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Legal words and phrases explained

Abduction – taking a person away without their permission or the children without permission.

Arbitration – where an independent person (an arbitrator) considers what each person has to say then makes a ‘binding’ (legally enforceable) decision. Arbitration can only be used in property disputes.

Assets – property that you own such as the family home, money, investments, inheritances, shares, superannuation, cars, jewellery and household items.

Caveat – a warning to other people that you have an ‘interest’ in property, for example you may have rights to the property in some way.

Consent orders – an agreement between you and another person which is approved by the court and then made into a court order.

Contributions to a marriage or relationship – things you and your spouse or defacto partner have given to a marriage or relationship, such as property, earnings, house renovations or gardening, child care, cooking and cleaning.

Court order – a document made by the court which sets out things that must happen, for example where the children live or how property is to be divided when a couple separates.

Debt – a debt is money that is owed to another person or organisation such as a mortgage, loans or credit cards.

Defacto couple – people who live together as if they were a married couple although they are not. This includes same sex couples.

Divorce – an order made by a court that ends a marriage.

Domestic violence – behaviour by a person towards a family member, or the family member’s property or an animal, that causes fear or concern for the family member’s personal wellbeing or safety. Also known as ‘family’ violence.

Domestic violence order – a court order made under Queensland state law to protect a family member by placing restrictions on the behaviour of another family member.

Extended family – other family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Family dispute resolution – when a family dispute resolution practitioner helps people in a family sort out their disagreements with each other, before or after separation. Sometimes this is called ‘mediation’.

Final order – the final orders that the court makes in a court case. Once a final order is made, the case is over.

Injunction – a court order to stop someone from doing something, for example to stop property being sold or money being spent.

Interim order – a temporary order made by a court which lasts until another order or a final order is made.

Lawyer – a person who can advise you about the law and represent you in court.

Legally enforceable – must be obeyed, by order of the court, for example a parenting or consent order.

Location order – a court order to find children who have been taken without permission and who cannot be found.

Mediation – where people meet with a trained mediator to discuss their differences and see if they can come to an agreement.

Negotiation – the process where you and your ex-partner, or your lawyers, try to sort out an agreement on your behalf.

Parenting order – a court order about children, for example setting out where the children will live and when they will see each parent or other significant people.

Parenting plan – a written agreement between parents or other people important in the children’s life, setting out arrangements for the children. This can include who the children will live with and who they will spend time with.

Property settlement – how property will be divided between former partners. This is decided either by the people themselves, through their lawyers or when the court makes an order.

Recovery order – a court order to bring back children who have been taken or kept without permission.

Relocate – moving to another area, state or country.

Separation – when you stop living together as a couple, even if you still live in the same house.

Witness – a person who saw or heard something about your case (including yourself). They give this evidence in court.

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