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– Washington DC Family Law Dictionary


OBJECTION – the verbal response of a lawyer when something inappropriate is happening during a trial or deposition. It is one of many steps involved in protecting the record.

OBLIGEE – the person to whom money or property is owed by a judgment.

OBLIGOR – the person who owes money or property as the result of a judgment.

OBSOLESCENCE – one of the causes of depreciation: an impairment of desirability and usefulness caused by new inventions, current changes in design, improved processes of production, or external factors that make property less desirable and valuable for continued use.

OMITTED PROPERTY – property no included in a settlement.

ONLINE DIVORCE – a method of getting a divorce, in which a software and/or a web-based (on-line) service helps divorcing spouses complete and prepare divorce papers, forms, and/or documents for filing with the court.

OPENING STATEMENT – a lawyer’s opening remarks in the beginning of a trial. They are addressed to the judge.

OPERATION OF LAW – the way the law works.

OPINION – a belief held by a person. In court, a witness is restricted to stating facts and are not permitted to given an opinion. They can, however, express an opinion if they are qualified as an expert witness.

ORAL ARGUMENT – a court appearance when counsel debate the merits of a matter, such as order to show cause, motions.

ORDER – a court’s specific ruling on a disputed issue.

ORDER AFTER HEARING – a written order issued after a hearing and signed by a judge.

ORDER OF EXAMINATION – a court proceeding during which a judgment debtor is questioned about his or her assets. The questioning is done under oath.

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE – a court order requiring a party to a civil action to appear in court on a specific date and time. This is scheduled to explain why the court should not take a particular action in the case.

ORDINARY EXPENSES – costs and expenses for necessities such as food, clothing and shelter.