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Glossary of divorce & family law terms
Letter P

Our glossary will help you to understand some of the key terms and phrases which might crop up in your legal case.

This guide is no replacement for top legal advice but will allow you to know more about the process and what it entails.

For leading legal advice tailored to your case, contact Vardags today.

Please select from the letters below

Parental responsibility

The right to have input into a decisions about a child's life.

Part 25 Application

Application used if expert evidence is required.

Part III Claim

Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Procedings Act 1984 allows a party to claim relief from the English courts after an overseas divorce, in certain circumstances.


The petitioner and respondent in divorce proceedings; the applicant and respondent in financial and children proceedings.

Passive growth

The natural increase in value of non-matrimonial assets.

Paternity testing

Use of DNA testing to ascertain who the father of a child is. This can be ordered by the court.

Pension Sharing Order

An order of the court detailing how a pension should be split between the parties upon divorce.

Periodical payments

A regular payment made from one party to another. Can be in relation to child or spousal maintenance. Also known as: maintenance payments


Lying in sworn evidence in court proceedings. Perjury is a serious criminal offence.


The party applying for the divorce. They are called the ‘petitioner’ because they must file a divorce petition with the court in order to start the proceedings.

Post-nuptial agreements

An agreement that spouses enter into after a marriage, which details terms for how their marital assets will be split in the event of a divorce.

Pre-nuptial agreements

An agreement that spouses enter into prior to getting married, which details terms for how their marital assets will be split in the event of a divorce.

Preliminary issue hearing

A special type of hearing designed to deal with a single issue in proceedings. This may be used to deal with a complex issue which is a barrier to settlement between the parties.

Primary carer

The person who has main responsbility for caring for a child.

Private law children

Children proceedings between parents, which do not involve social services.

Pro bono divorce

Lawyers taking on a case and not charging for their work.

Prohibited steps order

An order made by the court in children proceedings which restricts stops one parent from doing a specific act.

Promissory estoppel

The principle that where on person makes a promise, and the other relies on it to their detriment, the promise may be enforceable by law.

Property adjustment order

An order transferring ownership of a property between parties.

The information on this website is intended as a guide and does not constitute legal advice. Vardags do not accept liability for any errors in the information on this website, nor any losses stemming from reliance upon the statements made herein. All articles and pages aim to reflect the legal position at time they were published, and may have been rendered obsolete by subsequent developments in the law. Should you require specialist advice, tailored to your situation, please see how Vardags can help you.


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