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Common divorce terms that you should know

A divorce is a time when you will have to make decisions based on what you know. You can't think that everything is going to be smooth sailing during the divorce. Instead, you should take a proactive stance and get ready to ensure that your new life starts out in the best way possible. Knowing some of the basic terms that you might hear during the divorce can help you to better understand each option that is presented to you.

Much like a criminal case, there is a plaintiff and a defendant in divorce cases. These might also be referred to as the petitioner and respondent, but those mean exactly the same thing. The petitioner is the plaintiff and the respondent is the defendant.

The discovery process is the part of the divorce in which information is exchanged. This can include interrogatories, which are written questions that have to be answered truthfully. The questions are presented to one side from the other side.

Some divorces are resolved through mediation. This is an alternative dispute resolution process during which you and your ex would work with the help of an unbiased third-party to resolve the issues that are present in the divorce.

A settlement conference is the portion of the process during which both your side and your ex's side would try to work out the entire settlement before the case has to go to a trial.

The divorce order is the final document that is necessary to end the marriage. This document includes a host of information, including the dissolution clause and the property division terms.

If you are going through a divorce, these basic terms can come in handy. If you already know what they mean, you won't have to spend your time and energy finding out what they mean. Instead, you can focus on the important points of the divorce.

Source: FindLaw, "Divorce Glossary," accessed Jan. 20, 2017

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