I am often asked about the terms I use. Here’s a couple:
The term “Family Law” encompasses all kinds of cases, such as divorce, child custody and support, paternity cases, adoptions, domestic partnerships, guardianships, child support cases with the Department of Child Support Services, and modifications to existing orders.
The term “dissolution” is a fancy way of saying divorce. At some point, California decided that the word “divorce” was insufficient and that, for a divorce case, we would call it a “dissolution of marriage.”
“Spousal support” is also called alimony or “separate maintenance.” While other states do, California does not distinguish between alimony and spousal support. In California divorce, the term spousal support is the correct one.