Summary of Common Family Law Terms (Vol. XIV) – Welcome to another summary of common Family Law terms. At Nelson Law Group PC, we believe in educating our clients by breaking down even the most complex and intimidating law topics into bite-size pieces that are easy to understand.
While not an exhaustive list, what we hope is that some of the words and phrases below will become less foreign to you if and when you need us. If you scroll to the bottom of this post, you can find links to our previous 13 law terms posts if you crave even more information.
Vol. XIV Family Law Terms
Standard of Proof
The burden of proof, an obligation a party in a trial has to produce enough evidence to prove their case, has different standards depending on the if you are involved in a civil dispute or something more criminal in nature.
Clear and Convincing Evidence
Proving that a particular fact is more likely to be true. In other words, there is a higher probability that what you are saying is true and can be backed up by evidence or through expert testimony. This standard is relied on for many civil cases.
Preponderance of the Evidence
A lesser standard of proof in civil cases than having to provide clear and convincing evidence. A party has to show that something was more likely to have occurred when compared with the evidence from the offending party. In other words, the evidence from one side carries more weight, even if there is only a 51 percent likelihood that it is true.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
A standard of proof specific to criminal cases that involves an immensely higher standard of proof – especially when the court is dealing with the facts in a murder or burglary case. At the end of the day, you must prove that the only logical explanation based on the facts is that the offending party committed the criminal act.
Evidence that is concrete, such as a signed promissory note or a canceled check, that cannot be refuted and can be used as clear and convincing evidence.
Adult Name Change
Adults legitimately choose to change their legal birth names for a variety of reasons, from as simple as a last name change following a marriage or divorce to a full name change because of religious and political beliefs. Once a name change is approved, you can use it for all legal purposes.
Public’s Best Interests
The public’s best interest factor must be satisfied to complete a name change request for a minor. The biggest, and perhaps only, reason is if the child whose name is to be changed is subject to requirements under the sex offender registration. The court can grant the name-change request if the change is in the public’s best interest AND if it is in the child’s best interest. The petitioner must provide the court proof that the child has notified the appropriate local law enforcement in the county the child lives.
Family Law is a specialized area of civil litigation and involves anything that has to do with the family relationship. This includes divorce, adoption, child custody, and child support. Granted, many of these legal issues are the direct result of spouses who are willing to end their marriage, especially when there are children involved.
Refers to a list of written questions sent to the opposing party. The opposing party is required to answer these interrogatories, which can range from basic questions about their background and employment history to more pointed questions about assets, debts, and past drug use. Interrogatories are very important to a lawyer’s strategy.
Refers to the time frame before a trial where a lawyer is gathering as much information as possible to understand all factors of the case and the parties involved. This stage is typically where lawyers will introduce interrogatories.
When a party in a case appeals a decision made by one court, they have the option of requesting that another court try the case again. This is called a de novo hearing, which is Latin for “anew” or “beginning again.”
Child Custody Evaluation
An investigation or assessment that explores the safety and welfare of a child. It is performed by a court-appointed official, such as a mental health expert, who does a deep dive evaluation of the family and makes a recommendation to the court regarding conservatorship. When performing this evaluation, the evaluator is looking out for what is best for the child, including whether or not one or both parents have the ability to raise the child, have created a stable home, and have future plans to raise the child.
A trial court that has jurisdiction within a specific district; the lowest level of U.S. Federal Court. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in a district court.
A member of a judicial panel who is not the presiding judge over a particular case. An associate judge’s responsibilities are similar to a presiding judge but are appointed rather than elected and have fewer administrative responsibilities.
A declaration under oath or upon penalty of perjury that a statement or pleading is true. False information given in a verified legal pleading is subject to penalties for perjury.
Here are individual links to our previous 13 terms lists: Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5, Vol. 6, Vol. 7, Vol. 8, Vol. 9, Vol. 10, Vol. 11, Vol. 12, Vol. 13. Before filing your case, give us a call. Our friendly staff is here to help you. For more information about Brett A Nelson click here.