Abandoned: means a situation in which the parent or person having legal custody of a child, while being able, makes little or no provision for the child's support or makes little or no effort to communicate with the child, which situation is sufficient to evince an intent to reject parental responsibilities. See Florida Statutes 153.10
Adjourn: A motion to adjourn a legislative chamber or a committee, if passed, ends that day's session.
Adoption: means the act of creating the legal relationship between parent and child where it did not exist, thereby declaring the child to be legally the child of the adoptive parents and their heir at law and entitled to all the rights and privileges and subject to all the obligations of a child born to such adoptive parents in lawful wedlock. See Florida Statutes 153.10
Adoption plan: means an arrangement made by a birth parent or other individual having a legal right to custody of a minor, born or to be born, with an adoption entity in furtherance of placing the minor for adoption. See Florida Statutes 153.10
Amendment: A proposal to alter the text of a pending bill or other measure by striking out some of it, by inserting new language, or both. Before an amendment becomes part of the measure, thelegislature must agree to it.
Amortization: Paying off a loan by regular installments.
Annuity: A periodic (usually annual) payment of a fixed sum of money for either the life of the recipient or for a fixed number of years. A series of payments under a contract from an insurance company, a trust company, or an individual. Annuity payments are made at regular intervals over a period of more than one full year.
Answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
Appellate: About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgement of another lower court or tribunal.
Appraisal: A determination of property value.
Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
Arraignment: A proceeding in which an individual who is accused of committing a crime is brought into court, told of the charges, and asked to plead guilty or not guilty.
Assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
Bail: Security given for the release of a criminal defendant or witness from legal custody (usually in the form of money) to secure his/her appearance on the day and time appointed.
bonds: shall include water revenue bonds, sewer revenue bonds, and general obligation bonds. See Florida Statutes 153.02
Case law: The law as laid down in cases that have been decided in the decisions of the courts.
Certificate of need: means a written advisory statement issued by the Agency for Health Care Administration, having as its basis a written advisory statement issued by an areawide council and, where there is no council, by the Agency for Health Care Administration, evidencing community need for a new, converted, expanded, or otherwise significantly modified health facility. See Florida Statutes 154.205
Certification determination procedures: means the process used by the county of residence or the agency to determine a person's county of residence. See Florida Statutes 154.304
Certified resident: means a United States citizen or lawfully admitted alien who has been certified as a resident of the county by a person designated by the county governing body to provide certification determination procedures for the county in which the patient resides; by the agency if such county does not make a determination of residency within 60 days after receiving a certified letter from the treating hospital; or by the agency if the hospital appeals the decision of the county making such determination. See Florida Statutes 154.304
Charity: An agency, institution, or organization in existence and operating for the benefit of an indefinite number of persons and conducted for educational, religious, scientific, medical, or other beneficent purposes.
Charity care obligation: means the minimum amount of uncompensated charity care as reported to the agency, based on the hospital's most recent audited actual experience, which must be provided by a participating hospital or a regional referral hospital before the hospital is eligible to be reimbursed by a county under this part. See Florida Statutes 154.304
Child: means any unmarried person under the age of 18 years who has not been emancipated by court order. See Florida Statutes 153.10
Clerk: means the clerk of the local agency, or the officer of the local agency, charged with the duties customarily imposed upon the clerk thereof. See Florida Statutes 154.205
Clerk of court: An officer appointed by the court to work with the chief judge in overseeing the court's administration, especially to assist in managing the flow of cases through the court and to maintain court records.
commission: shall mean the board of county commissioners of any county operating under the powers granted by this chapter. See Florida Statutes 153.02
Common law: The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States. It is based on judicial decisions rather than legislative action.
Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
Continuance: Putting off of a hearing ot trial until a later time.
Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
county: shall mean any of the several counties of the state operating under the authority granted by this chapter. See Florida Statutes 153.02
Court: means a circuit court of this state and, if the context requires, the court of any state that is empowered to grant petitions for adoption. See Florida Statutes 153.10
Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
Deed: The legal instrument used to transfer title in real property from one person to another.
Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
Deposition: An oral statement made before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. Such statements are often taken to examine potential witnesses, to obtain discovery, or to be used later in trial.
Devise: To gift property by will.
Discovery: Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
Dismissal: The dropping of a case by the judge without further consideration or hearing. Source:
Docket: A log containing brief entries of court proceedings.
Dower: A widow
Electronic funds transfer: The transfer of money between accounts by consumer electronic systems-such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and electronic payment of bills-rather than by check or cash. (Wire transfers, checks, drafts, and paper instruments do not fall into this category.) Source: OCC
Eligibility determination procedures: means the process used by a county or the agency to evaluate a person's financial eligibility, eligibility for state-funded or federally funded programs, and the availability of insurance, in order to document a person as a qualified indigent for the purpose of this part. See Florida Statutes 154.304
Entitlement: A Federal program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or unit of government that meets the eligibility criteria established by law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the Federal Government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled. Social Security and veterans' compensation and pensions are examples of entitlement programs.
Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
Escrow: Money given to a third party to be held for payment until certain conditions are met.
Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
Ex officio: Literally, by virtue of one's office.
Executor: A male person named in a will to carry out the decedent
facility: shall mean such water systems, sewage disposal systems, water system improvements and/or sewer improvements or additions thereto as are defined by this chapter. See Florida Statutes 153.02
Fair market value: The price at which an asset would change hands in a transaction between a willing, informed buyer and a willing, informed seller.
Fee simple: Absolute title to property with no limitations or restrictions regarding the person who may inherit it.
Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
Foreclosure: A legal process in which property that is collateral or security for a loan may be sold to help repay the loan when the loan is in default. Source: OCC
Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in injury to another.
Freedom of Information Act: A federal law that mandates that all the records created and kept by federal agencies in the executive branch of government must be open for public inspection and copying. The only exceptions are those records that fall into one of nine exempted categories listed in the statute. Source: OCC
general obligation bonds: shall mean general obligations of the county which are payable from unlimited ad valorem taxes or from such taxes and additionally secured by a pledge of water service charges or sewer service charges or special assessments, or all of them. See Florida Statutes 153.02
Gift: A voluntary transfer or conveyance of property without consideration, or for less than full and adequate consideration based on fair market value.
Governing body: means the board, commission, or other governing body of any local agency in which the general legislative powers of such local agency are vested. See Florida Statutes 154.205
Grand jury: agreement providing that a lender will delay exercising its rights (in the case of a mortgage,
Grantor: The person who establishes a trust and places property into it.
Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
Indemnification: In general, a collateral contract or assurance under which one person agrees to secure another person against either anticipated financial losses or potential adverse legal consequences. Source: FDIC
Indictment: The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies.
Injunction: An order of the court prohibiting (or compelling) the performance of a specific act to prevent irreparable damage or injury.
Interest rate: The amount paid by a borrower to a lender in exchange for the use of the lender's money for a certain period of time. Interest is paid on loans or on debt instruments, such as notes or bonds, either at regular intervals or as part of a lump sum payment when the issue matures. Source: OCC
Intermediary: means an attorney who is licensed or authorized to practice in this state and who is placing or intends to place a child for adoption, including placing children born in another state with citizens of this state or country or placing children born in this state with citizens of another state or country. See Florida Statutes 153.10
Interrogatories: Written questions asked by one party of an opposing party, who must answer them in writing under oath; a discovery device in a lawsuit.
Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
Legislative Auditing Committee: means a committee or committees designated by joint rule of the Legislature, by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, or by agreement between the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
Liabilities: The aggregate of all debts and other legal obligations of a particular person or legal entity.
Lien: A claim against real or personal property in satisfaction of a debt.
Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
Local agency: means any county or municipality existing or hereafter created pursuant to the laws of this state. See Florida Statutes 154.205
Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
Parent: means a woman who gives birth to a child and who is not a gestational surrogate as defined in…. See Florida Statutes 153.10
Participating hospital: means a hospital which is eligible to receive reimbursement under the provisions of this part because it has been certified by the agency as having met its charity care obligation and has either:
(a) A formal signed agreement with a county or counties to treat such county's indigent patients; or
Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
person: includes individuals, children, firms, associations, joint adventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
Person: includes a natural person, corporation, government or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, or association, and any other legal entity. See Florida Statutes 153.10
Personal property: All property that is not real property.
Placement: means the process of a parent or legal guardian surrendering a child for adoption and the prospective adoptive parents receiving and adopting the child and all actions by any adoption entity participating in placing the child. See Florida Statutes 153.10
Plaintiff: The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
Plea: In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges, a declaration made in open court.
Pleadings: Written statements of the parties in a civil case of their positions. In the federal courts, the principal pleadings are the complaint and the answer.
political subdivision: include counties, cities, towns, villages, special tax school districts, special road and bridge districts, bridge districts, and all other districts in this state. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
Population: means the population according to the latest annual determination of population of local governments produced by the Executive Office of the Governor in accordance with…. See Florida Statutes 243.27
Precedent: A court decision in an earlier case with facts and law similar to a dispute currently before a court. Precedent will ordinarily govern the decision of a later similar case, unless a party can show that it was wrongly decided or that it differed in some significant way.
Preliminary hearing: A hearing where the judge decides whether there is enough evidence to make the defendant have a trial.
Presiding officer: A majority-party Senator who presides over the Senate and is charged with maintaining order and decorum, recognizing Members to speak, and interpreting the Senate's rules, practices and precedents.
Primarily lives and works outside Florida: means that a person lives and works outside this state at least 6 months and 1 day per year, is a member of the military who designates a state other than Florida as his or her place of residence in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Pub. See Florida Statutes 153.10
Pro se: A Latin term meaning "on one's own behalf"; in courts, it refers to persons who present their own cases without lawyers.
Probate: Proving a will
Project: means any structure, facility, machinery, equipment, or other property suitable for use by a health facility in connection with its operations or proposed operations, including, without limitation, real property therefor; a clinic, computer facility, dining hall, firefighting facility, fire prevention facility, food service and preparation facility, health care facility, long-term care facility, hospital, interns' residence, laboratory, laundry, maintenance facility, nurses' residence, nursing home, nursing school, office, parking area, pharmacy, recreational facility, research facility, storage facility, utility, or X-ray facility, or any combination of the foregoing; and other structures or facilities related thereto or required or useful for health care purposes, the conducting of research, or the operation of a health facility, including facilities or structures essential or convenient for the orderly conduct of such health facility and other similar items necessary or convenient for the operation of a particular facility or structure in the manner for which its use is intended. See Florida Statutes 154.205
Quorum: The number of legislators that must be present to do business.
Real property: includes all lands, including buildings, structures, improvements, and fixtures thereon; any property of any nature appurtenant thereto or used in connection therewith; and every estate, interest, and right, legal or equitable, therein, including any such interest for a term of years. See Florida Statutes 154.205
Real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
Regional referral hospital: means any hospital that is eligible to receive reimbursement under the provision of this part because it has met its charity care obligation and it meets the definition of teaching hospital as defined in…. See Florida Statutes 154.304
Relative: means a person related by blood to the person being adopted within the third degree of consanguinity. See Florida Statutes 153.10
Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
Rescission: The cancellation of budget authority previously provided by Congress. The Impoundment Control Act of 1974 specifies that the President may propose to Congress that funds be rescinded. If both Houses have not approved a rescission proposal (by passing legislation) within 45 days of continuous session, any funds being withheld must be made available for obligation.
