Divorce Dictionary D

DAMAGES

the monetary harm caused by the actions of another person.

DEBTOR

a person who owes money.

DECREE

the final decision made on an action for divorce.

DEED

a written, legal instrument that conveys an estate or interest in real property when it is executed and delivered.

DEFAULT ORDER OR JUDGMENT

an order or judgment made based on only the plaintiff's (petitioner's) complaint, due to lack of response or presence of the defendant (respondent).

DEFENDANT

the spouse who defends against the lawsuit brought against him or her by the other spouse.

DEPOSITION

the testimony of a witness under oath and recorded by a court reporter.

DIRECT EXAMINATION

the initial questioning of a witness called to the stand by his or her attorney.

DIRECT PAYMENT

child or spousal support paid directly to the parent who has custody by the parent who does not have custody (as opposed to wage garnishment).

DISCOVERY

procedures used to absorb information that pertains to the credibility of the opposing party's case. The term may also be used for the interview procedure between the attorney and the client at the initial meeting. (see legal process and or the attorney section)

DISCRETION OF THE COURT

an area of choice available to a judge to make decisions after reviewing reasonable evidence.

DISMISS

the termination of a case without a final disposition of the matter.

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE

a legal judgment that severs a marriage relationship and returns each person to single status.

DIVORCE

a final decree required to legally terminate a valid marriage.

DOCKET

the calendar schedule of the court.

DOCKET NUMBER

the number assigned by a court case. It is used to identify all court actions and it appears on all documents filed with the court in a specific case.

DOMICILE

the place where a person lives and will return if temporarily absent.

DOWER

a wife's common law right to inherit from her husband.