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Family Law I

TermDefinition
family law the body of law that defines relationships, rights, and duties in the formation, existence, and dissolution of marriage and other family units
divorce a court declaration that a validly entered marriage is dissolved
marriage the legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife, which can be dissolved only by divorce or death
premarital agreement a contract made by two individuals about to be married that can cover spousal support, property division, and related matters in the event of the separation of the parties, the death of one of them, or the dissolution of the marriage by divorce or annulme
civil union a same-sex relationship in Vermont that has the same benefits, protections, and responsibilities under Vermont law that are granted to spouses in a marriage
arbitration the process of submitting a dispute to a third party outside the judicial system, who will render a decision that resolves the dispute
mediation the process of submitting a dispute to a third party outside the judicial system, who will help the parties reach their own resolution of the dispute; the mediator does not render a decision that resolves the dispute
filius nullius an illegitimate child; "the son of no one".
artificial insemination the impregnation of a woman by a method other than sexual intercourse
legitimation the steps taken that enable an illegitimate child to become legitimate
paternity proceeding a formal process to determine whether a particular man is the biological father of a particular child
filiation a judicial determination of paternity; the relation of the child to the father
putative alleged or reputed
guardian ad litem a special guardian appointed by the court to represent the interests of another
res judicata when a judgment on the merits has been rendered, the parties cannot relitigate the same dispute
personal jurisdiction the power of a court to render a decision that binds an individual defendant
long-arm statute a law that gives a court personal jurisdiction over a nonresident because of his or her purposeful contact with the state
Lord Mansfield's Rule the testimony of either spouse in inadmissable on the question of whether the husband had access to the wife at the time of conception if such evidence would tend to declare the child illegitimate
standing the right to bring a case and seek relief from a court
DNA testing genetic testing on deoxyribonucleic acid removed from cells
agency adoption an adoption in which a child is placed for adoption by a public agency responsible for adoptions or by an approved private adoption agency
independent adoption an adoption in which a child is placed for adoption by its natural parent, often with the help of facilitators
black market adoption an adoption that involves a payment beyond reasonable expenses in order to facilitate the adoption
second-parent adoption the adoption of a child by a partner (or cohabitant) of a natural parent who does not give up his or her own parental rights
subject matter jurisdiction the power of a court to hear a particular kind of case
choice of venue the selection of the court to try the case when more than one court has subject matter jurisdiction
petition a formal request that the court take some action
unfit demonstrating abuse or neglect that is substantially detrimental to a child
unemancipated legally dependent on one's parent or legal guardian
nonage below the required minimum age to enter a desired relationship or perform a particular task
interlocutory not final; interim
putative father registry a place where the father of a child can register so that he can be notified of a proposed adoption of the child
reunion registry a central adoption file that could be used to release identifying information about and allow contact between adult adoptees and biological parents
contact veto a denial of consent to have contact between the adoptee and biological parents, although permission for the release of identifying information might be given
open adoption an adoption in which the natural parent maintains certain kinds of contact with his or her child after the adopton
equitable adoption the purposes of inheritance, a child will be considered the adopted child of a person who made a contract to adopt the child but failed to go through the formal adoption procedures
wrongful adoption a tort action seeking damages for wrongfully stating or failing to disclose to prospective adoptive parents available facts on the health or other condition of the adoptee that would be relevant to the decision on whether to adopt
best interest of the child a standard of decision based on what would best serve the child's welfare
tender years presumption mothers should be awarded custody of their young children since they are more likely to be better off raised by their mothers than by their fathers
physical custody the right to decide where the child will reside
custodial parent the parent with physical custody
legal custody the right to make the major child rearing decisions on health, education, religion, discipline, and general welfare
joint physical custody the right of both parents to have the child reside with both for alternating (but not necessarily equal) periods of time
joint legal custody the right of both parents to make the major child rearing decisions on health, education, religion, discipline, and general welfare
split custody siblings are in the physical custody of different parents
contested disputed; challenged
parental alienation syndrome a disorder suffered by some children at the center of a child custody dispute. They idealize one parent while expressing hatred for the other, even though the relationship with both parents was relatively positive before the dispute
primary caregiver presumption the primary person who has taken care of the child should have custody
supervised visitation visitation of a child in the presence of an adult other than the custodial parent
psychological parent an adult who is not legally responsible for the care of a child, but who has formed a substantial emotional bond with the child
forum shopping seeking a court that will be favorable to you; traveling from court to court until you find one that will provide a favorable ruling
home state the state where the child has lived with a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the custody case begins in court, or since birth if the child is less than six months old
inconvenient forum the state or jurisdiction where it is not as convenient to litigate a matter as another state or jurisdiction
exclusive, continuing jurisdiction the authority of a court, obtained by compliance with the UCCJEA, to make all initial and modifying custody decisions in a case to the exclusion of courts in any other state
dirty hands wrongdoing or other inappropriate behavior that would make it unfair or inequitable to allow a person to assert a right or defense he or she would normally have
Created by: pfmerriell