Waiting Period:

A mandatory, minimum allotment of time (usually ranging from six months to two years) which must be expended following a final or absolute judgment of divorce before either party may legally remarry another.  Refer to Interlocutory Judgment.


To relinquish or voluntarily give up a right or entitlement, including not enforcing a term(s) of an agreement.


A person (usually a minor) who has a guardian appointed to care for and take responsibility for that person.  A person may be a “ward of the state” in the event a governmental authority may take custody for purposes of detention, incarceration and correction, or may be a “ward of the court” if custody is court-ordered for protection, health and well-being of the person.  Refer to Guardian Ad Litem.


A court order (writ) directing a law enforcement officer, to conduct a search or make an arrest and bring a person before the judge.  A "bench warrant" is an order to appear issued by the court when a person does not appear for a hearing, which can be resolved by posting bail or appearing.  A "search warrant" is an order authorizing a law enforcement officer to search a particular premises and/or person for certain types of evidence, based on a declaration by a law enforcement official or other duly authorized legal representative.  Refer to Court Order or Writ.


A written legal instrument, also referred to as a Last Will and Testament, that designates beneficiaries (named persons or entities) to the estate and determines the portions or percentages of the estate, specific gifts, creation of trusts for management and future distribution of all or a portion of the estate.  At common law, an instrument disposing of personal property was called a "testament," whereas a will disposed of real property. Over time the distinction has disappeared so that a will now legally disposes of both real and personal property.  A will serves a variety of important purposes. It enables a person who made the will (testator) to select heirs rather than allowing the state laws of descent and distribution to determine heirs, who, although blood relatives, might be people the testator dislikes or with whom they are unacquainted. A will allows a person to decide which individual could best serve as the executor of the estate to ensure a fair distribution of property to the beneficiaries while protecting their interests, rather than allowing a court to appoint a stranger to serve as administrator. To be valid the will must be signed by the person, dated, and witnessed by not less than two (2) people, an exception to this requirement is a holographic will.  Refer to Beneficiary, Executor, Intestate, Holographic Will, or Probate.


Reference to acts which are intentional, conscious and directed toward achieving a purpose; whether the conduct was wrongful or simply the occurrence of unfortunate results.

With Prejudice:

Dismissal of a lawsuit by the court that bars the right to bring or maintain another action on the same claim or cause.  Refer to Dismissal.

Without Prejudice:

The court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit that allows the plaintiff or prosecutor to bring the same cause of action at a later date in the event the defendant fails to comply with the terms of the settlement.  Refer to Dismissal.


A person called upon (subpoenaed) in a lawsuit to give testimony before a court or jury regarding what was seen, heard, experienced, or otherwise has knowledge pertaining to the facts of the case but is not a party to the action.  Refer to Subpoena.


A written court order directing a specific action or restraint of action by a particular person or entity to whom the order is directed.  Refer to Court Order.

Writ of Attachment:

Refer to Attachment or Motion for Attachment.

Writ of Summons:

A form issued by the court directing a party to appear in court in response to a complaint, motion, or petition.  Refer to Summons.

Writ Ne Exeat:

An arrest warrant granted in emergencies to restrain a person from leaving the country, or the jurisdiction of the court.  Although originally applicable to purposes of state, it is now an ordinary process of courts to incarcerate or require posting of a bond.  This is an extraordinary remedy used in extraordinary circumstances of family law, but may be used to prevent the removal of assets or minor child from jurisdiction if such removal is considered imminent.

Wrongful Removal or Retention:

The breach or violation of another person’s custody rights under the laws of the state where the child(ren) was habitually resident immediately before the removal or retention, and where custody rights were being exercised or would have been if the removal or retention had not occurred.  Refer to Hague Convention.


An injury or violation of a right committed to the person or property of another, with or without force. In a more extended definition, wrong includes the violation of a contract; a failure by a person to perform an undertaking or promise to whom an agreement was made and consideration received.   Wrongs are divided into two types: private and public. Private wrongs are injuries to individuals which do not affect and are redressed by actions for damages, etc.  A public wrong is an act which is injurious to the public generally, commonly known by the name of crime, misdemeanor, or offence, and it is punishable in various ways, such as indictments, summary proceedings, and upon conviction by death, imprisonment, fine, etc.