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Glossary of Legal Terms

We set out below a list of family law terminology to try and assist you in better understand what lawyers are talking about and some of the specific terms used. This glossary provides general information only. Specialist professional advice should always be taken and we cannot accept any liability for reliance on it.

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H

Habitual Residence

Habitual residence refers to the legal and factual relationship between a person and a country. It is a legal term and it can sometimes be difficult to pin down where a person is habitually resident. Literally it means, where a person resides as a matter of habit.

A person can only have one habitual residence anywhere in the world at any one time. It is the country in which a person has a fixed centre of interest and a settled intent to stay in that country. It should be distinguished from ordinary or simple residence of which a person can have two or more in parallel. Admitting habitual residence can carry tax and immigration consequences so care is needed. If in doubt, legal advice should be taken.

Hague Convention on Child Abduction

This is a Convention entered into by about 70 countries to secure the swift return of a child to its country of habitual residence, and without any enquiry into issues of who may be the better parent to care for the child. There are a number of Hague Conventions including on International Child Adoption.

Harassment

Harassing a person includes alarming the person or causing the person distress. The behaviour that causes the alarm or distress must take place more than once. The conduct can be a wide variety of actions that cause alarm of distress but include physical or sexual assault, or psychological torment. Words and phone calls can be classified as harassment.

 

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