Superior Court >Civil Department >Glossary Of Common Terms

Glossary of Common Terms
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DCSS (Division of Child Support Services) A division of the Department of Economic Security that provides certain support services. Also referred to as the designated (IV-D) (four-D) agency. Debts
  • Community Debts: Any debt, credit card bill, bank loan or mortgage that spouses obtain during the marriage.
  • Seperate Debts: Any debt, credit card bill, bank loan or mortgage obtained by one spouse before, and in some cases during, the marriage. These debts remain the obligation of the spouse who obtained them.
Decedent A person who is deceased. Declaratory Judgment A judgment that declares the rights of the parties or expresses the court's opinion on a question of law without ordering anything to be done. Note: These cases are not subject to arbitration. Decree The final order in a divorce, legal separation or custody case. Signed by the judge/commissioner and filed with the Clerk of the Court. Can be in the form of a pleading or of a minute entry issued by the clerk after a hearing and signed by the judge/commissioner. Default The failure or neglect to answer a summons and complaint within the time allowed or the failure to appear in court. Default Hearing The hearing scheduled for cases in which the defendant has failed to appear or answer; the hearing set for litigants when the petition for dissolution is uncontested. Default Order An order signed by a judge or commissioner because the other side failed to appear or contest the matter. Defendant The party against whom relief or recovery is sought in a suit; the party defending or denying a complaint; the accused in a criminal case. Deferred Fees Court fees that must be paid at a later date. Delinquency Hearing A proceeding in the juvenile court to determine whether a juvenile has committed a specific delinquent act as set forth in a petition. Delinquent Act An act by a juvenile that would be a criminal or petty offense if committed by an adult or that violates: any law of this state, or of another state if the act occurred in that state; a law of the United States; any law that can be violated only by a minor and that has been designated as a delinquent offense or any ordinance of a city, county or political subdivision of this state defining crime. A juvenile who is prosecuted as an adult or remanded for prosecution as an adult shall not be adjudicated as a delinquent juvenile for the same offense. Delinquent Juvenile A child who is adjudicated to have committed a delinquent act. Dependent Child A minor child whom a decedent was obligated to support or an adult child whom a decedent was in fact supporting at the time of the decedent's death. (juvenile law) A juvenile who is: adjudicated to be in need of proper and effective parental care and control and who has no parent or guardian willing to exercise or capable of exercising such care and control; destitute; not provided with the necessities of life, including adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care; under eight years of age and found to have committed an act that would result in adjudication as a delinquent juvenile or incorrigible child if committed by an older juvenile or child; incompetent or not restorable to competency and alleged to have committed a serious offense or living in a home that is unfit by reason of abuse, neglect, cruelty or depravity by a parent, a guardian or any other person having custody or care of the juvenile. Does not include a child who in good faith is being furnished Christian Science treatment by a duly accredited practitioner if none of the circumstances described above exists. Deposition Oral testimony taken of a witness under oath outside of court in the presence of a court reporter and attorneys. Descendant All of a decedent's descendants of all generations, with the relationship of parent and child at each generation. Dessereault Hearing A hearing set any time before trial to determine the legality or illegality of the method of identification of an alleged perpetrator. Detention The temporary confinement of a juvenile who requires secure care in a physically restricting facility that is completely surrounded by a locked and physically secure barrier with restricted ingress and egress for the protection of the juvenile or the community pending court disposition or as a condition of probation. Devise A testamentary disposition of real or personal property; to devise: to dispose of real or personal property by will. Directed Verdict A ruling by the court that there is not sufficient evidence to submit the dispute to the jury, and the court either enters, or directs the jury to enter, judgment in favor of a party. Disablilty Cause for the appointment of a conservator or other protective order that can relate to the estate and affairs of a minor or an adult. Discovery The disclosure of facts or documents by one party in a lawsuit to another for use as evidence in a case. Dismissal An order or judgment that dismisses a complaint or counterclaim without a complete trial of the issues. Dismissal With Prejudice A final dismissal barring the right to bring an action on the same claim or cause. Dismissal Without Prejudice A final dismissal preserving a complainant's right to sue again on the same cause of action. Disposable Earnings Includes salary, compensation, bonuses or commissions a person received after deducting from such earnings those amounts required by law to be withheld. May include unemployment insurance compensation benefits, workmen's compensation benefits, social security benefits, retirement benefits, lottery winnings, etc. Disposition Hearing The time set for pronouncement of sentence after determination of violation of probation. (juvenile law) The initial sentencing hearing in a juvenile delinquency case. Distributee A person who has received a decendent's property from that person's personal representative other than as a creditor or purchaser. Includes a testamentary trustee only to the extent of distributed assets or increment that remains in that person's hands. A beneficiary of a testamentary trust to whom the trustee has distributed property received from a personal representative is a distributee of the personal representative. For the purposes of this paragraph, "testamentary trustee" includes a trustee to whom assets are transfered by will, to the extent of the devised assets. Diversion (juvenile law) A process by which a formal court action, such as prosecution, is averted. The diversion process is an opportunity for youth to admit their misdeeds and accept the consequences without going through a formal adjudication and disposition process. As it relates to an adult, a process which creates a written contract between the prosecutor and the accused that, if requirements are met, the prosecutor will dismiss all charges. Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) A division of the Department of Economic Security that provides certain support services. Also referred to as the designated (IV-D) (four-D) agency. Divorce/Dissolution A process that terminates a couple's marriage through the court. Domestication See "Foreign Decree/Foreign Judgment/Domestication". return to top
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