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Term Main definition
Defined Contact

Pattern of contact defined by a detailed schedule in order to eliminate the chances of misunderstanding and dispute.


Person who gives evidence by affidavit, affirmation or deposition.


One of the five facts that can be used as the basis for a divorce. Desertion refers to the situation where one spouse has abandoned the other spouse, often their whereabouts is unknown. It is one of the less common grounds for divorce.

Designated Family Centre (DFC)

Administrative hub to which initial applications are made and where hearings take place.


Instruction by a judge contained within an order for someone to do something.

Directions Appointment

Hearing at which the judge makes directions.


Costs charged by a solicitor to cover payments to third parties.


Process of revealing confidential documents and information to the Court and to other parties.

District Judge

Officer of the court who deals with applications to initiate children proceedings in which there is some complexity.

Divorce Centre

One of eleven regional centres which deal with divorce petitions.

DIY divorce

This is when you manage your own divorce. This typically means completing the court forms yourself and communicating with the court throughout the process - whether as the applicant or the respondent in a divorce.

DNA Test

Test directed by a court to determine whether or not a putative father is the biological parent of the child subject to proceedings.

Domestic Violence

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN)

Injunction made by a police officer without a court’s involvement to remove someone from their home for up to forty-eight hours.


Legal jurisdiction in which a party is deemed to have his permanent home.

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.