Call us today! 858-278-8080

Common Divorce Terms

Matthew Kremer AttorneyIn the whole scheme of things getting married is a pretty simple thing. Two people fall in love, say some vows and sign paperwork with witnesses and there you go. The two are legally bound to each other.

Getting a divorce, on the other hand, is not so simple. There are various waiting periods as well as potential hearings that the parties are continuously going through until divorce is considered official.

If you have been going through the process yourself you may have found that there are varying legal terms and a whole array of jargon about divorce. Here we will provide you some of the most common terms you will see while going through your divorce.

Child Support:

Child support is a payment that is paid from one parent to the other in order to help support different activities the child may be involved in. The support can be related to medical expenses, day care or general living expenses. Typically the payment is issued in cash and there is a mathematical formula used to derive the amount that should be paid.

Child Custody:

There are two different types of custody for a child after divorce, legal and physical.

Legal custody has to do with legal decisions that are made about the child. This can mean what school they are to attend, type of medical care, etc. The custody can be split to both parents or given solely to one by the court.

Physical custody is the parent that physically takes care of the child or spends time with them. This custody can once again be split between the parents or given to specifically one. When only one parent has physical custody of the child it is called “sole custody” or “primary custody.”


This schedule relates to when both parents have some type of shared custody over the child. The visitation rights are a schedule that is put into place saying when each respective parent has custody over the child. An example of this is Christmas is spent with dad or the mom only gets to see her child on the weekends.


This is the technical term used in the courts in regards to divorce.

Petition for Dissolution:

This is the technical term once again from the court describing that someone is beginning the process to file for divorce.

Community Property:

Community property refers to any types of items that may have been acquired by both parties during the course of marriage. Typical items that run under this umbrella include cars, real estate, land, etc.

Separated Property:

Separate property is for items that were not acquired during the course of marriage. This means if the wife owned a house before the parties got married the wife continues to own that house, it is separate property.

Temporary Order:

This term is in regards to decisions that are made in a trial before the trial is complete. The term essentially means, “in the meantime.” So, for example, how will the visitation rights stand over the course of the divorce process before things are made more permanent.

These are just some of the most general terms you will hear during a divorce. If you run across any more specific ones you don’t know during your dissolution process, call the law offices of Matthew M. Kremer, San Diego family law attorney.

Comments are closed.