Attack on the credibility of a witness by the testimony of other witnesses. Discrediting a witness by proving lies, inconsistencies in stories told, and untrustworthiness. The witness may be impeached during cross-examination or by the direct testimony or evidence of another witness. Prior inconsistent statements made at deposition or in writ-ten interrogatories are classic examples of impeachment during cross-examination.

Implied Consent: Actions or facts that imply by inaction or silence that one agrees with the course of con-duct transpiring.

Improper Communications: This applies to contact with individuals in the legal process and can cause sanctions to be imposed in cases involving attempts to influence a witness, judge, juror, prospective juror or other official by means prohibited by law.

Imputed Income: Applies to services received instead of income. Examples might include company paid life insurance, company car, employer provided housing, or stock options. The cost of the premium or vehicle expenses covered by the company is imputed income.

In Camera: Refers to proceedings held in a judge’s chambers or where the public is not present.

Inadmissible: That which, under the established rules of evidence, cannot be admitted or received.

Incriminating Evidence: Items that show involvement of a suspect or an accomplice in a criminal activ­ity. Items could be a weapon bearing blood stains or fingerprints acquired during the crime, e-mail contain­ing references to a crime, a photograph showing some relationship to the crime for a tape recording of accomplices discussing a crime.

Incest: A criminal offense which involves sexual intercourse between members of a family, among whom marriage would be illegal because of blood relations.

Income Withholding Order: An order of the circuit court. It directs an employer, or source of income, to withhold a fixed amount and send that amount to the Friend of the Court for purposes of support.

Interpreter: An interpreter is a person or machine that can make something comprehendible. Translating information from a medium or language not under-stood by a witness to a language or medium under-stood by the witness and then reporting the information given to the court. One form of interpre­tation is done when a witness communicates in Sign Language and their gestures must be translated for the court. An interpreter may be appointed by the court to facilitate the admission of testimony. An interpreter must take an oath or affirmation to make a true translation.

Interstate Income Withholding Order: An order entered to secure payment of support through an employer in another state.

Indiscreet: Not marked by or according with good sense or sound judgment.

Indictment: An accusation in writing found and pre­sented by a grand jury, charging that a person herein named has done some act, or been guilty of some omission, which, by law, is a crime.

Injunction: A court order which requires a party to do some act or prohibiting certain actions.

In-Laws: The parents of one’s spouse.

In Loco Parentis: A person who has put him or her-self in the situation of lawful parent by assuming the obligations incident to the parental relation without going through the formalities necessary to legal adop­tion.

Incompetence: Lack of sufficient resources or capac­ity to perform.

Indigent: Lacking money or material possessions. A person who may receive permission to proceed in a lawsuit without paying court fees.

Injunction: A judge’s order that a person do or, more commonly, refrain from doing something. It may be preliminary or temporary pending trial of the issue presented, or it may be final if the issue has already been decide in court.

Injury: When dealing with attorney malpractice, is harm to a client, the public, the legal system, or the profession which results from a lawyer’s misconduct. The level of injury can range from "serious" injury to "Little or no" injury; a reference to "injury" alone indi­cates any level of injury greater than "little or no" injury.

In Pari Delicto: Both parties are equally at fault. Actually, the usual use of this phrase is "in pari delicto, potior est conditio possidentis" which
means that where both parties in a dispute are equally at wrong, the person in possession of the contested prop­erty will retain it (the law will not intervene).

In Personam: Is the law that deals with the rights of people.

In Rem: Is the law which deals with property rights.

Insanity: Not mentally responsible to some degree.

Insolvent: A person who doesn’t have enough money to pay his or her bills.

Instruction: A direction given by the judge to the jury concerning the law of the case.

Intent: A willful act.

Interlocutory Decree: Is a provisional or preliminary decree which is not final.

Intent: Is the conscious objective or purpose to accomplish a particular result.

Internet: The Internet is best described as a tool to communicate with other people and organizations world wide via computer modem.

Interrogatories: A series of written questions served on the other side to discover certain facts regarding the disputed issues in the proceeding. The answers t interrogatories must be under oath and served and completed within a prescribed period of time. Typically the answering side is as vague as legally possible.

Interstate: Between two or more states.

Intervention: A parceling in a suit or action by which a third person is permitted by the court to make him or herself a party.

Invasion of Privacy: The wrongful intrusion into a person’s private activities by other individuals or by the government.

Ipso Facto: Latin meaning, "by the fact itself."

Investigation: The act or instance of seeking truth, information, or knowledge about something. A private detective may be hired by one or both parties. The court may assign a social worker or health professional. The process may include interviews with co-workers, children, teachers, neighbors, doctors, baby-sitters and anyone else the professional feels compelled to talk to. Reports and recommenda­tions may be submitted to the judge.

Irrelevant: Evidence not relating or applicable to the matter in issue.Islamic Law: The law according to the Muslim faith and as interpreted from the Koran. Islamic law is probably best known for deterrent punishment, which is the basis of the Islamic criminal system and the fact that there is no separation of church and state. Under Islamic law, the religion of Islam and the government are one. Islamic law is controlled, ruled and regulated by the Islamic religion. Islamic law purports to regu­late all public and private behavior including personal hygiene, diet, sexual conduct, and child rearing. Islamic law now prevails in countries all over the mid­dle east and elsewhere covering twenty per cent of the world’s population.

Issues: The things that are important to a lawsuit.

Instructions to the Jury: The attorneys for each side submit a number of instructions designed to apply the law to the facts in evidence. The judge will indicate which instructions he will accept and which he will refuse. The attorneys make objections to such rulings for the purpose of the record in any appeal.

Intrastate: Within the borders of one state.

Joint Custody: The parties share the responsibilities and major decisions relative to the child.

Joint Managing Conservator (JMC): Persons who have shared actual care, custody or control of a child for at least six months.

Joint Petition: When both parties want the court to do the same thing. The parties jointly request (by joint petition) the court to grant the request contained in the petition.

Judicial Review: An administrative agency or tribu­nal which make decisions or deliver government ser­vices of one sort or another, the decisions of which can also be "appealed." In many cases, the "appeal" from administrative agencies is known as "judicial review" which is essentially a process where a court of law is asked to rule on the appropriateness of the administrative agency or tribunal’s decision. Judicial review is a fundamental principle of administrative law. A distinctive feature of judicial review is that the "appeal" is not usually limited to errors in law but may be based on alleged errors on the part of the adminis­trative agency on findings of fact.

Judge: A person appointed or elected who decides the issues of fact and issues of law. The Judge has many duties in connection with a trial. The judge must see that the trial is conducted in an orderly manner accord­ing to prescribed rules and laws covering the presenta­tion of evidence and the arguments of the lawyers. The judge must decide the propriety of the questions, rule on objections, and render a verdict. A person who has the authority to make exceptions.

Judgment: Ruling or order of the court.

Judicial Admission: Evidence of a disputed fact, "a judicial declaration that eliminates the adversary’s necessity of providing such element upon which it relies."

Judicial Immunity: The freedom or charge or obliga­tion which others are subject from civil liability for any acts performed in the judge’s official capacity. The immunity is absolute provided only that the judge is acting within his or her jurisdiction. The scope of the judge’s jurisdiction must be constructed broadly to protect the court’s independence.Therefore, the judge will not be deprived of immunity because the action taken was in error, was done mali­ciously, or was in excess of the judge’s authority; rather the judge will be subject to liability only when the action taken was in clear absence of all jurisdic­tion.

