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Divorce Dictionary

Term Main definition
Capacity (1)

Intellectual ability to carry out certain functions such as to have sexual relations and marry, or understand a case and instruct a solicitor.

Capacity (2)

Legal status enabling two parties to marry each other; i.e., that they are not already married, or not related to each other in a way that prohibits marriage, etc.

Care Order

Court order made on application by a local authority under Section 31 of the Children Act 1989 that a child be placed in their care.

Case Conference

Meeting convened by social services and others to determine what intervention should be taken regarding a child.

Case Law

Body of law based on judicial decisions and precedent rather than on statute.


Short for "Cash Equivalent Transfer Value". This is a standard metric used to value a pension fund for the purposes of divorce financial settlements. It is an attempt to put a total lump sum value on the fund, as opposed to an annual income estimate. It is an important element of the financial disclosure that takes place before negotiations can begin. A CETV is obtained by the pension holder writing a request to their pension provider.


Judge’s office; the expression “in chambers” is used to translate the Latin in camera, referring to a hearing conducted in private. Also a group of barristers and the premises they occupy.

Child Arrangements Order

Order determining with whom and when a child will live or have contact.

Child Arrangements Programme

“Road-map” which shows both courts and litigants how a case should progress through the system and keeps cases on track.

Child Assessment Order

Order made by the Court on application by the local authority that a child be subjected to a medical, psychiatric or other assessment to assess whether he is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.

Child Maintenance

Money paid periodically by liable parents to persons with care as a contribution towards the upkeep of their children.

Child Maintenance Service (CMS)

Successor to the Child Support Agency (CSA), the government body responsible for the calculation and collection of statutory child maintenance.

Child of the Family

Biological child of a married couple or any child who is treated by the couple as their child, including step-children and adopted children, but not a fostered child.

Children & Family Reporter (CFR)

CAFCASS officer who has been asked to prepare a welfare report.

Children And Family Court Advisory & Support Service (CAFCASS)

Controversial organisation tasked in the English and Welsh jurisdiction with protecting the interests of children during proceedings.