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LEGAL TERMS

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 OF KIN

The closest relatives, as defined by state law, of a deceased person. Most states recognize the spouse and the nearest blood relatives as next of kin.

CONSUMMATION

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

CUSTODY (OF A CHILD)

The legal authority to make decisions affecting a child's interests (legal custody) and the responsibility of taking care of the child (physical custody). When ... (more...)
The legal authority to make decisions affecting a child's interests (legal custody) and the responsibility of taking care of the child (physical custody). When parents separate or divorce, one of the hardest decisions they have to make is which parent will have custody. The most common arrangement is for one parent to have custody (both physical and legal) while the other parent has a right of visitation. But it is not uncommon for the parents to share legal custody, even though one parent has physical custody. The most uncommon arrangement is for the parents to share both legal and physical custody.

WRONGFUL DEATH RECOVERIES

After a wrongful death lawsuit, the portion of a judgment intended to compensate a plaintiff for having to live without a deceased person. The compensation is i... (more...)
After a wrongful death lawsuit, the portion of a judgment intended to compensate a plaintiff for having to live without a deceased person. The compensation is intended to cover the earnings and the emotional comfort and support the deceased person would have provided.

VISITATION RIGHTS

The right to see a child regularly, typically awarded by the court to the parent who does not have physical custody of the child. The court will deny visitation... (more...)
The right to see a child regularly, typically awarded by the court to the parent who does not have physical custody of the child. The court will deny visitation rights only if it decides that visitation would hurt the child so much that the parent should be kept away.

MARTIAL MISCONDUCT

See fault divorce.

RESTRAINING ORDER

An order from a court directing one person not to do something, such as make contact with another person, enter the family home or remove a child from the state... (more...)
An order from a court directing one person not to do something, such as make contact with another person, enter the family home or remove a child from the state. Restraining orders are typically issued in cases in which spousal abuse or stalking is feared -- or has occurred -- in an attempt to ensure the victim's safety. Restraining orders are also commonly issued to cool down ugly disputes between neighbors.

ZONING

The laws dividing cities into different areas according to use, from single-family residences to industrial plants. Zoning ordinances control the size, location... (more...)
The laws dividing cities into different areas according to use, from single-family residences to industrial plants. Zoning ordinances control the size, location, and use of buildings within these different areas.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Estep v. Hamilton

... She contends Mr. Hamilton was negligent when representing her in her divorce from Michael Raymond. ... The final papers were silent regarding any re-designation of insurance policy beneficiaries. After the divorce, neither party changed the beneficiary designations. ...

Buchanan v. Buchanan

... 8 "[P]roperty not disposed of by the divorce court is held by the parties as tenants in common." Martin v. Martin, 20 Wash.App. ... Likewise, a surviving spouse military plan not disposed of in a divorce decree is owned by the former spouse as tenants in common. ...

In re Marriage of Obaidi and Qayoum

... Ms. Obaidi asserts that the mahr requires Mr. Qayoum to pay her $20,000 upon divorce. ... We conclude that under neutral principles of contract law, the parties did not enter into an agreement for payment of $20,000 to the wife upon divorce. ...