The unlawful removal of a child from its country of habitual residency by one parent without the consent of the other.


The right of the non-custodial parent of a child to see and have the child spend time with them.

Affidavit of Means

A written statement sworn on oath by each party setting out their income and expenditure, assets and liabilities and pensions.

Affidavit of Welfare

A written statement sworn on oath by each party setting out details of, and arrangements for, their children.

Ancillary Relief

An order which the Court can make in relation to financial matters when granting a decree of divorce, judicial separation or dissolution of civil partnership.


Notice filed in the Court Office by a solicitor to confirm they act for the Respondent.


The person who commences Divorce, Judicial Separation, Dissolution of Civil Partnership or Cohabitation proceedings.


A person under the age of 18.

Civil Bill

The document which institutes an application in the Circuit Court for a Judicial Separation, Divorce, Dissolution of a Civil Partnership or a Cohabitation claim.

Civil Partnership

Registration of a Civil Partnership gives same sex couples rights equivalent to marriage.  See Practice areas.

Consent Order / Terms of Settlement

An order made by the Court in terms which have been agreed by the parties.

Collaborative Practice

A form of alternative dispute resolution. See Practice areas.


A couple (same sex or heterosexual) who live together in an intimate and committed relationship who are not married or civil partners or to each other and are not close relatives.


The document by which a Respondent sets out their case to a Judicial Separation, Divorce or Dissolution of Civil Partnership or Cohabitation proceedings.


The Circuit Court and High Court both deal with Judicial Separation, Divorce, Dissolution of Civil Partnership and Cohabitation cases.


The right to the physical day-to-day care and control of a child.


The document which sets out the reply of the Respondent to claims made in an application for a Judicial Separation, Divorce, Dissolution of Civil Partnership or Cohabitation cases.

Dependent Child

A child under the age of 23 and in full-time education or a child of any age who suffers mental or physical disability.


Full information and documents on all financial matters which must be given by each party to the other party and/or their legal advisers.


A specific process whereby the parties disclose to each other on affidavit all documents relevant to the case in their possession, power or procurement.


The process whereby a Civil Partnership is dissolved.


The place in which a person resides with the intention of remaining there permanently.


An application made to the Court without prior notification to the other party.

Family home

The dwelling in which a married couple ordinarily reside.


The parental rights and duties in respect of the upbringing of a child and the right to make decisions on education, health, welfare and religious issues affecting a child.


The hearing of a case otherwise than in public, i.e. only the parties and their legal representatives may be in the Court during the hearing, subject to certain exceptions.



An order of the Court directing a party to do or refrain from doing a particular thing.

Interim relief

An order made by the Court on a temporary basis but before the case has been decided with a final hearing, e.g. for maintenance, access.

Joint Custody

Where the parents agree or Court orders both parents to have joint custody of their child.


An order of the Court which provides that one spouse must make a periodical payment to the other spouse for his or her support and/or the support of any dependent child.


A form of dispute resolution with an agreed mediator acting as a facilator to help the parties negotiate an agreement.

Notice of Motion

The document by which notice is given to the other side of whatever application is being made to the Court, for example, an application seeking interim maintenance or for an access order.


All the documents filed in the Court office on behalf of the party to any proceedings.


The name given to any Court application.



The person who is not the Applicant in an application for Judicial Separation, Divorce and Dissolution of Civil Partnership or Cohabitation case.


All Court documents must be served on the other party. Service is usually made personally, or by registered post on the other party unless a solicitor has been appointed to act on behalf of that party.

Shared Home

The dwelling in which Civil Partners ordinarily reside.


A notice issued by the Court office against a respondent or a witness to appear at Court either in person or by his or her solicitor at a specified time.

Special Summons

The document by which a Judicial Separation, Divorce, Dissolution of Civil Partnership or Cohabitation application is commenced in the High Court.

Third Party

A person unconnected with the case who may have documents or information which are relevant.


A promise to do or not to do something.  May be given between the parties to proceedings or directly by a party to a Court.

Without Prejudice

A term used which prevents any communications which have been made during the course of negotiation, verbally or in writing, being made known to the Court if the negotiations are unsuccessful.

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