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Term Main definition

Person named in the petition as having committed adultery with the respondent.

Coercive Control

Abusive behaviour including isolation, intimidation, belittling, humiliation, threats and withholding necessary resources such as money or transportation.


Arrangement in which a couple live together but do not marry and thus do not enjoy the legal protections granted a married couple.

Collaborative Law

Non-adversarial, non-competitive approach to resolving disputes cooperatively using specialist lawyers.


Act of sending a person to prison.

Common Law

Judge-made law established through precedent or case law which binds future decisions.

Common-Law Marriage

Marriage recognised as valid by both parties but not formally registered. There has never been any such thing in England and Wales.


Mental capacity required by a party in order to understand his case and instruct a lawyer

Synonyms - Ability

Form of alternative dispute resolution which takes place in-court under the direction of the judge or CAFCASS.

Conduct of Litigation

There is no clear definition, but it may be taken to include any formal steps taken in proceedings.

Conformed Copy

Official copy of a court document which carries the Court’s seal and any handwritten notes which may be on the original.

Connell Order

Form of maintenance order in which the Court orders one spouse to pay a global amount for the maintenance of the other (and children), less whatever the Child Maintenance Service calculates he should pay.


Relationship through blood.


Consent Order

Any order made with consent between the parties; the term usually applies to the financial order made on divorce.


Culmination of the marriage procedure through sexual intercourse.

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.