Divorce – A common name for a marriage that is legally ended.
Mediation – When a neutral person (called a mediator) helps people who cannot agree to communicate so they can reach a settlement they both accept. A mediator does NOT give legal advice.
Mediator – Mediators are lawyers or professionals trained to solve disputes. They are neutral and help people settle on their own. The mediator does not decide the case.
Collaborative Law – A way to solve conflicts without going to court. Both sides have a lawyer, but they agree not to go to court unless it is impossible to settle.
Mandatory Settlement Conference – This is the last chance for people in a lawsuit to try to settle before trial. A judge or lawyer listens to both sides of the case and tries to find a solution that everyone agrees with. It is less formal than a full Settlement Conference.
Pro Tempore – Same as a pro tem, or temporary judge. A referee, commissioner, or lawyer who temporarily replaces a judge. Comes from the Latin for for the time being or temporarily.
Default – When a defendant doesn’t file an answer in time or go to court when s/he is supposed to. If the defendant was properly notified, the judge can decide the case without him or her.
Proceedings – Usually, the process of conducting judicial business in front of a court or other judicial officer. A proceeding is any of the separate steps in that process, like, a motion or hearing.
Order to show cause – A court order that makes someone go to court to explain to the judge why s/he did not follow the rules. If someone doesn’t follow the rules, the judge can fine or punish that person in other ways.
Petitioner – A person who presents a petition to the court.
Respondent – The person who answers the original Petition.