Legal Jargon

Once you have decided to represent yourself during your divorce (pro se), you will need to quickly learn the most common terms that you will encounter throughout the process and how they apply to your case. Some of them are fairly straight forward, while others a bit more complicated or not as obvious. When you first walk into the courtroom or start dealing with the paperwork that you have to successfully fill out, everything is going to look like Greek to you anyway. Here we will cover the basics:

Pro Se – as stated above, it means to represent yourself in a courtroom without an attorney or lawyer to speak for you. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have an attorney help you with your paperwork outside of court, it just means that within the courtroom no one else speaks for you but you.

Alimony – also known as “maintenance”; this is the payment of money from one spouse to another, typically payments made from a husband to his ex-wife. There are a number of factors that determine how much alimony is to be paid and will be set by the judge during the divorce process.

Plaintiff – this is the person who filed the initial paperwork that started the case or suit in court. Also known as a “petitioner” during some divorce proceedings.

Defendant – this is the person to which the suit or case is filed against by the Plaintiff. Also known as a “respondent” in some divorce proceedings.

Mediation – a process in which both parties in the potential case agree to participate in freely in order to resolve disputes outside of court. This can save a lot time and money in court and legal if done successfully.

Reconsideration – essentially a retrial of the case can be requested and agreed to by the judge if they feel an error of law has occurred or there is new evidence which may change the outcome of the case.

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