15th Nov 2021

The Language of Family Law – What it Means

By James Pirrie

FLiP’s Glossary of Terms

For a long time, family lawyers have used fight-metaphors to highlight differences between:

  • Solutions based on dialogue and agreement; and
  • Those cases which are presented to the court for a solution to be imposed on the parties.

Yes, we were trying to write in bright metaphors to highlight the advantages of the former over the high-cost, high-demands, slow-progress and waste of both emotional and financial resources of the latter. But it only takes a second or two to realise how wrong-headed, misleading and indeed disrespectful that is: to suggest that routinely, former loving couples using the court to provide closure to their issues are somehow at war, presumably causing and seeking to cause hurt to each other.

In short, thank goodness for Helen Adam’s Family Solutions Group initiative and the Family Law Language projects that have provided us all with the timely reminder to focus on what is most important.

As we all work to improve the use of the language of family law to reduce acrimony and conflict, FLiP has generated a glossary of commonly used family law terms and phrases. It is not final – it will continue to evolve as we seek further:

  • To instill into our work the language of resolving issues;
  • To continue to work in plain English;
  • To adopt the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion.

In short, this glossary is a work in progress and your thoughts on it are very much welcomed. You can view our glossary by clicking the button here and below.

James Pirrie, Director

At Family Law in Partnership we understand that divorce can be incredibly difficult. We want to help, and we pride ourselves in doing things differently. We have an award winning team of specialist family lawyers, arbitrators, mediators and family consultants. Whether you want someone with you every step of the way, or prefer advice as and when you need it, we can assist. To find out more about how we can help you through divorce and separation, contact any of our top London divorce and family lawyers at E: hello@flip.co.uk or T: 020 7420 5000.