Jurisdiction: The authority given to a court by a Con­stitution or a legislative body to make legally binding decisions over certain persons or property.

Jurisprudence: (1) The science or philosophy of law; (2) a collective term for case law, as opposed to legis­lation.

Jury: A group of people summoned and sworn to decide on the facts in issue at a trial. Juries normally  consist of six, eight or twelve people. There are usually several alternate Jurors who sit through the entire trial in case one of the regular jurors should require replacement.Attorneys may photograph potential jurors’ homes and autos, search for any litigation they have been involved in, including divorces and bankruptcies, obtain credit and employment histories, including sal­aries, whether they rent or own their homes and how much the home costs. The attorneys are prohibited from personal contact either directly or through an intermediary.

Justifiable: Capable of being made defensible.

Juvenile: A person less than 18 or 21 years old, depending on the state in which the child resides, unless another court already has con­tinuing jurisdiction over the child. If the child resides in a jurisdiction other than the one which has continu­ing jurisdiction for over six months and there are no actions pending, the jurisdiction may be changed to that in which the child resides. If a child has been improperly brought to or kept in a county, the court may refuse jurisdiction and charge the party who brought the suit with the other side’s travel costs and attorney’s fees.

Justifiable: Capable of being made defensible.

Juvenile: A person less than 18 or 21 years old, depending on the state in which the child resides. Court for these children is referred to as Juvenile Court.

Kangaroo Court: A court in which a strong, unlawful bias toward one side is evident.

Ketubah: A Jewish marriage contract.

Key Number: Part of the major indexing system devised for American case law, developed by West Publishing Company. The key number is a permanent number given to a specific point of this case law.

Kidnap: To carry off or hold a person by force or fraud or in violation of a law or of a court order.

Knowledge: Is the conscious awareness of the nature or attendant circumstances of the conduct but without the conscious objective or purpose to accomplish a particular result.

Knowledge or Awareness: During deposition or courtroom questioning if the other attorney asks ques­tions like "Did you know that. . ." or "Were you aware that. . ." are dangerous because the opposing attorney usually then states a fundamental fact or premise that, if the object of the question had known or been aware of it, the standard would have required him or her to have acted in a particular way, such as doing or not doing a particular act. Also, opposing attorney, having memorized the facts most favorable to his or her client, may be testing your memory of these facts.

Lapse: A slip, as of the tongue or pen or behavior. Failure to meet certain requirements.

Larceny: The unlawful taking and carrying away of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.

Latent: Present, but not visible.Law: The rules and boundaries set and enforced by society. A principle governing conduct, action, or pro­cedure. A comprehensive and fundamental rule, doctrine or assumption.Lawyer: Also called Counsel, Attorney. The legal representative of a party at a trial. A person may give legal advice to another person without risking prosecution for the unauthorized practice of law only if they are licensed to practice law.

Lawyer Discipline Proceedings: The purpose of law­yer discipline proceedings is to protect the public and the administration of justice from lawyers who have not discharged, will not discharge, or are unlikely tdischarge their professional duties to clients, the pub­lic, the legal system, and the legal profession properly.

Leading Question: One which instructs a witness how to answer or puts into a witness’ mouth words t be echoed back. One which suggests to the witness the answer desired. Prohibited in direct examination

Legal: Being in accordance with law.

Legal Separation: A court order or, in some jurisdic­tions, a written agreement between the parties, arranging the terms under which the parties will live apart after separating. While signifying the separation of the parties, it does not formally dissolve the marriage or permit the parties to marry other persons legally.

Legitimate: Lawfully begotten. Conforming to recog­nized principals or standards. No longer applies to the parentage or origination of a child.

LEIN: Law Enforcement Information Network. A computer system containing files on wanted persons.

Leniency: Giving clemency, being indulgent, tolerant or merciful.

Liability: That for which a person is responsible such as money or contract obligations.

Liaison: A bond or an intimacy, especially illicit or sexual meeting between two people.

Libel: To communicate through print, writing, pic­tures or signs to mark a person’s activities or personal or business behavior for the purpose of injuring and with out regard for the truth.

Lie: A statement or declaration that is not true.

Lien: A money debit. A claim against property as security for a debit, under which the property may be seized and sold to satisfy the debit.

Limitation: A certain time allowed by statute in which litigation must be brought. Statute of limita­tions.

Litigate: To take a question before the court to make a contest by judicial process.

Local Counsel: An attorney whose geographic pres­ence and license for a jurisdiction may assist an out-of-town or out-of-country attorney in the litigation of a case.

Local Venue: Foreclosure of a mortgage on a house is a common action that may be brought only in the county where the subject matter of the litigation is located.

Loco Parentis: A person who stands in the place of a parent such as a step-parent in a common law relation-ship.

Lurking: A cyber term meaning that a person reads and or prints out the messages that people post on Internet news groups with out making their presence known in any way.

Maintenance: Spousal support sometimes called Ali­mony.

Malfeasance: Evil doing; ill conduct; the commission of some act which is positively prohibited by law.

Malice: The state of mind that accompanies the inten­tional doing of a wrongful act without justification or excuse.

Malpractice: A legal malpractice suit is only about money. It is a civil remedy for negligence or dam-ages. If you lost your case because your attorney did not show up for court or has not performed adequately on your behalf, you may have a case against the attor­ney. If you have a case for malpractice, you may also have a case for disbarment.

Managing Conservator (MC): Person who has had actual care, custody or control of a child for at least six months. A person with whom the child and the child’s parent or guardian resided for at least 6 months may file such a suit if the child’s parent or guardian is dead. A grandparent may bring an original suit to be named MC if the child’s present environment presents a seri­ous question concerning the child’s physical health or welfare.

Mandamus: The name of a writ which issues from a court of superior jurisdiction, directed to a lower court, commanding the performance of a particular act.

Mandate: A judicial command or precept proceeding from a court or judicial officer, directing the proper officer to enforce a judgment, sentence, or decree.

Mandatory Transfer: On timely motion, a suit must be transferred from the court of original and/or con­tinuing exclusive jurisdiction to the court of another county. This happens if the child has resided in latter county for six months or longer. The time of resi­dency does not have to be continuous and uninter­rupted; the court will look to the child’s principal residence.

Maneuver: An action planned or taken toward the accomplishment of a purpose.

Marriage: A voluntary union or file or until divorce of a man and a woman.

Material Evidence: Such as is relevant and goes to the substantial issues in dispute.

Mediation: A method of settling disputes outside of a court. The imposition of a neutral third party to act as a link between the parties. Traditional Mediation, sometimes called a mediated settlement conference, consists of one continuous meeting, attended by the parties and their attorneys, in which all issues are resolved, with general sessions and private caucuses.

Serial Mediation is when the parties meet with the mediator, usually without counsel present, in a series of short (1 hour) sessions, until all issues are resolved.

Mediator: A mediator is an unbiased third party who can often assist the parties in reaching agreement regarding what is in the best interest of the child.

Memorandum of Law: A legal document filed along with pleadings or other court papers setting forth your lawyer’s legal research in support of a request to the court.

Mental Anguish: Compensable injury embracing all forms of mental pain, as opposed to mere physical pain, including deep grief, distress, anxiety and fright.

