There are a number of phrases that will come up again and again in family law cases. I hope this simple guide will help with your understanding of some of these terms.
Applicant: An Applicant is the person who is applying for a particular relief from the Court. They could be applying for a divorce, applying for maintenance, applying for guardianship etc.
Respondent: The Respondent is the person replying to the Applicant’s application.
Solicitor: The solicitor is the professional who will deal with the running of your file. They will send letters on your behalf, advise you on the law and attend court.
Barrister: If there is a divorce which is contested, the solicitor will engage the services of a Barrister to help draft the proceedings. The Barrister will also attend court and speak at the Divorce hearing.
Family Law Civil Bill: This is the document which commences the application for Divorce. It is usually drafted by a Barrister and after approval from the solicitor it will be sent by registered post to the Respondent.
Affidavit of Means: This is a sworn document used in the Circuit Court for Divorce Proceedings. Both spouses must complete this document. It sets out the party’s income and expenditure per week, it will detail any pension that may have (word missing here perhaps?) and any savings or debts including mortgages. The Affidavits should be accompanied by vouching documentation. Vouching documentation refers to proof of the figures contained in the Affidavit of Means, for example, payslips, bank account statements, pension statements.
Statement of Means: This contains the same information as the Affidavit of Means except it is called a Statement of Means when used in the District Court. It is not sworn.