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LEGAL TERMS

DISSOLUTION

A term used instead of divorce in some states.

IN CAMERA

Latin for 'in chambers.' A legal proceeding is 'in camera' when a hearing is held before the judge in her private chambers or when the public is excluded from t... (more...)
Latin for 'in chambers.' A legal proceeding is 'in camera' when a hearing is held before the judge in her private chambers or when the public is excluded from the courtroom. Proceedings are often held in camera to protect victims and witnesses from public exposure, especially if the victim or witness is a child. There is still, however, a record made of the proceeding, typically by a court stenographer. The judge may decide to seal this record if the material is extremely sensitive or likely to prejudice one side or the other.

NEXT FRIEND

A person, usually a relative, who appears in court on behalf of a minor or incompetent plaintiff, but who is not a party to the lawsuit. For example, children a... (more...)
A person, usually a relative, who appears in court on behalf of a minor or incompetent plaintiff, but who is not a party to the lawsuit. For example, children are often represented in court by their parents as 'next friends.'

CONSUMMATION

The actualization of a marriage. Sexual intercourse is required to 'consummate' a marriage. Failure to do so is grounds for divorce or annulment.

PHYSICAL CUSTODY

The right and obligation of a parent to have his child live with him. Compare legal custody.

SHARED CUSTODY

See joint custody.

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 ta... (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.

SEPARATION

A situation in which the partners in a married couple live apart. Spouses are said to be living apart if they no longer reside in the same dwelling, even though... (more...)
A situation in which the partners in a married couple live apart. Spouses are said to be living apart if they no longer reside in the same dwelling, even though they may continue their relationship. A legal separation results when the parties separate and a court rules on the division of property, such as alimony or child support -- but does not grant a divorce.

CENSUS

An official count of the number of people living in a certain area, such as a district, city, county, state, or nation. The United States Constitution requires ... (more...)
An official count of the number of people living in a certain area, such as a district, city, county, state, or nation. The United States Constitution requires the federal government to perform a national census every ten years. The census includes information about the respondents' sex, age, family, and social and economic status.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

State v. Gamble

... Barr v. MacGugan, 119 Wash.App. 43, 78 P.3d 660 (2003). ¶ 10 In In re Adoption of Henderson, 97 Wash.2d 356, 644 P.2d 1178 (1982), changes made in a governing statute provided that adoption decrees should be final from the date of entry. ...

In re Dependency of MS

... 1 Facing the possible involuntary termination of her parental rights through a dependency termination proceeding, Carmen Sigurdson decided to voluntarily relinquish her rights to the Department of Social and Health Services in exchange for an open adoption arrangement. ...

In re PPT

... The court also entered findings that all three children were in need of a permanent home given the instability they faced in their parents' home and the length of time they had spent out of parental care, that all three children had prospects for adoption, and that the aunt and ...