Mercenary: The amateurs and professionals who are willing to surrender their time and efforts for assured rewards, usually monetary. They do not have any other real stake in the issue. In this war, the mercenar­ies are the hired professionals and services who offer legal advice, evaluation and surveillance.

Merit: The substance of a litigant’s claim or refuta­tion of a claim. Example: The case has merit or the case does not have merit or is without merit.

Misdemeanor: Offenses less than felonies, generally those punishable by fine or imprisonment otherwise than in penitentiaries. Conviction of a misdemeanor law can result in imposition of punishment greater than that of a petty offense but not as severe as that of a felony (examples might be a heavier fine, or short jail sentence).

Misfeasance: A misdeed or trespass; the improper performance of some act which a person may lawfully do.

Mis-joinder: When a person has been named as a party to a law suit when that person should not have been added. When this is asserted, a court will usually accommodate a request to amend the court documents to strike, or substitute for, the name of the mis-joined party.

Mistrial: An erroneous, abortive or invalid trial. A trial which cannot stand in law because of lack of jurisdiction, wrong drawing of jurors, or disregard of some other fundamental requisite.

Mitigating Circumstance: One which does not con­stitute a justification or excuse for an offense but which may be considered as reducing the degree of moral culpability.

Modify: Parts of an agreement or decision might be subject to change if the circumstances warrant it.

Modification: A change to an existing order.

Moot: Unsettled or undecided by judicial decision.

Motion: Is a written or oral request to the Judge by the lawyer of one of the parties. Motions are made t obtain an order, ruling or direction in favor of the applicant. Often motions are accompanied by a brief. Motions are either "contested" or, if the parties stipu­late to the matter, "uncontested." Motions are usually heard at a special motion or ex parte "session" of the court. Legal fees for contested motions are expensive and the outcome is rarely certain. Therefore, when possible, you should enter into a written stipulation t be submitted for the court’s approval. The stipulation then becomes part of the court’s temporary order. Often, motions relate to matters such as motions to allow "amendment of pleadings," "more time to answer a complaint," and "cont
inuances." Requests for restraining orders and requests to vacate a shared home are also made by motion.

Motion for Security of Costs: A motion that may be filed by one side if they are in doubt about the other side’s willingness or ability to pay costs if they lose the case and are ordered by the judge to cover filing expenses incurred by both parties.

Motion to Dismiss: Also called Demurer. Asks the court to rule that the plaintiff’s complaint does not state a legally sound case of action against the defen­dant even if, for the purpose of the motion, the defen­dant admits that all the facts set out by the plaintiff are true.

Motion to Make More Definite and Certain: Asks the court to require the plaintiff to set out the facts of his complaint more specifically, or to describe his injury or damages in greater detail, so that the defen­dant can answer more precisely.

Motion to Modify: A formal written request to the court to change any prior order that the court may change by law.

Motion to Quash Service of Summons: Questions whether the defendant has been properly served with summons, as provided by law.

Motion to Strike: Asks the court to rule whether the plaintiff’s petition contains irrelevant, prejudicial or other improper matter.

Motion to Vacate Premises: A request to the court, on the showing of good cause, ordering one spouse to leave the residence.

Move the Court: Request a decision from the judge on a motion or fact of law.

Multiple Personality Disorder: is defined as the existence within a person of two or more distinct personalities or personality states, in which at least 2 of these personalities "take control" of the functioning of the body at given points. Each personality controls the body separately, and there is a memory loss for at least some personalities when others are in control of the body. Other personalities may have wildly differ­ent traits, belief systems, relationships, names, and so forth. Some clinical studies have shown that EEGs differ by personality. The personalities may them-selves have other psychological disorders, such as depression; these disorders may be present in only one, some, or all of the personalities. The degree of interaction and/or cooperation of the personalities var­ies extremely; the degree of co-consciousness (the state of being able to share memories of the various personalties’ actions, and being able to cooperate in the control of the body) also varies extremely.

Murphy’s Law: A set of maxims initially assembled by George Nichols in 1949 while working as a project manager for Northrop Corporation in California as a result of a remark made by a colleague, Captain E. Murphy, of the Wright Field-Aircraft Laboratory. The contexts of the early quotations appear to support this explanation. Example; Aviation Mechanics Bulletin May-June 1955 Murphy’s Law: If an aircraft part can be installed incorrectly, someone will install it that way.

Mutual Mistake: A mistake made by both sides in a lawsuit.

Natural Law: The body of unwritten laws accepted by civilized people everywhere as based on reason. Essential to the well-being of society.

Natural Parent: The biological parent.

NCP (Non Custodial Parent): The parent that does not have residential responsibility for the children.

Negligence: People are responsible for the intentional harm they cause, and for their failure to act as a rea­sonable person would be expected to act in similar cir­cumstances. If the negligence of a child causes injury a liability suit under tort can be filed. Negligence is always assessed having regards to the circumstances and to the standard of care which would reasonably be expected of a person in similar circumstances. Every-body has a duty to ensure that their actions do not cause harm to others. Between negligence and the intentional act there lies yet another, more serious type of negligence which is called gross negligence. Gross negligence is any action or an omission in reckless disregard of the consequences to the safety of a person or property of another. When dealing with attorney malpractice; Is the failure of a lawyer to heed a sub­stantial risk that circumstances exist or that a result will follow, which failure is a deviation from the stan­dard care that a reasonable lawyer would exercise in the situation.

Negative Halo Effect: If a bad impression on an observer is established, the observed is without further input deemed unworthy of acceptance, believabil­ity and trust. After that, it becomes much more difficult for the observer to respect the observed. This works, first, because once people decide how they feel about someone, they are unwilling to find their judgment was in error. Second, because all informa­tion is filtered through to support your opinion. Third, if the information a person is hearing does not corre­spond with the information that person is seeing, that person will believe what he or she is seeing. "The Positive Halo Effect" is just as helpful as the Negative is pervasive. Once the Negative Halo Effect is in place, it is much more difficult to change than the Pos­itive Halo Effect.

Negotiated: In this book, "negotiate" means to dis­cuss and bargain in good faith to find a solution all can accept.

Nexus: A connection between groups or series.

No-Fault: To end without the necessity to find fault in a person, process or thing.Is a term used when a divorce is granted without the necessity of finding a spouse to have been guilty of some marital misconduct.

Nolo Contendere: A pleading usually used by defen­dants in criminal cases, which means "I will not con-test it."

Noncombatants: People not involved in the conflict. Noncoms rarely exist in a war zone. Family, friends, neighbors, young children, adult children, coworkers, etc. are pressed to or voluntarily choose sides.

Noncustodial Parent (NCP): The parent with whom the child does not live the majority of the time. This designation may restrict many areas of influence and behavior in your jurisdiction.

Nonfeasance: Failure to act. Failure to do what ought to be done.

Non-Issue: Not an issue that will assist you in win­ning your lawsuit.

Non-Support: The failure to provide support that one can provide and that one is legally obliged to provide.

Notice of Hearing: A paper that is served on the opposing lawyer or other litigant listing the date and place of a hearing and the motions that will be heard by the court.

Oath: A promise not to lie.

Objection: The act of taking exception to some state­ment or procedure in trial. Used to call the court’s attention to improper evidence or procedure.

Obligor and Obligee: The persons entitled to receive and pay a court-ordered settlement, respectively.

