Member, Colorado & Wyoming Bars
Member, Colorado Bar
Member, Colorado Bar
Colorado & New York Bars
The permanent creation of a parent-child relationship through the proper legal channels, usually without familial relation.
“Madonna's attempt to obtain a third world child was not as successful as Brangelina’s legal adoption, which allowed them to take the child home.”
A way of gaining legal possession over property through its use despite another party’s legal claim to it.
“Because John Smith’s cattle had been grazing on Joe Schmoe’s land for over 18 years, Smith became entitled to the grazed property through adverse possession.”
A way to resolve a dispute without going to court e.g. mediation or arbitration.
“Because the two did not want to complicate things by getting involved with a court, the two agreed to try to resolve their dispute through alternative dispute resolution.”
An attempt to have a higher court review the decision of a lower court.
“Yolanda did not agree with the judge’s decision, so she decided to appeal the judgment to the State Supreme Court.”
A method of resolving a dispute by granting one or multiple third parties the authority to make a binding decision. The third parties are usually agreed on by both sides.
“Although the resolution was unsatisfactory, Elaine had to give the bicycle to Kramer because she had agreed to enter into the arbitration with Newman and to be bound by his decision.”
A document created by a corporation that sets the terms for basic things such as its purpose, the number and classes of shares, and its duration. It is often the means by which a corporation is legitimized by the state, or it is a necessary step in the corporation receiving official recognition by the state.
“Then Dad said to Linda, ‘Your two-bit lemonade stand isn’t getting business from me until I see your Articles of Incorporation!’”
The threat or use of force to cause another person to have a reasonable fear of unwanted contact.
“Because Tim punched Sam, he was charged with assault.”
The willful though not necessarily fraudulent act of dishonesty of belief or purpose.
“The insurance company did not have a legitimate reason to turn down our claim, therefore their rejection was in bad faith.”
A judicial process where a person or company who cannot meet prior financial obligations receives financial relief by reorganizing or liquidating assets for the benefit of the creditors.
“Kenneth filed for bankruptcy because he could not pay off his loans.”
A person who stands to gain ownership and control over something being held in trust.
“Stuart is the beneficiary of a large college fund, which he will gain control over when he is older.”
The rules of internal governance and external dealings for an organization. These rules are subordinate to a constitution or Articles of Incorporation.
“You cannot deduct this lunch as a business expense because that is prohibited in the company bylaws.”
The care and control of a child awarded by a court to an adult.
“Madonna’s request for child custody was rejected.”
A parent’s legal obligation to contribute to the economic maintenance and education of a child until he/she reaches age of majority, is emancipated, or completes secondary education.
“Pending a blood test, Alex Rodriguez will have to pay child support.”
An order from a court or a police officer to be at a certain place at a designated time or pay a fine (it may also be a reference to a previous court case, statute, or treatise to establish a legal precedent).
“I am giving you a citation because I saw you littering.”
The basis of a civil case that outlines the court’s jurisdiction, the plaintiff’s claims, and the demand for relief.
“Sue took Debra to court on the complaint that Deb’s greenhouse was on her property.”
The judicial proceeding for government to acquire a piece of property to be assigned to public use (a.k.a. eminent domain).
“When Vance refused to sell, the District started a condemnation proceeding to obtain Vance’s property for a sewer plant.”
A written agreement between two or more parties creating obligations that are either enforceable or recognizable by law.
“I will give you my Garbage Pail Kids collectibles not because I want to, but because it was agreed upon in our contract.”
A property right for a specific original work of authorship that is fixed in any tangible medium of expression, giving the holder the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform, and display the work.
“Queen and David Bowie sued Vanilla Ice because they believed his song ‘Ice Ice Baby’ was a rip off of their song ‘Under Pressure’ which was protected by copyright.”
The rules governing the process where by crimes are investigated, prosecuted, adjudicated, and punished. These also include the accused person’s constitutional rights.
“Before the judge could sentence him, criminal procedure dictated that Fred must be tried before a jury and then be found guilty.”
A written instrument by which land is conveyed (also, any written instrument that is signed, sealed, and delivered and that conveys some interest in property).
“After I borrowed money from the bank and paid it to the sellers, they gave me the deed to the ranch.”
A person who is prosecuted in a criminal proceeding or is sued in a civil proceeding.
“Because I am being charged with criminal negligence, I am the defendant.”
A (divorce-like) termination of marriage available when both parties sign a separation agreement outlining terms such as parenting time, spousal maintenance, and child support that cannot be changed by the courts.
“Howard and Sue were in mutual agreement of what they wanted from each other and entered into a dissolution of marriage.”
A formal record written by a judge or court clerk that briefly notes all the proceedings and filings in a court case.
