Superior Court >Civil Department >Glossary Of Common Terms

Glossary of Common Terms
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AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) Public assistance paid on behalf of children. ATLAS (Arizona Tracking Location Automation System) A statewide computer system for child support enforcement. Abandoned/Abondonment (general) The relinquishment of a right or interest with the intention of never claiming it, such as to a car, house or trademark. (family law, juvenile law) A parent/custodian's failure to provide reasonable care, support and regular contact with a child, including providing normal supervision, for an excessive period of time. Abeyance The condition of being suspended or temporarily set aside. Absent Parent A person who is absent from the home and legally responsible for providing financial support for a dependent child. Absentia/In Absentia Proceedings held without the defendant's presence. Abuse The infliction or allowing of physical injury, impairment of bodily function, disfigurement, serious emotional damage, sexual abuse, sexual conduct with a minor, sexual assault, molestation of a child, commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, incest, child prostitution or physical injury to a child that results from abuse. Active Calendar The calendar on which civil cases are placed after the filing and processing of a motion to set and certificate of readiness or after the setting of a trial date. Addendum An addition to a completed written document. Additur To add to the amount of a verdict when damages a jury awards appear to be too little. Adjudication (juvenile law) A proceeding whereat a juvenile is found to be a delinquent or incorrigible youth. (civil law, family law) The determination of issues in a lawsuit; the judgment. Adult A person who is 18 years of age or older. Adult Court The justice court, municipal court or criminal division of the superior court that has jurisdiction to hear proceedings concerning offenses committed by juveniles. Affidavit A written statement of facts made under oath before a notary public or other person authorized to administer oaths. Agent One who has authority to act for another; an attorney-in-fact under a durable or nondurable power of attorney or a person authorized to make decisions concerning another person's health care or for another person under a natural death act. Aggravation/Mitigation Hearing A pre-sentence hearing at which the State presents witnesses and/or documentation to enhance a defendant's sentence and the defendant may present evidence and witnesses in hopes of lessening it. Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) Public assistance paid on behalf of children. Alford Plea A guilty plea whereby a defendant refuses to admit guilt but believes the plea is in his/her best interests because of incentives in the plea agreement. Allegation of Prior Conviction A document filed by the State alleging that a defendant has been convicted previously of a felony. Answer A defendant's written response to a plaintiff's allegations or accusations in a complaint, usually denying some of the facts alleged in the complaint. Annulment A declaration that a valid marriage never existed (filed as a petition and processed along the same guidelines as a dissolution). Appeal To ask a higher court to reverse a lower court's decision; to seek review from a higher court. Appearance Bond See "Unsecured Appearance Bond". Appellant A party who appeals a decision or judgment to a higher court. Appellee A party against whom an appeal is taken to a higher court, usually the winning party in the lower court. Application A written request to the registrar for an order of informal probate or appointment. Arbitration The process of submitting a dispute to a third party who will make a decision. When the amount in controversy is less than $50,000, arbitration is mandatory.
  • Binding Arbitration: The hearing and settlement of a dispute by a third party (arbitrator) whose decision will be binding upon the parties.
  • Non Binding Arbitration: The hearing and entry of an "award" which may be appealed.
Arbitrator An attorney selected to hear a case and settle the legal dispute without a formal trial. Arizona Tracking Location Automation System (ATLAS) A statewide computer system for child support enforcement. Arraignment An appearance before a judge or criminal commissioner at which a defendant has an opportunity to enter a plea (guilty, not guilty or no contest) to all charges. If the defendant pleads not guilty, a pretrial conference is set and a judge is assigned. Authentication A document issued by clerk's offices that verifies that a legal document is genuine or valid. Award The written decision or judgment of an arbitrator, judicial officer or jury. Award/Commit To assign legal custody. return to top
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