Of Counsel: Attorney(s) employed to assist in the preparation or management of the case.This may be for the initial presentation or appeal but is not the principal attorney of record.

Officer of the Court: Any duly sworn personnel usu­ally bailiffs or attorneys.

Off Calendar: The removal of a case from a judge’s calendar.

Off the Record: An attempt to give information or opinion without retaining the responsibility for doing so. There is no such thing. Anything you say to any-one is subject to scrutiny.

On Demand: When requested.

On the Record: Statement made in public or open court.

Open Court: A court that is formally opened and engaged in the transaction of judicial affairs where all persons who conduct themselves in an orderly manner are admitted.

Opinion: The reason given for a court’s judgment, finding, or conclusion, as opposed to the decision, which is the judgment itself.

Opposition: The other side, the enemy.

Order: The court’s ruling in writing and signed by the judge and filed with the court, requiring the parties t do certain things or setting forth their rights and responsibilities.

Order to Show Cause (OSC): Paperwork used to request an action from a judge. An OSC requires the party served to appear before the judge to answer questions.

Order to Vacate: Is an instruction from a court for a person to leave a specific address with or without their personal property.

Out of Court: One who has no legal status in court is said to be "out of court." If by some act of omission or commission, the plaintiff shows the plaintiff is unable to maintain the action initiated, he is frequently said, to have put himself "out of court."

Out-Of-Court Settlement: The resolution of dispute between parties prior to going to court at all or prior to the rendering of a final judgment by the court.

Panel: A list of jurors to serve in a particular court or for the trial of a particular action. The list may denote the whole body of persons summoned as jurors for a particular term of court or those selected by the clerk by lot.

Paralegal: A person other than a licensed attorney who is employed to perform a variety of tasks associ­ated with law practice which can be performed by one not authorized to practice law.

Paranoia: A disorder that causes a person to become very suspicious about people and events. Often a symptom of other diseases, especially schizophrenia. This person may be dangerous if frightened and unwittingly do severe harm to another. Paranoia may be mild or severe and sometimes medical treatment or therapy can help. Often it is difficult to evaluate and deal with because the lack of trust inhibits being sus­ceptible to care of another.

Parens patrieae: The right and responsibility of the state to take charge of the care and custody of minor children or other legal incompetents when their health or safety so requires.

Parole: Release of a convicted criminal from state prison with less than full term of incarceration but with restrictions and conditions. A parolee is usually required to report to a parole officer.

Parties or Party: The persons who are actively con­cerned in the prosecution or defense of a legal pro­ceeding. In a judicial proceeding, a litigant, plaintiff or defendant, the person directly interested in the sub­ject matter of the case.

Passive Aggression: A style of reaction that is char­acterized by apparently enduring injury while offering no opposition in a manner which appears submissive. When in fact provoked or unprovoked attacks or hos­tile activities are initiated and done by the person with an on-going and insidious agenda of revenge and demoralization. The strategy is never obvious and the toll is only apparent by the cumulative impact on the target person.

Passive Resistance: A style of reaction that appears submissive. Apparently, enduring pressure or injury while offering no opposition. When in fact resistance is offered in a non-violent manner by refusing to coop­erate, understand or respond appropriately. Often feigning innocence or ignorance using inadequacy as a tool.

Paternity Lawsuit: An action to establish the father-hood of a man in order to assign the rights and respon­sibilities to that parent.

Percipient Witness: One who was there and saw what happened.

Peremptory Challenge: The challenge which the prosecution or defense may reject a certain number of prospective jurors without giving any explanation or reason.

Perfected: To "perfect" an appeal requires that an appellant’s brief must be filed. This document must conform to a rigid format that is bound like a book with a table of contents and an alphabetical list of all the cases to be cited as precedent in the appeal, all the original transcripts and exhibits from the original trial and a brief with the presentation of the facts and the law, with emphasis on why the decision should or should not be upheld.

Peremptory Challenge: Many states allow the parties to a case to dismiss the judge assigned to the case without having to prove an actual bias.

Perpetuating Testimony: The recording of evidence when it is feared that the person with that evidence may soon die or disappear and that this person’s evi­dence, if recorded, could then be used in the future to prevent a possible injustice or to support a future claim.

Perjury: The traditional definition is the criminal offense of making false statements under oath. A willful and corrupt sworn statement made without sin­cere belief in its truth, and made in a judicial proceed­ing regarding a material matter. Today, the statutes have been broadened so that in some jurisdictions any false swearing in a legal instrument or legal setting is perjury. Chargeable even if it is not material and even though it is not presented in a judicial proceeding. Some statutes group `perjury,’ `false swearing,’ and `making false written statements’ together as different degrees of the same crime, often called loosely per-jury. Perjury can be punishable by imprisonment. See Subornation Of Perjury.

Permanent Child Support: The final court ordered payments that continue until the child reaches the age of majority.

Per Se: A person representing him or herself in a law suit.

Petit Jury: The ordinary jury of twelve (or fewer) persons for the trial of a civil or criminal case. So called to distinguish it from the grand jury

Petition: A formal, written application to a court requesting judicial action on a certain matter.

Petitioner: Also called a Plaintiff. The person who starts a lawsuit; in a criminal case, this would be the State.

Petty Offenses: Petty offense is a sub-group of misde­meanor. Petty offenses typically may be tried before a magistrate in a summary proceeding as the matter typ­ically is handled all on the date of the first appearance by the defendant in court. The defendant may be denied the right to a jury trial without violation of con­stitutional rights. Offenses such as minor traffic tickets, parking violations, and minor infractions of local ordinances are treated as petty offenses. The typical punishment for violation of a petty offense is the imposition of a fine.

Physical Custody: A child custody decision which grants the right to organize and administer the day t day residential care of a child. This is usually combined with legal custody.

Physician / Patient Privilege: A "patient" means any person who consults or is seen by a physician t receive medical care. A "physician" means a person licensed to practice medicine in any state or nation, or reasonably believed by the patient so to be. A communication is "confidential" if not intended to be dis­closed to third persons other than those present t further the interest of the patient in the consultation, examination, or interview, or persons reas
onably nec­essary for the transmission of the communication, or persons who are participating in the diagnosis and treatment under the direction of the physician, includ­ing members of the patient’s family.

Pick-Up Order: A court order, usually obtained in the state in which the child is located, which allows the local law enforcement officials in that state to pick up the child.

Plaintiff: Also called a Petitioner. The person who starts a lawsuit; in a criminal case, this would be the State.

Plea Bargaining: The process whereby the accused and the prosecutor in a criminal case work out a mutu­ally satisfactory disposition of the case. It usually involves the defendant’s pleading guilty to a lesser offense or to only one of the counts of a multi-count indictment in return for a lighter sentence than possible for the graver charge. In theory this assists the legal system by settling a large volume of cases with-out costly, protracted litigation.

Pleading: Formal written application (petitions, answer, replies, motions and counterclaims) to the court for relief requiring a written response.

Polling the Jury: A practice initiated by the judge or requested by counsel.The jurors are asked individually whether they assented, and still assent, to the verdict.

Polygraph: It is an electromechanical instrument that simultaneously measures and records certain physio­logical changes in the human body, which are believed to be involuntarily caused by the subject’s conscious attempts to deceive the questioner.

