Glossary F

Glossary of Legal Definitions

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The following list of legal definitions taken from the California Court's website may be useful in your California Family Law case. For further definitions in other areas of law not covered here, please visit the California Court's website.


Full Faith And Credit

This means a state must honor an order or judgment of another state’s court and tribal courts.


See Family Law Facilitator.

Family Court Services

Part of the family court that helps parents with child custody and visitation issues. It provides services like custody mediation or child custody evaluations. To find the Family Court Services department in your court, find your court.

Family Law Court

A court that hears family matters, like divorce (“dissolution”), legal separation of spouses, annulment of marriage or domestic partnerships, child custody and support, and domestic violence petitions.

Family Law Facilitator

A lawyer with experience in family law who works for the superior court in every California county to help parents and children involved in family law cases with child, spousal, and partner support problems. Anyone who does not have their own lawyer can see the family law facilitator for free.

Family Court Orientation

A class that prepares parents for court-ordered mediation. A counselor talks to parents about how their relationship affects their children, and tells them what they need to know about custody and visitation.

Family Violence Indicator (FVI)

The Federal Case Registry (FCR) uses this term to identify a person involved in a family violence case or order in another state. “FVI” means the person was involved with child abuse or domestic violence and says not to tell the location of a parent and/or a child that the state believes is at risk of family violence.

Federal Case Registry (FCR) of Child Support

A national database of information on all people with IV-D (called “4 D”) cases and people with non-IV-D orders entered or changed on or after October 1, 1998.

Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS)

A computerized national network and database run by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). FPLS collects address and employer information, and data on child support cases in every state; compares them; and gives this information to the proper authorities in the states involved. This helps state and local child support enforcement agencies locate alleged fathers and parents that do not have custody of their children. The information is used to establish custody and visitation rights, establish and enforce child support payments, investigate parental kidnapping, and process adoption or foster care cases.


A specific amount of money that’s paid in exchange for a service, such as filing a court paper.

Fee Waiver

Permission not to pay the court’s filing fees. People with very low income can ask the court clerk for a fee waiver form. Click here for more information on fee waivers and court fees.


A person that acts for another person’s benefit, like a trustee. It can also be an adjective and mean something that is based on a trust or confidence. (See also trustee.)


When a person officially gives a paper to a court clerk and that paper becomes part of the record of a case.


See endorsed-filed copies.

Filing A Form

A court form is “filed” only when the court clerk stamps it “Filed.” You can give your court forms to the clerk by mail or in person.

Filing Fees

Money you pay the court clerk to accept (or “file”) a complaint or petition, which starts a civil case, or other court papers, like motions and answers.


When a judicial officer or jury says something is a fact.


The money a person must pay as punishment for doing something illegal or for not doing something they were supposed to do.

Foster Care

A program that gives money to a person, family, or institution to raise someone else’s child. (See also IV-E andIV-E case.)


Deceiving someone on purpose in a way that financially hurts others.

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