Walls & Toomey


Glossary of Legal Terms


Abduction
The unlawful removal of a child from its country of habitual residency by one parent without the consent of the other.
Access
The right of the non-custodial parent of a child to see and have the child spend time with him or her.
Affidavit
A written statement sworn on oath to be true by the person making the statement.
Affidavit of Means
A written statement sworn on oath by each spouse setting out his or her income and expenditure, assets and liabilities and pensions.
Affidavit of Welfare
A written statement sworn on oath by each spouse setting out details of, and arrangements for, the children.
Ancillary Relief (Order)
An order which the court can make in relation to financial and property matters when granting a decree of divorce, judicial separation or dissolution.
Appearance
Notice filed in the Court Office by a solicitor to say they represent the respondent.
Applicant
The person who commences divorce, separation or dissolution proceedings.
Camera, In
The hearing of a case otherwise than in public, ie only the parties and their legal representatives may be in the court during the hearing.
Child
A person under the age of 18.
Civil Bill
The document which requests the Circuit court for a judicial separation, divorce or dissolution and which sets out in broad terms the reasons for so doing.
Civil Partnership
Registration of a civil partnership gives same sex couples rights equivalent to marriage.
Consent Order
An order made by the court in terms which have been agreed by the parties.
Collaborative Practice
A form of alternative dispute resolution. See Practice areas.
Cohabitation
A couple (same sex or heterosexual) who live together in an intimate and committed relationship who are not married or civilly partnered to each other and are not close relatives.
Consent Order
An order made by the court in terms which have been agreed by the parties.
Counsel
Barrister, senior or junior.
Counterclaim
The document by which a respondent claims a judicial separation, divorce or dissolution on different grounds to those set out in the application and where different ancillary relief is sought.
Court
The Circuit Court and High Court can deal with separation, divorce, dissolution and cohabitation cases.
Custody
The right to the physical day-to-day care and control of a child.
Defence
The document which sets out the defence to a judicial separation, divorce or dissolution.
Dependent member
A child under the age of 23 and in full-time education or a child who suffers mental or physical disability.
Disclosure
Full information and documents on all financial matters which must be given by each spouse to the other and to their legal advisers.
Discovery
A specific process whereby the parties disclose to each other on affidavit all documents relevant to the case in their possession, power or procurement.
Dissolution
The process whereby a duly registered civil partnership is dissolved.
Domicile
The place in which a person resides with the intention of remaining there permanently.
Exhibit
A document referred to in an affidavit which is signed by the person swearing the affidavit.
Ex parte
An application made to the court without prior notification to the other party.
Family home
The dwelling in which a married couple ordinarily reside.
File or Filing
Leave or leaving documents with the court office. Each document is stamped with the date of filing and the original retained on the court file.
Guardianship
The parental rights and duties in respect of the upbringing of a child, for example, the duty to maintain and the right to make decisions on education, health and welfare.
Hearsay evidence
Evidence of a fact not seen by a witness but told to him or her by another, ie second-hand knowledge.
Injunction
An order of the court directing a party to do or refrain from doing a particular thing.
Interim relief
An emergency order made by the court after an application has been filed but before the case has come on for full hearing.
Joint Custody
Where the parents agree or Court orders both parents to have joint custody of their child. It is often followed with a statement on which parent is to have primary care.
Legal Aid
A government funded scheme administered of legal aid/advice by the Legal Aid Board HYPERLINK “http://www.legalaidboard.ie” www.legalaidboard.ie
Maintenance
An order of the court which provides that one spouse must pay a periodical payment to the other spouse for his or her support and/or the support of any dependent child.
Mediation
A form of dispute resolution with an agreed mediator acting as a facilator to help the parties negotiate an agreement. The Family Mediation Service (FMS) is free and is run by the Legal Aid Board.
Notice of Motion
The document by which notice is given to the other side of whatever application is being made to the court, for example, notice of motion seeking interim maintenance.
Notice of Trial
The document which is served on the respondent, once a defence is filed, in order to fix a hearing date.
Pleadings
All the official documents filed in the court office.
Pray or Prayer
Formal request in the Civil Bill or counterclaim for the court orders which the applicant or the respondent seeks.
Respondent
The spouse who is not the applicant in the application for judicial separation, divorce and dissolution.
Service
Each court document must be served on the other party. Service is usually made personally, or by registered post on the other party unless a solicitor has agreed to accept service on behalf of that party.
Shared Home
The dwelling in which civil partners ordinarily reside.
Summons
A notice issued by the court office against a respondent or a witness to appear at court either in person or by his or her solicitor at a specified time.
Special Summons
Document by which a judicial separation, divorce or dissolution application is commenced in the High Court.
Third Party
A person unconnected with the case who may have documents which are relevant.
Undertaking
A solemn promise to do or not to do something.
Without Prejudice
When this term is used it prevents any communications which have been made during the course of negotiation either verbally or in writing being made known to the court if the negotiations are unsuccessful.