Positive Halo Effect: If a good impression on an observer is established, the observed is without fur­ther effort deemed worthy of acceptance, believing and trust. After that, it becomes much more difficult for anyone to discredit the observed. This works, first, because once people decide how they feel about someone, they are unwilling to find their judgment was in error. Second, because all information is fil­tered through to support your opinion. Third, if the information a person is hearing does not correspond with the information that person is seeing, that person will believe what he or she is seeing.

Possessory Conservator: A person who is not a blood relative may be granted custody by the court if the person can demonstrate substantial past contact with the child.

Post a Bond: A bond is a special insurance policy large enough to discourage noncompliance with a court order either to perform or appear. A bond may be required in civil or criminal cases for visitation and child support.

Potential Injury: Is the harm cause to a client, the public, the legal system or the profession that is rea­sonably foreseeable at the time of the lawyer’s miscon­duct, and which, but for some intervening factor or event, would probably have resulted from the lawyer’s misconduct.

Power of Attorney: An instrument authorizing another to act as one’s agent or attorney.

Precedent: Stare Decisis. The doctrine of American law which states when a court has formulated a princi­ple of law as applicable to a given set of fact, it will follow that principle and apply it in future cases where the facts are substantially the same. It connotes the decision of present cases on the basis of past prece­dent. Is a case or cases that have already been decided whose decision may affect this or following like cases.

Prejudicial Error: An error which warrants the appellate court to reverse the judgment before it. The same as reversible error. Distinguished from "harm-less error," which does not merit reversal.

Prejudice: The inclination to take a stand, with or without just grounds or sufficient information. Also known as bias, one-sidedness or partiality.

Present Sense Impression: Is a statement describing or explaining an event or condition made while the declarant was perceiving the event or condition, or immediately thereafter.

Preliminary Hearing: Same as preliminary exami­nation. The hearing given a person charged with a crime by a magistrate or a judge to determine whether he or she should be held for trial.

Preponderance of Evidence: In a civil case, the plaintiff must prove their case, and the defendant must prove any defense asserted by a preponderance of evi­dence. This is the greater weight of the credible evi­dence which may be less than the proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which would be required in a crimi­nal case.

Presumed Father: A man is presumed to be the father of a child in several different ways. Some are: if he welcomes the child into his home and openly acknowledges that he is the father, was married to the mother when the child was conceived or born, or he married the mother after the birth and agreed to have his name on the birth certificate.

Presumption of Fact: An inference as to the truth or falsity of any proposition of fact, drawn by a process of reasoning in the absence of actual certainty of its truth or falsity, or until such certainty can be ascer­tained.

Presumption of Law: A rule of law that courts and judges shall draw a particular inference from a partic­ular fact, or from particular evidence.

Prima Facie: Something that is self evident. Elements of proof required to prove a basic case.

Privilege: General Rule of Privilege. (1) Confidential communications between a professional such as phy­sician or attorney and a patient or client, relative or in connection with any professional services rendered by a professional to the patient or client, are privileged and may not be disclosed. (2) Records of the identity, diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment of a patient or cli­ent by a professional that are created or maintained by the professional. The records are confidential and privileged and may not be disclosed. (3) The privilege of confidentiality may be claimed by the patient or client or by a representative of the patient or client acting on the patient or client’s behalf. The right of a person to make admissions to his/her lawyer, member of the clergy, psychiatrist, or doctor that are not later admissible in evidence.

Privilege Release: Consent for the release of privi­leged information must be in writing and signed by the patient or client, or a legal guardian or parent if the patient or client is a minor, or a legal guardian if the patient or client has been adjudicated incompetent to manage his or her personal affairs.

Proactive: To react in a positive manner to stimulus.

Probate Case: A legal process to dispense with debits and distribute wealth of a person after the person’s death.

Probate Court: The court which handles wills, estates, and commitment of mentally ill persons. The court also has jurisdiction over matters involving minors, usually through a juvenile division.

Probation: Is a criminal sentence that requires the offender to meet conditions under supervision in the community.

Pro Bono: Refers to an attorney accepting a case with no payment for services rendered on the client’s behalf. For the public good or welfare.

Proceedings: A hearing that involves a series of actions, operations, or motions involved in the accom­plishment of a purpose before a judge, arbitrator, or government agency.

Procedural Law: That law which governs the opera­tion of the legal system, including court rules and rules of procedure, as distinguished from substantive law.

Professional Liability: Any dishonest, fraudulent, criminal or intentionally wrongful acts or omissions are illegal. Negligent acts, error or omissions in ren­dering services as a neutral administrator involving the submission, negotiation, and settlement of disputes. Additionally professionals are responsible for their staff including secre­taries.

Proof: The evidence that tends to establish the existence of a fact.

Proposed Findings: A document prepared by you or your lawyer and submitted to the court setting forth your best case scenario of how you want the judge to find the facts and make "conclusions of law" to decide the case.

Pro Se: Also Pro Per (In Propria Persona). A litigant who is not represented by a lawyer. Under the U.S. Constitution, anyone may represent himself or herself in court. The act of appearing Pro-se, installs and grants an individual under the constitution of the United States and the constitution of each state in the United States, full authority to act as an officer of the court in all matters both civil and criminal, having the same weight as any attorney for a litigant.

Prosecutor: A person in the criminal justice system who files criminal charges against and prosecutes an abductor who has violated the law. Also called District Attorney, Commonwealth Attorney, State’s Attorney, or Solicitor.

Process Server: A person who serves a summons, citation or petition.

Protective Order: The restriction by court order of two parties having contact.

Psychological Parent: Is someone who cares for a child as a parent would but has no legal or blood ties to the child.

Psychologist: A person with a degree in Psychology. A professional dealing with the mental and emotional processes of human behavior. A learned person who seriously and systematically explores the mental characteristics of a person.

Psychotherapy: The therapist explores the patient’s early childhood and develops a healthy relationship with the patient in an attempt to resolve interpersonal issues.

Public Records and Reports: Reports, records, state­ments or data compilations in any form made and pre-served by a public office or agency.

Punishment: Sanctions imposed on a person because that person has been found to have committed some act.

Qualified Domestic Relations Order: A court deci­sion that assigns a portion of one spouse’s pension to the other spouse as part of the equitable distribution of the marital assets.

Quality: The degree of excellence of a thing.

Quantity: A determinable or measurable count of a thing.

Quash: To overthrow; vacate; to annul or void a sum­mons or indictment.

Rape: Sex with a woman without her consent. Many states have changed this basic definition to include sex with a minor (with or without consent).

Reactive: To react in an opposite sometimes negative manner to stimulus.

Residence Order: The final decree that identifies where and with whom the child will live.

Reasonable Doubt: In a criminal case, an accused person is entitled to acquittal if, in the minds of the jury, his or her guilt has not been proved beyond a rea­sonable doubt. The state of mind of the jurors in which they cannot say they feel an abiding conviction as to the truth of the charge.

Rebuttal: The introduction of evidence showing that statements of witnesses as to what occurred are not true. The state of a trial at which such evidence may be introduced.

Rebuttable Presumption: Usually, every element of a case must be proven to a judge or a jury. The exception is a "presumption", which means that if certain other facts are proven, then another fact can be taken for granted by the judge (or jury). For example, in some states, an adult caught having intercourse with a minor is presumed as having known that the minor was under-age. Most presumptions are "rebuttable", which means that the person against whom the pre­sumption applies may present evidence to the con­trary, which then has the effect of nullifying the presumption. This then deprives the person that tried to use the presumption with the advantage of the "free" evidence and makes him present evidence to support the fact which might have been proven by the presumption.

Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO): The name of the international system of recognition, registration and enforcement of child and spousal support orders between countries which have agreed, between themselves, to enforce each other’s maintenance orders. Originally created by England, the international REMO system now spreads over many countries. In the USA, the system is known as UIFSA or URESA.

Reconciliation: When all the parties to a domestic relations action are attempting to work out his/her dif­ferences and remain as a family unit.

Records of Religious Organizations: Statements of births, marriages, divorces, deaths, legitimacy, ances­try, relationship by blood or marriage of personal or family history, contained in a regularly kept record of a religious organization.

Records of Vital Statistics: Records of data compila­tions of births, fetal deaths, adult deaths, or marriages if the report was made to a public office within the requirements of the law.

Recusal: When a judge voluntarily removes himself from a case because of bias, conflict of interest, rela­tion to a party, attorney or witness, or for any number of other reasons.

Redirect Examination: Follows cross-examination and is exercised by the party who first examined the witness. Usually to correct damaged testimony.

Referee: A person to whom a cause pending in a court is referred by the court to take testimony, hear the parties, and report thereon to the court. He is an officer exercising judicial powers and is an arm of thecourt for a specific purpose.

Relief: Whatever a party to a legal proceeding asks the court to do: award support, enforce a prior court order, enjoin certain behavior, dismiss the complaint of the other party, etc.

Religious Abuse: May not be just ritualistic abuse, but also such things as using religious tenets to excuse physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. Excusing one’s physical abuse because the abuse victim is "evil", for instance, would in this author’s opinion be religious abuse as well as physical abuse.

Remand: To send back to court for further proceed­ings, as when a higher court sends back to a lower court.

Reply: The pleading filed in answer to the allegations of a claim or counterclaim. Either party may file a reply, which constitutes an answer to any new allega­tions raised by the other party in prior pleadings.

Reporting Domestic Violence: In some states domestic violence towards children must be reported by day care providers, teachers, doctors, psychothera­pists, lawyers, etc., to child welfare authorities. A report of child abuse can lead to criminal prosecution and even placing the child in a foster home or public facility.

Rescind: To abrogate or cancel a contract or agree­ment putting the parties in the same position they would have been in had there been no contract or agreement. A contract can be rescinded because of some defect in its formation (such as misrepresenta­tion, duress, or undue influence) or it can be set aside by agreement by the parties, for example if they reach a new agreement.

Residential Parent: The parent with whom the child lives the majority of the time.

Respect: To consider worthy of high regard; to hold in high esteem. Should be offered and earned.

Resolution: A formal expression of the opinion of a rule-making body adopted by the vote of that body.

Respondent: Also called a Defendant. In a civil case, the defendant is the person against whom the lawsuit is brought. In a criminal case the defendant is the per-son charged with the offense.

Reporter: The person, who’s job it is to transcribe testimony and other court related items.

Repudiate: To turn away by not accepting, receiving, or considering. To desert a cause or party often in order to expose another.

Responsibility: Accountability for one’s obligations, duties and behavior.Rest: In legal terms, this means that the lawyer has concluded the evidence the lawyer wants to introduce at that stage of the trial.

Restitution: The act
of attempting whole a litigant. Most often restitution is accomplished monetarily.

Restraining Order: An order granted without notice or hearing, demanding the preservation of the status quo or keeping one party from having contact with another party until a hearing can be had to determine the proper decision. A restraining order works both ways. One cannot approach another they have had a restraining order issued against.

Retainer: Money paid by the client to a professional to obtain a commitment to handle a specific assignment. A retainer can be a deposit against charges and may be a non-refundable engagement fee. A retainer that has not been billed against may be entirely or partly refundable regardless of any signed agreement.

Revenge: The act of inflicting or the intent to inflict injury in return for real or imagined injury.

Revised Statutes: A collection of the laws of a state or country systematically arranged usually by subject.

Rights: Something that requires no negotiation but may require explanation.

Ritualistic Abuse: Uses false religious reasons to physically, sexually, or emotionally abuse in the context of a religious rite, such as raping someone as part of the ceremony.

Rules of Court: Rules that regulate practice and pro­cedure before the various courts. In most jurisdictions, these rules are issued by the court itself, or by the highest court in that jurisdiction.

Rules of Evidence: The rules that govern the presen­tation and admissibility of oral and documentary evi­dence at court hearings or depositions.

Sanction: A word with two contradictory meanings. To "sanction" can mean to ratify or to approve but it can also mean to punish. The "sanction" of a crime refers to the actual punishment, usually expressed as a fine or jail term. Sanctions are punishment for viola­tion of accepted norms of court conduct and may be civil or criminal. Sanctions may be imposed on liti­gants or attorneys by the judge or they may be requested by one side in an action against the other side. Failing to obey a scheduling or pretrial order, or if no appearance is made on behalf of a party at a scheduling or pretrial conference, or if a party or party’s attorney is substantially unprepared to partici­pate in the conference, or if a party or party’s attorney fails to participate in good faith, the judge may upon -motion or the judge’s on initiative, impose sanctions. The battle over sanctions becomes a separate war in some lawsuits. Sanctions. Courts are reluctant to pun­ish obstructionist lawyers or uncooperative parties.

Sane: The state of sound mental condition. Everyone is presumed sane until the opposite is demonstrated.

Schizophrenia: Sometimes includes fragmented thought and the perception of voices in ones head, as well as a feeling of being controlled by another entity; however, the shift in control does not appear as it does within MPD, and schizophrenic patients generally report their voices as being external in origin.

Sealing of Records: A judge may seal court or inves­tigatory records if the matter deals with a child.

Search Warrant: A special and specific legal order used by police and prosecutors to locate and take pri­vate records, evidence, and information from a spe­cific location for criminal investigation.

Secondary Authority: When doing legal research it is sometimes easier to use resources containing sec­ondary rather than Primary Authority in which the actual law is available. Secondary authority is some-one else’s description, explanation, or analysis of the law. Secondary authority can provide background information as well as references to relevant statutes, regulations and cases. This can be found on the Inter-net, law review articles, legal forms, legal dictionaries, and full-blown treatises in law books.

Security of Costs: A motion that may be filed by one side if they are in doubt about the other side’s willingness or ability to pay costs if they lose the case and are ordered by the judge to cover filing expenses incurred by both parties.

Self-Incrimination: When a person tells of a crime that person committed.Service: Also called Service of Process. Delivery of a pleading, notice, or other paper in a lawsuit to the opposite party. Both parties to a lawsuit must receive notice of all court actions. If a person cannot be found or if they deliberately conceal their whereabouts, most states allow alternatives to personal service. Exam­ples: mail service, service to a responsible adult at the primary address, mail (via postal service) and nail (attach to front door of residence) and publication in the newspaper.

Settlement: Agreed resolution of the dispute.

Settlement Depression: Legal battles might keep you on an emotional roller coaster for so long that settling is like hitting a brick wall. Since each side must give in so much to reach an agreement it is common to feel a huge let down or even depressed after signing a settle­ment agreement.

Sexual Abuse: Sexual contact between two relatives is incest and is a form of sexual abuse in some cases, such as a parent and its child. Sexual contact between a care giver or a teacher and a child is sexual abuse.

