Glossary W

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.

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Will

A legal paper that lists a person’s wishes about what will happen to his or her personal property after death.

Without Prejudice

A term used when rights or privileges are not waived or lost. A dismissal of a lawsuit without prejudice means a new suit can be brought on the same cause of action if it is within the statute of limitations.

Witness

A person called by either side in a lawsuit to give testimony before the judge or jury.

Writ

A written court order saying that certain action must be taken. Can be a writ of: (1) attachment—an order to attach specified property; (2) certiorari—an order by an appellate court granting or denying a review of judgment; (3) execution—an order to enforce a court judgment; (4) habeas corpus—an order to release someone that has been unlawfully imprisoned; (5) mandamus (or mandate)—an order to perform any act designated by law to be part of a person’s duty or status; or (6) prohibition—the opposite of a writ of mandate that orders that further proceedings or other official acts be stopped (usually issued from a higher to a lower court).

Writ Of Execution

An order issued by a court requiring the performance of a specified act, or giving authority to have it done. It is used to allow the levying officer the power to take the judgment debtor’s property.

Wage Assignment

A legal procedure that requires the employer of a judgment debtor to withhold a portion of the judgment debtor’s wages to satisfy a judgment. Also used to order an employer to transfer (or assign) parts of future wage payments to pay a debt, like child support.

Wage Attachment

An involuntary transfer of a portion of an employee’s wage payment to repay a debt. (See also income withholding, wage withholding.)

Wage Garnishment

A legal procedure that requires the employer of a judgment debtor to withhold a portion of the judgment debtor’s wages to satisfy a judgment. Also used to order an employer to transfer (or assign) parts of future wage payments to pay a debt, like child support.

Wage Withholding

A legal procedure that allows deductions to be made from wages or income on a regular schedule. The deductions are used to pay a debt, like child support. Wage withholding often is incorporated into a child support order. It can be voluntary or involuntary. Also known as “income withholding.” (See also direct income withholding, earnings assignment, income withholding.)

Waiver

To give up a legal right voluntarily, intentionally, and with full knowledge of the consequences.


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