Your wife kicked you out and threatened to burn all of your collectible Superman comics you have gathered since you were a kid. You have that terrifying thought: it’s time to call a divorce lawyer.

Whether it’s a divorce lawyer, criminal defense attorney, or any kind of specialty lawyer in between, nobody wants to find themselves in the position where they need legal advice. But life throws us curveballs, and we will need to reach to an attorney at some point.

Remember these five common legal terms to help you better communicate with attorneys.

1. Plaintiff and Defendant

Every lawsuit has both a plaintiff and a defendant. The plaintiff is the person who is suing, and the defendant is the person who is getting sued. Understanding your role in the lawsuit will help you come up with your strategy for winning the case. For example, if you believe you are the victim in one of the six million car accidents the U.S. sees on average, you would be the plaintiff suing the defendant that rear-ended you.

2. Contract

A contract is an agreement between two or more people or entities where something is promised to happen. A contract often involves some type of reward, such as a person promising to work for a company and follow their rules, and that company promising to pay them a specific wage and provide specific benefits. Contracts can be written or spoken, but it’s much easier to prove the validity of a written contract. Your divorce lawyer will help draw up a contract to define the terms of your divorce.

3. Charge

The statement of the crime you are being accused of is your charge. Any type of illegal activity can cause you to have charges brought against you, like drug charges or theft charges. Police are required to state what you are being charged with when you are arrested, and police can only hold you up to 24 hours without bringing charges against you.

4. Testimony

Testimony is oral evidence a witness gives under oath to establish fact within a case. An attorney poses these questions for the witness to answer, which are recorded by the court reporter. The courts will throw out testimony that proves untrue or unnecessary to the case at hand.

5. Allegation

An allegation is a statement claimed to be fact, found in a complaint that is made before a lawsuit can begin or a criminal charge. Allegations have to be proven to be true before any punishment gets handed out. During court proceedings, the crime being discussed is always referred to as an allegation or “allegedly” happening as to avoid leading the jury to believe something is fact before it is proven. The media also uses the word allegedly when reporting on crimes to avoid defamation suits.

Every lawsuit comes with different circumstances. As being involved in law proceedings can be costly, it’s important to be fully prepared for what will happen before going in. Study up on these words and more to impress your divorce lawyer – they’ll be even more committed to avenging your poor Superman comics.

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