Shall: As used in a legal document, it means that the action is mandatory.

Shelters: Many cities have public and private agen­cies that provide shelters for battered spouses (usually women) and children. Victims of violence fear more violence will result from leaving home, so the loca­tions are kept secret. Most of these facilities provide counseling and legal help when victims cannot afford to pay for such services.

Shepardized: "Shepard’s Citations for Cases" is probably the most powerful tool in the law library and was designed predominantly as a tool to update what has happened to a ruling on a case. It is used primarily as a means to checking a case for its precedential or persuasive value to cases you are researching.

Show Cause: Written application to the court for some type of relief, which is made on such notice to the other party as the court directs.

Siblings: Two or more biological or adopted brother sand sisters.

Significant Other: Modern term for husband, wife, betrothed or person you may or may not be living with on an intimate basis.

Sine Die: Adjourned without giving any future date of meeting or hearing. A court that adjourns sine die essentially dismisses the case by saying that it never wants to hear the case again! A meeting which adjourns sine die has simply not set a date for it’s next meeting.

Sixth Amendment: provides you with: the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury: the right to be informed of the law and potential punishment faced for violation of the law: the right to confront (examine at trial) witnesses against you: the right to compel witnesses in your favor to appear and testify at trial: the right to have an attorney for your defense.

Slander: Words falsely spoken that tend to damage the reputation of another. Base and defamatory spo­ken words tending to harm another’s reputation, busi­ness or means of livelihood. Both libel and slander are forms of defamation.

Sole Custody: One parent is given physical custody of the child and the right to make all the major deci­sions about the child.

Sole Managing Conservator (SMC): Person who has total care, custody or control of a child’s physical health or welfare.

Solicitor: This refers to lawyers in England that restrict their practice to the giving of legal advice and do n
ot normally litigate. That court room. A legal dis­tinction is made between solicitors and barristers, the former with exclusive privileges of giving oral or writ-ten legal advice, and the latter with exclusive privi­leges of preparing and conducting litigation in the courts. In other words, solicitors don’t appear in court on a client’s behalf and barristers don’t give legal advice to clients. Barristers and solicitors work as a team: the solicitor would typically make the first con-tact with a client and if the issue cannot be resolved and proceeds to trial, the solicitor would transfer the case to a barrister for the duration of the litigation. Lawyers in Canada, sometimes use the title "barrister and solicitor" even though, contrary to England, there is no legal distinction between the advising and litigat­ing roles. Canadian lawyers can litigate or give legal advice. In the USA lawyers are referred to as "attorneys".

Special Master: A court-appointed individual, usu­ally an attorney, who assists the court in moving a case forward. Problems relating to pretrial discovery often are handled by a special master who schedules and coordinates discovery. Such procedure is necessary where one or both parties fail to comply with dis­covery requests, or when the parties can’t agree on a psychologist a special master can make the selection. Note that the special master is not a judge — his opin­ions carry weight, but not the final word.

Split Custody: Time with and responsibility for the child are shared, not necessarily on a 50/50 basis.

Stalking: To pursue stealthily or under cover by fol­lowing, tracking, chasing with a purposeful goal. It is against the law to stalk another person. "Stalking" someone across state lines will be a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison. "Interstate stalking" is traveling across a state line "with the intent to injure or harass another person" and placing that person "in reasonable fear" of death or injury tthemselves or a member of their immediate family. Defendants can be given up to 10 years if they cause a "serious bodily injury" or use a dangerous weapon, and up to 20 years if they cause a "permanent disfigurement" or life-threatening injury.

Stare Decisis: The doctrine of American law which states when a court has formulated a principle of law, as applicable to a given set of facts, it will follow that principle and apply it in future cases where the facts are substantially the same. It connotes the decision of present cases on the basis of past precedent.

State Clearinghouse: A state agency that keeps records of missing children and may assist law enforcement agencies in trying to recover missing children.

State’s Evidence: Testimony given by an accomplice or participant in a crime, tending to convict others.

Status Quo: The posture or position which existed. What is shall remain.

Statute: The written law in contradistinction to the unwritten law.

Statute Law: Law that is made by legislative enact­ment.

Statute of Limitations: A certain time allowed by statute in which litigation must be brought.

Statutory Rape: The common law definition of rape has not proven adequate to reflect modern values. It is limited to sex without consent and with a woman, and only where the victim is not the wife of the rapist. Many states have enacted laws which include under the charge of rape, sex with a minor even if done with the minor’s consent, sex without consent regardless of whether the victim is male or female, and sex without consent regardless of the matrimonial bond between victim and rapist.

Stay: A stopping of a judicial proceeding by order of the court. A stay can stop an adoption, divorce, execu­tion or release from incarceration.

Stepparent: Is not obligated to support the children of the parent to whom the stepparent is married unless the stepparent legally adopts the children.

Stipulation: Agreement between the parties relating to matters of procedure or certain undisputed facts or issues which need not be proven during the course of the trail.

Subpoena: Is an official document served to notify persons not directly involved in a lawsuit they are to appear for deposition or court at a stated time, date and place.

Subpoena Duces Tecum: A process by which the court commands a witness to appear and produce cer­tain documents, records, or other physical things in a trial.

Subornation of Perjury: Is the crime of inducing or paying another to make false oath. Proof of suborna­tion of perjury requires both proof of perjury in fact and that the perjured statement was procured by the accused. There must also be proof that the suborner knew or should have know that such oaths or testi­mony would be false.

Substantive Law: That law which establishes rights and obligations as distinguished from procedural law, which is concerned with rules for establishing their judicial enforcement.

Summons: A document served upon the defendant that tells them a suit has been filed against him/her and tells him/her when to file an answer or appear in court.

Surrogate Parent: One who is not a child’s parent, but who stands in the place of the parent and is charged with a parent’s rights, duties, and responsibil­ities, either by virtue of voluntary assumption or court appointment.One willing or able to preform some duties of a parent for the benefit of a child while surrendering any rights to the child.

Suspension: The restraining of a person from doing something for a period of time, generally used as a disciplinary action.

Sustain: When an attorney requests an objection, if the judge wishes to block the testimony or evidence he will support the objection by saying "sustained."

Syllabus: A condensed treatment of a subject. A com­pendium, diggers abridgment or overview.

Synopsis: A version of a larger work produced by shortening without basic alteration of intent or lan­guage.

Tainted Evidence: see fruit of the poisonous tree.

Take-Home Pay: The amount of money a person receives after taxes.

Tamper: To interfere improperly or in violation of the law such as to tamper with a document. The term "jury tampering" means to illegally disrupt the indepen­dence of a jury member with a view to influencing that juror otherwise than by the production of evidence in open court.

Threat: A declaration of an intention to inflict punish­ment, loss, or pain on another or to injure another by some wrongful act.

Temporary Custody: Applications to the court for interim relief for custody of a child pending the final decision of the court.

Temporary Injunction: Restraining order.

Temporary Motions: Sometimes called pendente lite motions. Applications to the court for interim relief pending the final decision of the court. Typical tempo­rary motions include child support, attorneys’ fees, costs, expert fees, enforcement or modification of prior temporary orders, etc.

Temporary Restraining Order: An order of the court prohibiting a party from doing something that affects the other party, such as threatening, harassing, or physical abuse on the other side, or the child.

