When it comes to your divorce, it may be a confusing time. For instance, you may feel confused about your emotions, what steps to take, and how to move forward. But one thing you don’t want to feel confused about is the legal terms that you will face. So here’s a guide to understanding divorce language and the terms you will need to know.

Divorce Language: Understanding Legal Terms in Your Divorce


When filing for divorce, you will need to write an affidavit. In short, this document states your reasons for divorce. It may be an affidavit of consent, stating that no one was at fault. Or you may list your complaints and reasons for requesting a divorce. In either case, you will need to have this document notarized.


In this divorce language term, the word alimony refers to a payment. In general, this means the court will order one spouse to pay the other spouse. This is to offer finial support for the spouse that received the support during your marriage. Most often, the court will grant alimony to the wife in a divorce case.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

This term refers to an instance when you and your spouse can come to an agreement, instead of going to trial. Therefore, this takes place outside of court proceedings. In most cases, your attorneys will be present and you will reach an agreement that is satisfactory to both parties.


In short, this is the formal term of a divorce. It means terminating a marriage. However, it does not include the act of an annulment.

Guardian ad Litem

When going through a divorce that involves children, you may need an additional person to hold the child’s best interest. For cases that involve visitation rights or custody, the court may order a Guardian ad Litem. This is an attorney that will serve to promote only the child’s best interest.

Equitable Distribution of Property

In most cases, property may go to whomever holds the legal title to that property. But equitable distribution of property allows the distribution of property based on certain factors. Therefore, the factors surrounding your divorce may distribute the property, without regard to who holds the title.

Since there are many terms that exist within divorce language, these are just some of the term you may come across in your case. It’s important to speak with your attorney about terms you are unfamiliar with. In order to best understand your case, you will want to be familiar with the divorce language that is specific to you.