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Term Main definition

Removal from the jurisdiction by a parent or putative father of a child under the age of sixteen across an international border without the consent of those with parental responsibility (PR) or leave of the Court.


Obsolete term replaced by “contact” in 1989.

Acknowledgement of Service

When you apply for a divorce, the court will post some papers to your spouse including a copy of the divorce petition (D8 form) and a D10 form for them to complete and return which is known as the Acknowledgement of Service.

Activity Direction

Direction made by the Court requiring a party to the proceedings to undertake an “activity” intended to improve their involvement in the life of the child concerned.


Postpone a hearing to a later date.


Irreversible transfer of all legal rights over a child from the natural parents to the adoptive parent(s).


Consensual sexual intercourse between a married person and someone of the opposite sex other than their spouse.

Synonyms - Infidelity, Affair

Written statement of evidence made under oath.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Resolution of disputes outside of the adversarial court process.


A party “ambushes” the other by introducing into the oral evidence given in court something not contained in a position statement or affidavit, or by making a new allegation.

Ancillary Relief

The old legal name for formal court proceedings to decide on a fair financial settlement in divorce cases. These court proceedings are now known instead as "Financial Remedy" applications.


Declaration by a court that a marriage was never valid.


Document filed by the respondent as part of the divorce process giving his response to allegations made in the petition.


Complaint made to a higher court in order to correct a perceived error made by a lower court.


Party who lodges an appeal.

Want to know more about Family Law terminology?

A big thank you to Nick and Ruth Langford for their contribution to the Wikivorce glossary. For a more in-depth definition of the various legal terms listed above take a look at their book : The Family Law A to Z available to buy on Amazon.

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