You are here

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.

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
T
U
V
W
X

N

Needs

"Needs" is unhelpfully not defined in English law but is absolutely central to financial outcomes on divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership. Needs invariably includes income (for self and for any children) accommodation (particularly accommodation for and with children), any relationship generated disadvantage or the recognition of sacrifices and commitments, short-terms items such as cars and furniture, possibly pension (dependent on age), and possibly capitalisation of future income needs. It is often based on the standard of living during the marriage or civil partnership if affordable. There may be other features in particular circumstances.

Needs-based claims are sometimes referred in EU law as "maintenance", but not to be confused with periodic payments of alimony, Spousal / Civil Partner maintenance.

Notary

A form of lawyer found in some European countries. Unlike lawyers in England who act solely for one party in a potential conflict, the notary acts for both and gives joint advice and information. The notary often prepares pre-marriage and other marital agreements, without separate representation and often without any financial disclosure. The notary often attends to division of the marital capital, again without separate representation.

Nullity

A decree of nullity is available in circumstances where a marriage is void or voidable. Unlike divorce, it is not necessary to have been married for one year to obtain a decree of nullity.

A void marriage means that the marriage never existed despite the marriage ceremony. An example is where one party is already married, or the marriage has not been consummated. As in divorce proceedings, financial orders are available. Unlike divorce, nullity proceedings are held in open, public court, and it is necessary to prove the grounds of divorce and as a consequence are often more expensive than divorce.

 

Meet the team

Our specialists are knowledgeable, friendly and experts in their own individual fields.

 

 

GET IN TOUCH

Please send us a message with your query. Alternatively, request a call back, if you would like us to call you. We will be in touch within 24 hours.

 

 

OUR BOOK

When Cupid's Arrow Crosses National Boundaries"When Cupid's Arrow Crosses National Boundaries" by David Hodson OBE and Ann Thomas is the essential guide for international families.