A Child

A person under the age of 18.

Financial  Relief

Claims, most for financial orders, arising from divorce, judicial separation or nullity petitions.


Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services. A government agency to look after the interests of children involved in family proceedings. CAFCASS officers work with children and their families and then advise the court on what course of action they consider to be in the child’s best interests.

Child abduction

The unauthorised removal of a child from the care of the person with whom he/she normal lives.

Child Support Agency (CSA)

The government agency responsible for the calculation, collection and payment of child support maintenance.

Clean break

An order in Financial proceedings ending the financial obligations of each party towards the other.


The government agency which will be replacing the CSA.

Contact Centre

A venue for contact to take place between parents, grandparents and children that do not live together.

Contact Order

A court order requiring the person with whom a child lives to allow the child to visit, stay or be in contact with the person named in the order.

County Court

A court dealing with civil matters. The local County Courts which can also hear family matters are Oxford, Slough, Reading and Milton Keynes.

Decree Absolute

The final order for divorce dissolving a marriage.

Decree Nisi

The court order for divorce UNLESS cause is shown within a set period why the divorce should not be made absolute. Decree Nisi is not the end of the marriage.


An instruction from the court.

Family Proceedings Court

A magistrates court dealing with family cases.

Final Hearing

The hearing when the court will make a final decision concerning any application before it.

Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing (FDR) hearing

In Financial Relief proceedings which have been timetabled by the court, the hearing where the parties negotiate and attempt to reach a settlement with the aid of the indications expressed by a District Judge. The District Judge’s views are not binding on the parties at the FDR and that Judge will not decide the matter at a Final Hearing.

First Directions Appointment

In FinancialRelief proceedings which have been timetabled by the court, the first hearing, the purpose of which is to define the issues in dispute and to direct how the case is to progress so that those issues may best be resolved and an agreement reached.

Form E

The court form both parties to a marriage must complete in the course of FinancialRelief proceedings which fully discloses their respective financial circumstances.

Hague Convention

A convention signed by a number of countries to enforce rights of of custody and prevent wrongful removal and facilitate the return of children between the countries who have signed into the convention.


A court order usually preventing someone from doing something.

Lump sum order

An order in Financial  Relief proceedings obliging one party to the marriage to pay to the other a fixed sum of money either in one payment or by instalments.

Maintenance Pending Suit

In Financial Relief Proceedings an order for one party of the marriage to pay maintenance to the other duringresolution of all the financial issues.

No Order Principal

Under section 1 of the Children Act 1989, a court must not make an order unless it considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all.

Parental Responsibility

Under section 3 of the Children Act 1989, this is defined as all rights duties powers responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to a child and his property.

Pension Attachment Order (Earmarking)

An order in Financial proceedings obliging the pension scheme of one party to divert a portion of the pension or lump sum to the other party.

Pension Sharing Order

An order in inancial Relief Proceedings ordering that a specified percentage of one party’s pension is transferred to the other party.

Periodical Payments Order

In Financial Relief proceedings an order that one party to the marriage shall pay periodical payments (sometimes known as maintenance) to the other party for whatever term is specified in the order.

Prohibited Steps Order

A court order preventing a person taking  a specified step or action concerning a child without the consent of the court.

Property Adjustment Order

In Financial Relief proceedings, an order requiring one party to the marriage to transfer or settle specified property to the other or for the benefit of the other party or children.

Residence Order

A court order settling the arrangements for with whom a child is to live.

Specific Issue Order

A court order determining a specific question which has arisen or which may arise in connection with any aspect of parenting a child.


A formal and binding promise to the court to do or not to do something.

Please note that the information in this article is not designed to provide legal or other advice or create a solicitor - client relationship. No liability is accepted for any loss caused in reliance upon its content and you should not take or refrain from taking action based upon the same.