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best interests (of the child)
The test that courts use when deciding who will take care of a child. For instance, an adoption is allowed only when a court declares it to be in the best (more...)
The test that courts use when deciding who will take care of a child. For instance, an adoption is allowed only when a court declares it to be in the best interests of the child. Similarly, when asked to decide on custody issues in a divorce case, the judge will base his or her decision on the child's best interests. And the same test is used when judges decide whether a child should be removed from a parent's home because of neglect or abuse. Factors considered by the court in deciding the best interests of a child include: age and sex of the child mental and physical health of the child mental and physical health of the parents lifestyle and other social factors of the parents emotional ties between the parents and the child ability of the parents to provide the child with food, shelter, clothing and medical care established living pattern for the child concerning school, home, community and religious institution quality of schooling, and the child's preference.
The payment made to a lawyer for legal services. These fees may take several forms: hourly per job or service -- for example, $350 to draft a will contingency (more...)
The payment made to a lawyer for legal services. These fees may take several forms: hourly per job or service -- for example, $350 to draft a will contingency (the lawyer collects a percentage of any money she wins for her client and nothing if there is no recovery), or retainer (usually a down payment as part of an hourly or per job fee agreement). Attorney fees must usually be paid by the client who hires a lawyer, though occasionally a law or contract will require the losing party of a lawsuit to pay the winner's court costs and attorney fees. For example, a contract might contain a provision that says the loser of any lawsuit between the parties to the contract will pay the winner's attorney fees. Many laws designed to protect consumers also provide for attorney fees -- for example, most state laws that require landlords to provide habitable housing also specify that a tenant who sues and wins using that law may collect attorney fees. And in family law cases -- divorce, custody and child support -- judges often have the power to order the more affluent spouse to pay the other spouse's attorney fees, even where there is no clear victor.
temporary restraining order (TRO)
An order that tells one person to stop harassing or harming another, issued after the aggrieved party appears before a judge. Once the TRO is issued, the court (more...)
An order that tells one person to stop harassing or harming another, issued after the aggrieved party appears before a judge. Once the TRO is issued, the court holds a second hearing where the other side can tell his story and the court can decide whether to make the TRO permanent by issuing an injunction. Although a TRO will often not stop an enraged spouse from acting violently, the police are more willing to intervene if the abused spouse has a TRO.
A term used in wills that refers to descendants of a common ancestor or branch of a family.
head of household
A person who supports and maintains, in one household, one or more people who are closely related to him by blood, marriage or adoption. Under federal income (more...)
A person who supports and maintains, in one household, one or more people who are closely related to him by blood, marriage or adoption. Under federal income tax law, you are eligible for favorable tax treatment as the head of household only if you are unmarried and you manage a household which is the principal residence (for more than half of the year) of dependent children or other dependent relatives. Under bankruptcy homestead and exemption laws, the terms householder and 'head of household' mean the same thing. Examples include a single woman supporting her disabled sister and her own children or a bachelor supporting his parents. Many states consider a single person supporting only himself to be a head of household as well.
See fault divorce.
A court decision that is intended to prevent harm--often irreparable harm--as distinguished from most court decisions, which are designed to provide a remedy (more...)
A court decision that is intended to prevent harm--often irreparable harm--as distinguished from most court decisions, which are designed to provide a remedy for harm that has already occurred. Injunctions are orders that one side refrain from or stop certain actions, such as an order that an abusive spouse stay away from the other spouse or that a logging company not cut down first-growth trees. Injunctions can be temporary, pending a consideration of the issue later at trial (these are called interlocutory decrees or preliminary injunctions). Judges can also issue permanent injunctions at the end of trials, in which a party may be permanently prohibited from engaging in some conduct--for example, infringing a copyright or trademark or making use of illegally obtained trade secrets. Although most injunctions order a party not to do something, occasionally a court will issue a 'mandatory injunction' to order a party to carry out a positive act--for example, return stolen computer code.
In community property states, property owned and controlled entirely by one spouse in a marriage. At divorce, separate property is not divided under the (more...)
In community property states, property owned and controlled entirely by one spouse in a marriage. At divorce, separate property is not divided under the state's property division laws, but is kept by the spouse who owns it. Separate property includes all property that a spouse obtained before marriage, through inheritance or as a gift. It also includes any property that is traceable to separate property -- for example, cash from the sale of a vintage car owned by one spouse before marriage-and any property that the spouses agree is separate property. Compare community property and equitable distribution.
The inability of a spouse to engage in sexual intercourse with the other spouse. In some states, physical incapacity is a ground for an annulment or fault (more...)
The inability of a spouse to engage in sexual intercourse with the other spouse. In some states, physical incapacity is a ground for an annulment or fault divorce, assuming the incapacity was not disclosed to the other spouse before the marriage.
...  A judge in the Probate and Family Court granted joint legal custody of Sapphire to the
defendant (mother) and the plaintiff (father), and physical custody to the mother, subject to the
father's right of visitation; the judge also ordered the father to pay child support in the amount ...
... 677 GREANEY, J. The defendant (husband) appeals from a Probate and Family Court order
denying his motion to dismiss the plaintiff's (wife) complaint for modification of a child support
order issued by an Oregon State court. ... See also Child Support Enforcement Div. ...
... 3 (g) allows the exercise of personal jurisdiction over a person who maintains "a domicile in this
[C]ommonwealth while a party to a personal or marital relationship out of which arises a claim
for divorce, alimony, property settlement, parentage of a child, child support or child ...