Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

Getting to know the language of divorce

Let's be honest -- learning a new language is never an easy thing to do, even if it is not a foreign language, but just a language attach to a specific aspect of life. A good example is the language of social media used so freely and confidently by younger generations in New Jersey, while many older people are at a compete loss when reading things like "LOL," "gr8t," etc. People in the midst of a divorce may find themselves feeling exactly the same, because divorce also has a language of its own.

There is little doubt that the end of a marriage can be seen as a challenge and stressful, especially as it involves a lot of unknowns. One way to decrease stress may be to become familiar with the jargon used by the people in the know. A good starting point may be to figure out who is the respondent and who is the petitioner.

The person who filed for divorce would be the petitioner, which makes the other party the respondent. A petition of dissolution refers to the official filling for divorce in the court. When it comes to the belongings of the two parties, reference may be made to marital and non-marital property. Non-marital property would refer to property which belonged to one of the parties before the wedding, or was an inheritance or a gift acquired during the marriage and kept separate from other marital assets. Marital property will include all assets which were acquired after the wedding.

While working towards reaching an agreement, terms like mediation, litigation and collaborative divorce may pop up.  A collaborative divorce refers to a process in which parties voluntarily collaborate to reach an amicable agreement. Mediation involves a neutral person acting a mediator and working with both parties. During litigation the lawyers of the respective parties take care of the negotiations.

While it all may seem a bit much to take in, understanding the language used is a good starting point. However there are many more issues one needs to be informed about. A good place to start may be arranging a consultation with a New Jersey divorce lawyer.

Source:, "Divorce 101: Understanding the 'Language' of Divorce", Mark Durrenberger, Accessed on Dec. 27. 2017

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