A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
condonation
One person's approval of another's activities, constituting a defense to a fault divorce. For example, if a wife did not object to her husband's adultery and later tries to use it as grounds for a divorce, he could argue that she had condoned his behavior and could perhaps prevent her from divorcing him on these grounds.
confidential communication
Information exchanged between two people who (1) have a relationship in which private communications are protected by law, and (2) intend that the information be kept in confidence. The law recognizes certain parties whose communications will be considered confidential and protected, including spouses, doctor and patient, attorney and client, and priest and confessor. Communications between these individuals cannot be disclosed in court unless the protected party waives that protection. The intention that the communication be confidential is critical. For example, if an attorney and his client are discussing a matter in the presence of an unnecessary third party -- for example, in an elevator with other people present -- the discussion will not be considered confidential and may be admitted at trial. Also known as privileged communication.
confine
See imprison.
confinement in prison
In most states with fault divorce, grounds for a spouse not in prison to obtain a fault divorce if the other spouse has been imprisoned for a certain number of years.
conformed copy
An exact copy of a document filed with a court. To conform a copy, the court clerk will stamp the document with the filing date and add any handwritten notations to the document that exist on the original, including dates and the judge's signature. A conformed copy may or may not be certified.
connivance
A situation set up so that another person commits a wrongdoing. For example, a husband who invites his wife's lover along on vacation may have connived her adultery, and if he tried to divorce her for her behavior, she could assert his connivance as a defense.
consanguinity
An old-fashioned term referring to the relationship of "blood relatives" -- people who have a common ancestor. Consanguinity exists, for example, between brothers and sisters but not between husbands and wives.
conservator
Someone appointed by a judge to oversee the affairs of an incapacitated person. A conservator who manages financial affairs is often called a "conservator of the estate." One who takes care of personal matters, such as healthcare and living arrangements, is known as a "conservator of the person." Sometimes, one conservator is appointed to handle all these tasks. Depending on where you live, a conservator may also be called a guardian, committee or curator.
consideration
The basis of a contract. Consideration is a benefit or right for which the parties to a contract must bargain; the contract is founded on an exchange of one form of consideration for another. Consideration may be a promise to perform a certain act -- for example, a promise to fix a leaky roof -- or a promise not to do something, such as build a second story on a house that will block the neighbor's view. Whatever its particulars, consideration must be something of value to the people who are making the contract.
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
A federal law requiring that employers offer employees -- and their spouses and dependents -- continuing insurance coverage if their work hours are cut or they lose their job for any reason other than gross misconduct. Courts are still in the process of determining the meaning of gross misconduct, but it's clearly more serious than poor performance or judgment. COBRA also makes an ex-spouse and children eligible to receive group rate health insurance provided by the other ex-spouse's employer for three years following a divorce.
consortium
(1) A group of separate individuals or companies that come together to undertake an enterprise or transaction that is beyond the means of any one member. For example, a group of local businesses may form a consortium to fund and construct a new office complex. (2) The duties and rights associated with marriage. Consortium includes all the tangible and intangible benefits that one spouse derives from the other, including material support, companionship, affection, guidance and sexual relations. The term may arise in a lawsuit if a spouse brings a claim against a third party for "loss of consortium" after the other spouse is injured or killed.
constable
A peace officer for a particular geographic area -- most often a rural county -- who commonly has the power to serve legal papers, arrest lawbreakers and keep the peace. Depending on the state, a constable may be similar to a marshal or sheriff.
constructive eviction
When a landlord provides housing that is so substandard that a landlord has legally evicted the tenant. For example, if the landlord refuses to provide heat or water or refuses to clean up an environmental health hazard, the tenant has the right to move out and stop paying rent, without incurring legal liability for breaking the lease.
Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS)
A national non-profit agency that, at no cost, helps debtors plan budgets and repay their debts. One major criticism of CCCS is that each office is primarily funded by voluntary donations from the creditors that receive payments from debtors repaying their debts through that office. Despite this criticism, most CCCS counselors provide clients with thorough and neutral advice.
Consumer Leasing Act
A federal law that requires lease agreements to include certain terms, including a statement of the number of lease payments and their dollar amounts, penalties for not paying on time and whether a lump sum payment is due at the end of the agreement. Despite this law, many vehicle lease agreements are nearly impossible to decipher.