Florida Divorce Glossary of Important Terms

Divorce can be confusing, especially when you’re dealing with terms you may not understand. Making sure you know these terms will help ease some stress of your divorce.

Helpful Florida divorce terms

Alimony: a payment of support provided by one spouse to the other. Annulment: a marriage can be dissolved in a legal proceeding in which the marriage is declared void, as though it never took place. In the eyes of the law, the parties were never married. It is available only under certain limited circumstances. Best interests of the child: Legal standard used to determine child custody, visitation and support Defendant: the person the case is brought against. Dissolution: the legal end of a marriage. Equitable distribution: The division of property between the spouses, and usually only that property bought or acquired by one or both spouses during the marriage. Fault-based divorce: divorce action where misconduct by one spouse is needed before a marriage may be ended. Jurisdiction: the authority of the court to hear a case. No-fault divorce: a divorce that doesn’t require one spouse to prove the other spouse’s fault or misconduct before being entitled to a divorce. Non-marital property: property that belongs to only one spouse and won’t be included in any equitable distribution of property. Paternity test: proving the identity of a child’s biological father through scientific methods. Prenuptial agreement: a contract signed by the spouses before the marriage setting out each spouse’s rights to property and assets in the case of a divorce. Separate property: property or assets that belong to one spouse and usually won’t be included in the property distribution or division. Spousal support: one spouse’s payment to the other for financial support; the same as alimony or maintenance. Subpoena: a form issued by the court requiring someone to appear in court and/or bring documents. Temporary support: payments made by one spouse to the other for financial support while the divorce action is pending. Uncontested divorce: when the defendant is not going to try to stop the divorce and there are no issues for the court to decide about the children, money, or property.
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