What Do These Words Mean?


abduction – taking a person away without their permission or taking the children away without permission.

arbitration – where an independent person (an arbitrator) listens to what each person has to say then makes a ‘binding’ (legally enforceable) decision. Arbitration can only be used in property disputes.

assets – property that you own such as the family home,

–                  money, investments, inheritances, shares, superannuation,

–                  cars, jewellery and household items.

binding financial agreement – a signed agreement about splitting up property between people after the breakdown of their relationship; or about any financial support (maintenance) that one person will owe to another after the breakdown of their relationship. The agreement can be made before, during or after the relationship. Each party must receive independent legal advice before signing the agreement.

caveat – a warning registered with the Land Titles Office giving notice that you or some other party have an ‘interest’ in a property and need to be legally notified before certain steps can be taken (such as selling or registering a mortgage) with that property. A caveat normally only lasts for 3 months, but this period can be extended by a Court order. (there are also non lapsing caveats that have no end date see S 142 of the Land Title Act).

child informed mediation – mediation where a qualified person speaks with the children and tells the parents about the children’s views to help the parents make the best decision for the children.

consent orders – a signed agreement between you and another person which is approved by the court and then made into a Court order.

contributions to a marriage or relationshipfinancial or non-financial are:

–        the  things you and your spouse or de facto partner have given to the marriage or relationship, such as property, earnings, house renovations or gardening, child care, cooking and cleaning.

court order – a document made by the court which sets out things that must happen or be done by people, for example where the children live or how property is to be divided when a couple separates.

de facto couple – people who live together as if they were a married couple although they are not married. This includes same sex couples.

debt –money that is owed to another person or organisation such as a mortgage, loan or credit card.

divorce – an order made by a court that ends a marriage.

domestic violence – behaviour by a person towards someone they are or have been in a domestic relationship with (including a family member) or that person’s property or an animal, that causes fear or concern for the family member’s personal wellbeing or safety.

domestic violence order – a court order made under Northern Territory law to protect a person by placing restrictions on the behaviour of another person.

family dispute resolution – Sometimes this is called ‘mediation’. It is when a family dispute resolution practitioner (or mediator) helps people in a family sort out their disagreements with each other, before or after separation.

family law conference – a mediation run by a Legal Aid Commission where both parties can have a lawyer present.

family violence – also known as ‘domestic’ violence is behaviour by a person towards a family member, or the family member’s property or an animal, that causes fear or concern for the person’s personal wellbeing or safety.

extended family – other family members outside the immediate family unit such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

final order – the final orders that the court makes in a court case. Once a final order is made, the case is over.

injunction – a court order to stop someone from doing something, for example to stop property being sold or money being spent, or to stop a person taking a child interstate.

interim order – a temporary order made by a court which lasts until another order (final or interim) is made.

lawyer – a person who can advise you about the law and represent you in court.

legally enforceable –  Usually a document (eg. court orders or a financial agreement) that can be immediately enforced by the court, which may include penalties for not following it properly or the court making further orders about what someone needs to do.

location order – a court order to find children who have been taken without permission or who cannot be found.

Mandatory Reporting (NT) – a legal obligation upon members of the public (or professionals) to report domestic violence or child abuse, or risk of these to authorities.

mediation – where people meet with a trained mediator to discuss their differences and see if they can come to an agreement.

agreement –  (see also family dispute resolution).

negotiation – the process where you and your ex-partner, and/or your lawyers, try to sort out an agreement on your behalf.

parenting plan – a written, signed and dated agreement between parents and/or other people important in the children’s life, setting out arrangements for the children. This can include who the children will live with and who they will spend time with. A parenting plan is not legally enforceable.

parenting Order – a court Order about children, for example setting out where the children will live and when they will see each parent or other significant people in their lives, such as grandparents or siblings.  Such an Order is legally enforceable.

property settlement – the process of deciding how property will be divided between former partners. This is decided either by the people themselves, through their lawyers or when the court makes an order.

recovery Order – a court Order to bring back children who have been taken or kept without permission.

relocate – moving to another area, state or country.

separation – when you stop living together as a couple, even if you still live in the same house.

spousal maintenance – financial support given by one spouse to another, usually when a relationship ends, so that the spouse can adequately support themselves.

spouse – another term for a partner in a de facto or marriage relationship.

witness – a person who saw or heard something about your case (including yourself). They are called to give this evidence in court.

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