family law


See Abandonment

[Last updated in December of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]


Abandonment is a term that applies to a variety of areas of law. These areas include matrimonial law, civil procedure, and property.

Matrimonial Law

In matrimonial law, abandonment is a form of marital misconduct which...



1) Property: Used in property law to describe an estate that is free from any limitations at all. Only a fee simple may be absolute.

2) Divorce: An absolute divorce is a final judgment of divorce that dissolves the marriage and...


Abuse is an action that intentionally causes harm or injures another person. This can refer to physical abuse, psychological abuse, mental abuse, or child abuse (see below).

Abuse is also to misuse something - e.g., abuse...


Access is the right to use, communicate, or approach something or someone. Some common usages of the term “access” in a legal sense include:

In the context of copyright, the term “access” refers to the ability of a potential...

acknowledged father

The acknowledged father is the admitted biological father of a child born to an unmarried couple. It refers to the person who has admitted to being the father of the child. The admission may be made by signing a voluntary written...


Acknowledgement refers to a formal declaration before an official that one has executed a particular legal document. Some common usages of the term “acknowledgement” in a legal sense include:

Cases such as this one from Nebraska,...

acquisition of citizenship

Acquisition of citizenship refers to the ability of individuals born abroad to achieve U.S. citizenship because at least one of their parents is a U.S. citizen. If the child meets the complex requirements, the child “acquires” citizenship...


To adopt is to accept, to bring, to choose to take up, to follow, or to use a plan or technique. To adopt is to assume a report or position, attitude, or law, as to apply them.

Also related to adoption is to form a legal...



Adoption refers to the act by which an adult formally becomes the guardian of a child and incurs the rights and responsibilities of a parent. At the conclusion of the formal process, a legal relationship between child and guardian will have...