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Term Main definition

Any relationship, however restricted, between a child and their non-resident parent.

Synonyms - Communication, Connection
Contact Centre

Facility in which contact may be ordered to take place when it is not possible in a parent’s home or in another familiar and relaxing environment.

Contact Order

Court order, now obsolete in the English and Welsh jurisdiction, requiring a resident parent to allow the child to have contact with the person named in the order.

Contact Parent

Parent in whose favour a Contact Order or Child Arrangements Order regulating with whom a child is to have contact is made.


Person who has been found guilty of contempt.

Contempt of Court

Disobedience, disregard or disrespect to the authority of a court or its officers.


In the context of divorce, "Costs" usually refers to a claim made by one party against the other for reimbursement of their legal costs incurred in either their divorce application or a financial remedy application. The costs typically cover solicitor fees and disbursements (including court fees). 

Court File

Documents a court retains on a particular case.


Where two parties make the same application simultaneously.


Questioning of a witness by a party other than the party who called the witness.


Prior to the Children Act 1989, the protective guardianship of a child, awarded by a court; replaced by the concept of residence until 2014.


Divorce petition form.

Decree Absolute

Final stage of the divorce process, enabling the parties to re-marry.

Decree Nisi

Preliminary stage of the divorce process.

Deemed Service

Order by which the Court declares that service of the petition has been made on the respondent.

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.