Whenever you're learning about a new field -- be it history, medicine, finances or law -- the first step to getting a handle on the topic is understanding the jargon. If you're considering getting a divorce in Colorado, and you've never been through a divorce before, you will probably encounter a lot of new words.
It's doubtful that you'll have very much time to study a law dictionary. You're probably busy enough trying to stay focused at your accounting job, while taking care of the kids, but knowing the following words -- and making an effort to familiarize yourself with additional divorce terminology -- will serve you well.
Divorce-related legal terms that might be entirely new to you
Here are a few legal terms to get you started off on the right track. These words have been selected because -- if you're like most divorcing spouses in Colorado -- you may not have heard them before:
-- Arrearage: If your spouse owes you unpaid child support, or if you've gotten behind on your child support payments, the outstanding money is known as "arrearage."
-- Decree: The "decree" is the written order provided to you by the court pertaining to your divorce. This is the final decision of the court and it will cover decisions related to child custody, child support, asset division and more. It's vital that you understand and follow your divorce decree to the letter if you want to avoid legal problems later on down the road.
-- Deposition: A "deposition" involves an attorney asking a witness a question, and recording the answers the witness provides. When you are being "deposed," your attorney will be present to make sure that the questions asked are legally appropriate.
-- Discovery: The term "discover" relates to the exchange of information and evidence that will be used by both sides to support their legal arguments in court. You must comply with the discovery requests of the opposing council, so long as the requests are appropriate and lawful. Your lawyer will help you defend against any inappropriate discovery demands.
-- Petitioner: The "petitioner" is usually the person who started the divorce. He or she might also be the "plaintiff."
-- Respondent: This is the individual in the divorce who answers the initial divorce petition. He or she might also be the "defendant."
-- Stipulation: A "stipulation" refers to a matter of agreement between the spouses that the family law court will insert into the final decree.
Need help navigating your Colorado divorce?
There are a lot of rules and interpretations of the law that will come into play in your divorce proceedings. Having an experienced Colorado divorce attorney by your side at every step of this process will help you protect your legal rights while retaining your sense of security and confidence.