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– Washington DC Family Law Dictionary


LACHES – a defense from a claimant who has waited too long to bring his or her claim to court, resulting in a refusal of the court to grant relief.

LATENT – concealed, hidden, such as a tax liability.

LEASE – a written document in which the rights to use an occupancy of land or structures are transferred by the owner to another for a specific period of time in return for a specified rent.

LEASED FEE ESTATE – an ownership interest held by a landlord with the right of use and occupancy conveyed by lease to others: usually consists of the right to receive rent and the right to repossession at the termination of the lease.

LEASEHOLD ESTATE – the right to use and occupy real estate for a stated term and under certain conditions: conveyed by a lease.

LEGAL ASSISTANT – a staff member in a law firm or office who performs certain tasks but does not have the training of a paralegal.

LEGAL CAPTION – identifies the type of court action, the title of the action, the docket number, the pleader and the parties.

LEGAL CAUSATION – a legal or moral duty due the claimant, which must be breached and is the cause of injury or damage he or she sustained.

LEGAL CUSTODY – the authority of one parent or both parents to make legal decisions regarding health, education and welfare of the child.

LETTERS OF CREDIT – a line of credit with a bank or financial institution.

LEVERAGE FACTORS – considerations made by each parties pertaining to the issues that are being disputed.

LIABILITY – being responsible for an act or a result, such as a debt.

LIABILITY INSURANCE – indemnification insurance that protects the insured from financial loss for his or her unintentional acts or actions.

LIEN – an encumbrance put on a property owned by a judgment debtor. It prevents the sale, transfer of title or refinancing of the property until the debt is satisfied.

LIQUIDATION VALUE – the price that an owner is compelled to accept when a property must be sold without reasonable market exposure.

LIS PENDENS – a Latin term meaning “a pending suit.”

LITIGATION – the process of fighting a legal dispute in the court system.

LIVING WILL – an instrument setting forth a person’s wishes in regard to long-term medical care in the event of incapacitation.

LONG ARM – the means by which a court can get jurisdiction over someone who lives outside the jurisdiction in which the court is located.

LUMP – SUM ALIMONY – a spousal support that is ordered to be paid in a fixed amount. The completion of the payment may be made in installments. (see spousal support section).

LUMP-SUM SETTLEMENT – a one-time settlement as opposed to a series of payments over time, or an installment or structured settlement.