Abduction The criminal taking away a person by persuasion (convincing someone–particularly a minor that he/she is better off leaving with the persuader), by fraud (telling the person he/she is needed, or that the mother or father wants him/her to come with the abductor), or by open force or violence. Kidnapping is more limited, requiring force, or threat of force in the taking of children
Adoption A judicial process in conformance to statutory provisions in which the legal obligations and rights of a child toward the biological parents are terminated and new rights and obligations are created between the child and the new or “adoptive” parents.
Assets Real or Personal Property, whether tangible or intangible, that has financial value and can be used for the payment of its owner’s debts.
Chattel An item of personal property which is movable, as distinguished from real property (land and improvements).
Child Maintenance A payment that a noncustodial parent makes as a contribution to the costs of raising her or his child.
Custodial Parent The parent with whom a child lives for the greater part of the year.
Custody The care, control, and maintenance of a child, which a court awards to one of the parents following a divorce or separation proceeding.
Divorce Agreement A properly executed and legally binding contract dictating all matters regarding the legal dissolution of a marriage.
Guardian An individual or trust institution appointed by a court to care for a minor or an incompetent person and his or her property.
Jurisdiction The concept that a court may exercise control over a person or property or litigation because of the location of the property, or the activities of a person within a particular area, or a person’s request for assistance from that authority.
Litigation The act or process of bringing or contesting a legal action in court.
Non-Custodial Parent The parent who does not have physical custody of the child or who has custody of the child for the smaller part of the year.
Personal Property Everything that is the subject of ownership that does not come under the denomination of real property; any right or interest that an individual has in movable things.
Petition A formal written application requesting a court for a specific judicial action.
Property Division The act, pursuant to a divorce or separation, of dividing or distributing all of the chattels and real property a couple owned.
Real Property All land, structures, firmly attached and integrated equipment (such as light fixtures or a well pump), anything growing on the land, and all “interests” in the property which may be the right to future ownership (remainder).
Venue The place fixed for the trial of a cause of action (litigation).
Visitation The right of a parent to visit a child as specified in a divorce or separation order.