“I cannot remember which order the motions were filed in, let us consult the docket.”
A right involving land where a person who does not own the land can use it for a specific and limited purpose (e.g. water rights) but cannot posses or sell it.
“Mary had an easement on the well that was on Joe’s land.”
The interest of a deceased person in land or other property (also the amount and quality of a person’s interest in land or property).
The preparation for the distribution and management of a persons estate in the event of death through wills, trusts, insurance policies, and other arrangements.
“I would like to consult a lawyer for estate planning and designate my choice of beneficiaries, because you never know what might happen.”
A witness that is an expert in a particular field.
“If you wish to use the ‘Twinkie Defense’, you will want to have a psychologist or a nutritionist as an expert witness.”
A serious crime usually punishable by over a year in prison or with penalties as severe as death. Also termed major crime.
“Murder is a felony.”
A state of mind where a person acts with honesty in belief or purpose, faithfulness to his/her obligations or duties, and observance of reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing.
“The court decided that the police officer pulled the vehicle over in good faith.”
When a court is asked to issue an order that prohibits (or requires) certain action by a party to the legal proceeding.
“Don asked the court to order injunctive relief to keep Dave's bulldozer out of Don’s meadow.”
Property that is a product of the human intellect and intangible that can still be protected under copyright, trademark, patent or similar federal laws.
A governing body’s power to exercise authority over people and things within its territory.
“The city police responded to the call because it fell within their jurisdiction.”
The means by which a husband and wife are formally separated, both physically and financially, by a court decree without terminating the marital relationship.
“Because they felt they needed a break from each other, Tom and Giselle underwent a legal separation.”
The process of making or enacting a written law by a governing body.
“The Senate will vote on this proposed legislation to determine if it will become a law.”
The state of being accountable, responsible, or obligated.
“Johnny Knoxville claimed he had no liability when Freddy Memphis fell into the hole that Johnny dug.”
A legal right or interest a creditor has in a debtor’s property until the debt or duty is satisfied.
“Farmers during the depression were considered ‘under the lion’s paw’ because of various liens on their property that significantly reduced their profits.”
A lawsuit, or the process of carrying on a lawsuit.
“After Beth received the complaint, she hired a lawyer and prepared herself for litigation.”
A nonbinding method of resolution that involves a neutral third party meeting with the other parties and trying to reach an agreement.
“Let us try a mediation before we involve the court system.”
A crime less serious than a felony that can be punished with fines, forfeiture, or jail time.
“Littering is a misdemeanor.”
The unjustified killing of a human being.
“Dr. Richard Kimble was found guilty of murder.”
A governmental grant of a right, privilege, or authority.
“Production rights are limited to Steve because he has a patent on the design.”
Formal written request submitted to a court or another official body.
“Before you can get this on the ballot, you must first file a petition.”
The party who brings a civil case in a court of law.
“The plaintiff is suing you because you ran over his foot.”
The formal document in which a party makes or responds to charges, allegations, claims, defenses, or denials.
“According to the pleading, the plaintiff would like you to pay for his medical bills from when you ran over his foot.”
Something that happens before, as opposed to after. A court can establish a precedent by recognizing and applying a new rule to a case while administering justice.
“Brown v. The Board of Education overturned the precedent set by Plessy v. Ferguson.”
A proceeding where a plaintiff will try to establish a claim to land by getting the adverse party to establish a claim or be forever estopped from asserting it.
Either: An official approval or authorization; or, a penalty or coercive measure resulting from a failure to comply.
“Because his government did not comply with the resolution, the UN placed a sanction on his country.”
The formal delivery of a court document to an interested person or entity.
“After the deputy handed Jon the complaint and summons, service of process was completed.”
Resolution by agreement.
“According to the settlement, Bill could keep the guitars as long as Ted received the drum kit.”
A word, phrase, logo, or other graphic symbol used by a manufacturer or seller to distinguish its product from others.
“The Nike ‘swoosh’ is one of the most recognizable trademarks in the world.”
The unlawful entry onto another person’s property.
“He committed a trespass when he scaled my fence and crossed to the other side.”
A formal judicial examination of evidence and determination of the validity of legal claims in an adversary proceeding.
“The evidence has been gathered and lawyers have been hired; let’s have ourselves a trial.”
An act where one person is granted control over property belonging to someone else.
“Because Stuart is too young to manage his college fund, his bank will hold it in trust.”
The legal expression of a persons desire of how he/she would like his/her property to be distributed upon death.
“My will states that you can have my stereo in case I die.”
The legislative division of land which sets guidelines for land use, building regulations, etc.
“A zoning committee designated the vacant meadow as a residential area.”