6 Common Terms Used During a Divorce

by David Betz on Feb. 28, 2023

Divorce & Family Law Divorce & Family Law  Family Law Divorce & Family Law  Divorce 

Summary: This article provides an overview of the key legal terms and phrases associated with divorce, including alternative dispute resolution, nonmarital property, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, alimony, and decrees. By understanding these terms, individuals going through a divorce can make informed decisions and ensure their rights and interests are protected.


If you're in the middle of a divorce, it's essential to understand the different legal terms associated with the process. Familiarizing yourself with key divorce phrases can help you make informed decisions throughout your case and keep up with significant developments. 


Here are some terms you'll likely come across during your divorce process.


Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): ADR is an umbrella term for various methods used to resolve disputes without going to court. Common types of ADR in Missouri include:


  • Collaborative divorce: In collaborative divorce, both parties work with their attorneys outside of court to find a mutually beneficial resolution to their differences. 
  • Mediation: This dispute resolution method involves using a neutral third-party mediator who helps the couple come up with an agreement they can both accept. 
  • Arbitration: Arbitration is similar to mediation but involves a third-party arbitrator who decides on the disputed issue(s) after hearing arguments from both sides. 


Nonmarital (or separate) PropertyNonmarital property refers to any asset or debt acquired or incurred independently of the marital relationship. For instance, if either spouse had savings in the bank before getting married and those funds aren't commingled with any shared marital assets, those funds would be considered nonmarital property. 


Additionally, if you received an inheritance during the marriage, that may also fall under nonmarital property.


Prenuptial Agreement: A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between two people prior to marriage, which outlines how assets should be divided should they choose to get divorced at some point in the future. It may also include provisions regarding spousal support and child custody.


Postnuptial Agreement: A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement except that it's entered into after marriage rather than before it begins. This agreement determines various financial and/or other arrangements within the marriage and evaluates any future considerations should a divorce occur. 


Alimony (commonly referred to as spousal support): Alimony is money paid by one ex-spouse to another ex-spouse following a divorce decree. Missouri generally has three types of alimony: permanent, short-term, or temporary.


Missouri has no set amount when it comes to alimony. The amount each person pays or receives will depend on factors like earning capacity, length of the marriage, contributions made during the marriage, and so on. 


Decree: A decree is an order issued by a court that officially terminates a marriage and settles all related issues, such as child custody, visitation rights, division of assets, etc.


Our St. Louis Divorce Attorney is Here For You

Navigating a divorce can be an emotionally and financially challenging process. Familiarizing yourself with the key legal phrases and terms associated with divorce can help you make informed decisions and protect your rights and interests. At the Betz Law Firm, we understand the complexity of divorce cases and are committed to helping our clients achieve the best possible outcome. If you and your spouse are planning to divorce, contact us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney. We are here to help you navigate the legal process and provide the support and guidance you need during this difficult time. Call us today at (314) 801-8488.

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