Carl Selesky - Attorney At Law

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Terms and Definitions

Terms and DefinitionsThere are many terms and references used in regarding divorce and family law cases. Knowing what these terms and references mean will help you to better understand your situation. These definitions are purely informational and the presentation of these definitions as resources is not intended to replace the counsel of an attorney. I present these definitions to you in the hopes that you might find information that helps you understand the problem you are dealing with. And as always, don't hestitate to call me at (713) 780-9595 or send me an email with your questions to take advantage of a free initial consultation.

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ALIMONY - [Back to top]

An award in a suit for dissolution of a marriage of periodic payments from the future income of one spouse for the support of the other spouse. (Texas Family Code § 8.001). Also referred to as "Spousal Maintenance".


An attorney appointed by the court in a suit, other than a suit filed by a governmental entity, whose role is to provide legal services necessary to assist the court in protecting a child's best interests rather than to provide legal services to the child. Texas Family Code § 107.


A court may grant an annulment of a marriage to a party to the marriage if the other party used fraud, duress, or force to induce the petitioner to enter into the marriage; and the petitioner has not voluntarily cohabited with the other party since learning of the fraud or since being released from the duress or force. Texas Family Code § 6.107.


A written agreed parenting plan containing provisions for conservatorship and possession of the child and for modification of the parenting plan, including variations from the standard possession order.


The best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.


Community property consists of the property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during marriage. Courts presume property is community.


The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. CPS investigates and prosecutes cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of children, adults with disabilities, or people who are elderly (65 years or older).

DATING VIOLENCE - [Back to top]

(See Family Violence) The "Dating Relationship" means a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.


"Disposable earnings" (§ 101.010.) means the part of the earnings of an individual remaining after the deduction from those earnings of any amount required by law to be withheld, union dues, nondiscretionary retirement contributions, and medical, hospitalization, and disability insurance coverage for the obligor and the obligor's children.

FAMILY VIOLENCE - [Back to top]

An act by a member of a family or household against another member that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm. The law excludes the reasonable discipline of a child and defines abuse as physical injury that results in substantial harm or genuine threat; sexual contact, intercourse, or conduct; or compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct.

J.M.C. - [Back to top]

Joint Managing Conservator as defined by Section 153 of the Texas Family Code. This does not mean joint physical custody.

MEDIATION - [Back to top]

A confidential settlement process where parties to a dispute meet with a neutral person, called a "mediator," to try to resolve areas of conflict. The parties, their attorneys and the mediator discuss the goals of each party and the reality of each party's position. If the parties reach a settlement, the mediator drafts a binding agreement that reflects the negotiated settlement.


A person who applies to or petitions a court or judge for a ruling in his or her favor.

NCP - [Back to top]

Noncustodial parent.

OBLIGEE - [Back to top]

Person required to pay child support or spousal support.


Person who receives child support or spousal support.

PETITIONER - [Back to top]

The movant in a divorce or child custody case.

QDRO - [Back to top]

The term Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is used to describe the order that divides some, but not all, retirement, profit-sharing, and other such qualified plans. See 26 U.S.C. § 414(p)(1)(A); 29 U.S.C. §1056(d)(3)(B)(i); Tex. Gov't Code §804.001(4).

RESPONDENT - [Back to top]

The non-movant or counter-petitioner in a divorce or custody case.

SAPCR - [Back to top]

Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (called a SAPCR) can be filed by a parent or other authorized person to ask for a child custody, visitation, child support and medical support order. It can be used as a part of a divorce case or in connection with a case to establish paternity.


Property owned or claimed by the spouse before marriage; property acquired by the spouse during marriage by gift, devise, or descent; and/or the recovery for personal injuries sustained by the spouse during marriage, except any recovery for loss of earning capacity during marriage.


Standard Possession Order as that term is defined in Section 153 of the Texas Family Code.


The purpose of a suit of this type is to terminate the parent-child relationship between the child and the parents or the father whose rights have not been adjudicated. Generally, a termination decree divests the parent or alleged father and the child of all legal rights and duties with respect to each other, except that the child retains the right to inherit from and through the child's divested parent unless the court provides otherwise. See Tex. Fam. Code §161.206(b).

UCCJEA - [Back to top]

Child custody determinations of other states may be enforced under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which is contained in chapter 152 of the Family Code.

VOID MARRIAGE - [Back to top]

If two or more marriages of a person to different spouses are alleged, the most recent marriage is presumed valid as against each marriage that precedes it until one who asserts the validity of a prior marriage proves the validity of the prior marriage. Tex. Fam. Code §1.102.

WITHHOLDING - [Back to top]

Withholding means the document issued by the clerk of a court and delivered to an employer, directing that earnings be withheld for payment of spousal maintenance or child support.

The Selesky Law Firm
Carl Selesky - Houston Divorce Lawyer

9601 Katy Freeway, Ste 290
Houston, Texas 77024
(713) 780-9595


This website is not legal advice, is not intended to be legal advice and is for informational purposes in order to help you in your decision to hire a Houston Divorce Lawyer. You should consult as many divorce lawyers as you feel necessary before you hire one. The attorney-client relationship is only formed by written agreement and consent of both of the parties. All bills or other costs are your responsibility regardless of the outcome of any case you have with Carl J Selesky. All trademarks and copyrights are reserved. Carl J. Selesky is a licensed divorce lawyer in Houston, Texas, and also covers Fort Bend, Montgomery, Brazoria, Galveston and selected counties. Mr. Selesky is not licensed in any other State. Carl J. Selesky is not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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