Understanding Common Terms in Family Law

Understanding Common Terms in Family Law

Understanding Common Terms in Family Law


Family law is a complex field that governs legal issues related to families and domestic relationships. It includes matters like divorce, child custody, adoption, and child support. Family law is different in each state but learning some common terms used in family law can help anyone who is involved in a family law case. Knowing the jargon of family law can help in navigating the legal matters efficiently. This post aims to define some common terms used in family law to help understand the legal issues related to family law better.


1. Alimony or spousal support

Alimony is a payment made by one spouse to the other spouse for financial support after a divorce. The purpose of the payment is so that the recipient spouse is not financially disadvantaged due to the divorce. The amount of the alimony is determined by various factors like financial resources, income, earning capacity, and the size of the marital estate.

2. Child Custody

Child custody is a legal term used to describe the relationship between a child and the parent(s) and who makes decisions about the child's upbringing. It includes physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody means living with one or both parents, while legal custody means the right to make decisions about a child's upbringing. The court considers the child's best interests when determining custody and can also appoint a guardian ad litem or child’s attorney.

3. Child support

Child support refers to the amount of money paid by one parent to another to contribute to the financial expenses of raising the child. The amount of child support depends on the income of each parent and the number of children subject to the order, as well as the custodial schedule.

4. Divorce

Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage between two individuals. In most jurisdictions, divorce involves three aspects- division of marital property, child custody, and spousal support. The court will issue a final decree of divorce that legally separates the spouses, outlines the custody arrangement, and distributes marital property and debts.

5. Marital property

Marital property is a broad term used to refer to assets and liabilities that have accumulated during marriage and are subject to division upon divorce. The dividing of marital property can be equitable or equal depending on state law.



Legal issues in family law can be intricate and complex, and understanding the legal terminology can help ease the process of navigating the legal system. The tips we shared above provide insight into some of the common terms used in family law. However, if you have a family law matter pending and need assistance with family law practice in Orlando, FL, consulting a family law attorney like Ilvento Law can be a smart move. Our experienced attorneys can help guide you through the legal process and represent you skillfully. We can help you with your case, from completing necessary documents to defending your rights and advocating for your interests. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

To Top