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North Carolina Divorce Jargon 101: Defining Terms You Need to Know

Divorce is a complicated legal process that often leaves spouses confused and frustrated, but Epperson Law Group can help! In this blog post, we will define need-to-know divorce terms so you can better understand what North Carolina divorce papers and judges are talking about!


Arbitration is an alternative divorce dispute resolution where a couple works out certain divorce issues outside of court. Essentially, the arbitrator is an authority figure like a judge who issues binding judgments on specific divorce issues. Couples pick their arbitrator (or arbitrators) together, but if they can’t agree on an arbitrator, then the court will appoint an arbitrator for the case.


Arrears is a child support term referring to past due child support payments the payer owes the custodial parent. In certain situations, the government assigns the arrears owed to the custodial parent to the state for repayment of public assistance.


When a spouse who files for divorce based on the other spouse’s wrongdoing (a fault-based divorce) forgives the spouse for his or her wrongdoing. A condonation will prevent the court from finalizing the divorce.

Divorce Decree

A divorce decree is a court’s final ruling and judgment order that officially terminates the marriage. All divorce decrees are individualized and will summarize the rights and duties of each party.


A deposition during a divorce is when spouses answer questions posed by their spouses under oath and in real time. The dialogue created during the deposition can be used as evidence during the divorce proceedings.


A dissolution of marriage is just another way of saying the finalization of a divorce. Therefore, dissolution of marriage completely ends a couple’s legal relationship as spouses.


Interrogatories are discovery forms used in divorces. One party will send an interrogatory to the other to gain information about topics like finances, habits, and child care.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is the power a parent has to make important decisions for a child. Sole legal custody grants a parent the ability to determine various aspects of a child’s life like education, religious upbringing, medical decisions, etc. Joint legal custody is when both parents share decision-making duties after a divorce or separation.


Perjury is when a spouse lies while under oath, and it’s a federal crime with serious consequences. Proven perjury will impact your divorce proceedings and could result in lengthy jail time for the accused.

Physical Custody

Physical custody is the power a parent has to care for the physical needs of a child. Sole physical custody grants one parent a significant amount of time with a child. Joint physical custody is the sharing of physical time with children between parents.

Need Representation?

If you're having a hard time deciphering the meaning of divorce papers or other divorce-related statements, our firm can help. We represent people from Charlotte, Weddington, Boone, and all surrounding areas! If you’re lost and need guidance from an attorney you can trust, contact us now!

Call (704) 200-9278 now for a free consultation for your case!