Term of Court: A definite time period prescribed by law for a court to administer its duties. Term and ses­sion are often used interchangeably, but, technically, term is the statutory time prescribed for judicial business and session is the time a court actually sits to hear cases.  In general, terms of court no longer have any special significance, fixed periods of days having replaced the stated terms of the court.

Testify:  Tp make statements under oath

Testimony: Oral evidence given under oath usually in court or deposition on response to questions, as distinguished from evidence derived from writing and other sources.

Tooling the Statute of Limitations: A legal exten­sion to the time limit for action.

Tools of the Crime: The devices used in the commis­sion of the illegal act. Tools may include burglary devices, telephone taping equipment, or even a worth-less check, a false document, or even a fraudulent advertisement.

Tort: An injury or wrong committed, either with or without force, to the person or property of another. A lawsuit for money to make amends for damages.

Transcript: A typewritten record of testimony taken by a court reporter during court or a deposition. Visual evidence created from audio or video informa­tion.

Trespass: An unlawful interference with one’s per-son, property, or rights. In common law, trespass was a form of action brought to recover damages for an injury to one’s person or property or relationship with another.

Trial: A formal court hearing.

Truth: Keeping close to fact and avoiding distortion or misrepresentation.

UIFSA: The American uniform child and spousal support legislation, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act already adopted and implemented by most states and expected to be law throughout the USA soon. It is the successor of URESA and is a Iong-arm statutes as it gives the state which issues the firs support order jurisdiction over the support payer any-where in the USA for the purposes of varying the order.

Ultra Vires: Without authority. An act which is beyond the powers or authority of the person or organization which took it.

Unclean Hands: The principle that a party seeking redress in a court must not have done anything dishonest or unethical of failed to comply in the transaction in which that party seeks fairness.

Unconditional: Absolute, Unreserved.

Under Protest: Making of a payment or the doing of an act under an obligation while reserving the right t object to the obligation at a later date.

Undue Influence: The power exerted over the mind or behavior of another, destroying the requisite of free will. Power that goes beyond a normal or acceptable limit.

Ultra Conservative: Used to describe a person, a community or a judge that strongly resists change and often favors a prior condition.

[Undue Influence:] by excessive insistence, superiority of will or mind, the relationship of the parties or pressure on the person by other means to do what he or she is unable, practi­cally to refuse.

Unethical: Not in accordance with the standard fol­lowed in a business or profession.

Unfit: Unsuitable, incompetent or not adapted for a particular obligation, use or service.

Unimpeachable Witness: A person with no stake or investment in what they are to see and who may be an observer that can give an account without bias, giving no opportunity for censure.

Unperfected: To fail to file a brief that conforms to a rigid format that is bound like a book with a table of contents and an alphabetical list of all the cases to be cited as precedent in the appeal within the time allot­ted by law, all the original transcripts and exhibits from the original trial and a brief with the presentation of the facts and the law, with emphasis on why the decision should or should not be upheld.

Unwed: Being without a spouse. Having unwed par­ents does not affect the legal status of a child or the parent’s obligation to the child. An unwed parent without custody of the child will be required to pay child support and may have the right to visitation and may seek custody.

Unwritten Law: Law originated in custom, not by enactment.

Vacate: To make a place or thing empty. To clear a legal matter by its invalidation.

Venue: The proper county, city or geographical area for the trial.

Verba fortius accipiuntur contra proferentem: Latin: a principle of construction whereby if words of a con-tract are ambiguous, of two equally possible mean­ings, they should be interpreted against the author of the words and not against the other party.

Verbatim: Word-for-word.

Verbiage: The way words are assembled to send a message.

Verdict: The formal finding or decision of the court.

Verification: A document signed under penalty of perjury and attached to another document stating the second document is true.

Victim: Is a person injured or destroyed as the result of event or circumstance. It is common for the victim of child abuse in one generation to become the victim­izer, inflicting child abuse on the next generation.

Victory: The overcoming of an enemy in battle or of an antagonist in any contest.

Vigilant: To pay close attention with a view to antici­pating approaching danger or opportunity.

Vindictive: Actions or words motivated by a desire for malicious damage to another. Thought, action, or appearance of anger to another person.

Visitation: The process facilitating the right of a child to have regular contact with the noncustodial parent, stepparents, grandparents, psychological parents and siblings. Sometimes called Contact Orders.

Voir Dire: A mini-hearing held during a trial on the admissibility of contested evidence. For example, a defendant may object to a plaintiffs witness. The court would suspend the trial, immediately preside over a hearing on the standing of the proposed wit­ness, and then resume the trial with or without the wit­ness, or with any restrictions placed on the testimony by the judge as a result of the voir dire ruling. In a jury trial, the jury would be excused during the voir dire.

Waiver: A written document that relinquishes an individual’s rights.

Waiver of Immunity: A means authorized by statutes by which a witness, in advance of giving testimony or producing evidence, may renounce the fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution that no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

Wanton Act: Action taken with no fear of the conse­quences.

Want’s Federal-State Court Directory: Lists U.S. Court of Appeal clerks. U.S. District Court (trial court) judges and clerks, bankruptcy judges, magistrate judges, and U.S. Attorneys.

Ward of the Court: A minor who is under the protec­tion of the court.

Warrant of Arrest: A writ issued by a magistrate, justice, or other competent authority, to a sheriff, or other officer, requiring him to arrest a person therein named and bring him or her before the magistrate or court to answer a specific charge.

Weight of Evidence: The balance or preponderance of evidence. The inclination of the greater amount of credible evidence, offered in a trial, to support one side of the issue rather than the other.

Web Site: A document on the world wide web that allows movement from page to page using built-in hypertext links. Many resemble a magazine advertise­ments. Individuals, groups, companies and organiza­tions offer information, products and advice on these sites. Use with great caution.

Welfare: Social services. Money, food, clothes, hous­ing and may include training or employment distrib­uted by the government to indigents.

Will: A document disposing of one’s property after death. A vehicle expressing one’s wishes as to whom the children should live.

Willful: An act done intentionally, without justifiable cause, as distinguished from an act done carelessly or inadvertently.

Wire-tapping: An electronic surveillance device which secretly listens in and records conversations held over a phone line. It is usually only allowed with the permission of a judge and if it can be shown to be necessary for the solving of a serious crime.

Without Prejudice: A dismissal without prejudice allows a new suit to be brought on the same cause of action.

Witness: A person who gives testimony concerning the issue being tried.

Words of Art: Words that have a particular meaning in a particular area of study and that have either on meaning or different meaning outside that field. This is especially true in the legal field.

Work Product: The work done by an attorney in the process of representing his client that is ordinarily no subject to discovery. It includes writings, statements or testimony that would substantially reflect or impede an attorney’s legal impressions or legal theories about a pending anticipated litigation, including the attorney’s strategy and opinions.

World Wide Web (WWW): Can be accessed via computer modem for global audio and video commu­nication. Is the hypertext / hypermedia based client server network that uses the Internet to retrieve data, documents, graphics and sound. People often use the terms Web and Interned interchangeably.

Writ: An order issued from a court of justice and requiring the performance of a specific act, or giving authority and commission to have it done.

Writ Ne Exeat (Arrest): An arrest warrant granted in emergencies. An exceptional remedy used in extraor­dinary circumstances. When such a circumstance exists or more wrongdoing is imminent, the court orders the sheriff to arrest and bring the defendant to court.