A term that generally describes the transition from “minor” to “adult” in which the minor becomes free from parental control, and the parents are no longer legally responsible for the acts of the child.  An emancipated person may legally sign binding contracts; marry without parental permission; give medical consent; and enjoy the many other manner of social, legal and financial benefits and obligations of an adult.  Depending on the state and other considerations, emancipation usually occurs between the ages of 18 and 23, but does not necessarily mean 'legal majority”, and may be granted earlier in instances where the minor can demonstrate they are at least sixteen (16) years old; are living apart from the parents with their consent or acquiescence; able to manage their own finances and has a legal source of income; actively serve in a branch of the armed forces; or other reason the court may determine it in the best interest of the child to make a judicial declaration of emancipation.  Refer to Legal Majority or CRC Emancipation Chart (link)

Emotional Child Support:

The psychological and personal guidance, nurturing and love that a parent or other guardian gives to a child, induced by active, responsible, and continuous involvement in a child’s life.  Emotional child support, also known as parenting, is distinguished from financial child support which refers primarily to the monetary obligation of a parent or guardian.


A term describing the condition in which the property owned by one party is subject to the reserved rights of a second entity to make a valid claim such as may be exercised in the form of a lien, mortgage or other legal restraint.  Refer to Attachment.

Enlarging Statute:

            Refer to Remedial Statute.

Equitable Distribution:

A legal principle followed by most states, in which marital property, (assets, earnings, debt and obligations) acquired during marriage are divided at divorce.  Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean equal distribution, and ownership does not automatically split 50-50. Rather, the distribution must be fair and just (equitable) as determined by factors and considerations described in the state statutes and interpreted by the court.  Refer to Marital Property and Community Property.


An accounting term used to describe the part of value of an asset that is paid for or owned outright, or the net investment of owners or stockholders in a business.  Refer to Assets, Community Property, Equitable Distribution, or Property.


A term generally used to describe the entire collection of assets and property owned by a deceased person, but often extended to include all real and personal property subject to a judicial division of martial property before a judgment of divorce.  Refer to Marital Property and Separate Property.

Ethics Rules:

A code of conduct imposed on attorneys, also known as the Code of Professional Responsibility. Considered a “pro-consumer” regulation, a code is usually established by the supreme court of each state for the purpose of protecting clients against unscrupulous lawyers by regulating behavior and enforcing disciplinary proceedings and malpractice claims.  Refer to Sanction.


In law, a varied collection of materials, documents, testimony, ideas and other things presented in court for the purpose of proving or disproving a question under inquiry.  Evidence that stands on its own to prove an alleged fact is considered direct evidence. Evidence not bearing directly on the issue in dispute but on various attendant circumstances which create an inference from which a main fact may be inferred is called indirect or circumstantial evidence.

EVS (Enumeration and Verification System):

Tracking and authentication methodology used by the Social Security Administration to verify and correct Social Security Numbers (SSNs), and identify multiple SSNs, of participants in child support cases.

Examination in Chief:

            Refer to Direct Examination.


The party appointed to administer the estate of a person (approved by the court) who has died leaving a will which nominates that person to ensure that the deceased person’s desires expressed in the will are appropriately accomplished.  Practical responsibilities include gathering up and protecting the assets of the estate, obtaining information in regard to all beneficiaries named in the will and any other potential heirs, collecting and arranging for payment of debts of the estate, approving or disapproving creditor's claims, making sure estate taxes are calculated, forms filed, and tax payments made, and in all other ways necessary assist the attorney retained on behalf of the estate.


An item of a physical, tangible nature offered to the court for inspection and introduced as evidence during a trial or hearing; to a person taking depositions; to auditors or arbitrators as a voucher, or in proof of facts; or as otherwise may be connected with the subject matter, and which, on being accepted, is marked for identification and annexed (attached) to the pleading, declaration, affidavit, deposition, report, or other principal document, or otherwise made a part of the case.  Refer to Evidence.

Ex Parte:

A Latin term meaning “without notice to, or attendance of, the opposing party”.  The use of ex parte hearings, motions or orders represent an exception to the usual rule of court procedure and due process rights that require both parties must be notified and present before any argument presented to the court.  If one of the parties files an affidavit swearing fear of violence or other reasonable factor, the court may consider it sufficient reason to act ex parte and issue an emergency restraining order or award temporary custody, pending a formal hearing or a request for a continuance.  Legal remedies to defend false accusations filed in an affidavit for the purpose of issuing an ex parte order include perjury and contempt of court.  Refer to Affidavit, Contempt of Court, Motion or Court Order.

Expert Witness:

A person who has achieved a recognized, advanced knowledge of a subject beyond that of the ordinary lay person enabling them to give testimony regarding an issue that requires substantial proficiency to understand.  In cases of divorce, professionals in mental health, finance, social sciences, etc., may be called to provide expert opinion or interpretations of specific issues, evaluations or reports to the court.

Ex Post Facto:

Latin term meaning "after the fact," which refers to laws adopted after an act is committed making it illegal although legal when performed.

Extraordinary Expenses:

Special financial considerations that allow either parent to request adjusted support payments for additional expenses reasoned necessary in relation to the child(ren)’s best interests and reasonable given the means of the parents and history of the family’s spending patterns prior to separation. Such expenses could include things like daycare, post-secondary education, orthodontal or other extraordinary expenditures. Either parent may request an amount to cover a special or an extraordinary expense.  Refer to Quality of Life.