Restitution: The court-ordered payment of money by the defendant to the victim for damages caused by the criminal action.
revenue bonds: means revenue bonds of the authority issued under the provisions of this part, including revenue refunding bonds, notwithstanding that the same may be secured by mortgage or the full faith and credit of a health facility. See Florida Statutes 154.205
Right of rescission: Right to cancel, within three business days, a contract that uses the home of a person as collateral, except in the case of a first mortgage loan. There is no fee to the borrower, who receives a full refund of all fees paid. The right of rescission is guaranteed by the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). Source: OCC
Service of process: The service of writs or summonses to the appropriate party.
Settlement: Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
sewage: shall include any substance that contains any of the waste products, excrement or other discharge from the bodies of human beings or animals as well as such other wastes as normally emanate from dwelling houses. See Florida Statutes 153.02
sewage disposal system: shall mean and shall include any plant, system, facility, or property used or useful or having the present capacity for future use in connection with the collection, treatment, purification, or disposal of sewage, or reuse of wastewater, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing definition shall embrace treatment plants, pumping stations, intercepting sewers, pressure lines, mains, and all necessary appurtenances and equipment and shall include all property, rights, easements, and franchises relating to any such system and deemed necessary or convenient for the operation thereof. See Florida Statutes 153.02
sewer improvements: shall include all sanitary sewers within the county other than such mains and lines as constitute a part of a sewage disposal system, and shall embrace sewer mains and laterals for the reception of sewage from premises connected therewith and for carrying such sewage to some part of the sewage disposal system or for the distribution of reclaimed sewage for reuse. See Florida Statutes 153.02
sewer revenue bonds: shall mean special obligations of the county which are payable solely from sewer service charges and which in no way pledge the property, credit, or general tax revenue of the county. See Florida Statutes 153.02
Statute: A law passed by a legislature.
Statute of limitations: A law that sets the time within which parties must take action to enforce their rights.
Subpoena: A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
Summons: Another word for subpoena used by the criminal justice system.
Testify: Answer questions in court.
Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
To place: means the process whereby a parent or legal guardian surrenders a child for adoption and the prospective adoptive parents receive and adopt the child, and includes all actions by any person or adoption entity participating in the process. See Florida Statutes 153.10
Tort: A civil wrong or breach of a duty to another person, as outlined by law. A very common tort is negligent operation of a motor vehicle that results in property damage and personal injury in an automobile accident.
Transcript: A written, word-for-word record of what was said, either in a proceeding such as a trial or during some other conversation, as in a transcript of a hearing or oral deposition.
Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
Trustee: A person or institution holding and administering property in trust.
Uniform Commercial Code: A set of statutes enacted by the various states to provide consistency among the states' commercial laws. It includes negotiable instruments, sales, stock transfers, trust and warehouse receipts, and bills of lading. Source: OCC
Unmarried biological father: means the child's biological father who is not married to the child's mother at the time of conception or on the date of the birth of the child and who, before the filing of a petition to terminate parental rights, has not been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to be the legal father of the child or has not filed an affidavit pursuant to…. See Florida Statutes 153.10
User fees: Fees charged to users of goods or services provided by the government. In levying or authorizing these fees, the legislature determines whether the revenue should go into the treasury or should be available to the agency providing the goods or services.
Variable Rate: Having a "variable" rate means that the APR changes from time to time based on fluctuations in an external rate, normally the Prime Rate. This external rate is known as the "index." If the index changes, the variable rate normally changes. Also see Fixed Rate.
Venue: The geographical location in which a case is tried.
Verdict: The decision of a petit jury or a judge.
water revenue bonds: shall mean special obligations of the county which are payable solely from water service charges and which shall in no way pledge the property, credit, or general tax revenue of the county. See Florida Statutes 153.02
water system: shall mean and shall include any plant, wells, pipes, tanks, reservoirs, system, facility, or property used or useful or having the present capacity for future use in connection with the obtaining and supplying water and alternative water supplies, including, but not limited to, reclaimed water and water from aquifer storage and recovery and desalination systems, for human consumption, fire protection, irrigation, consumption by business, or consumption by industry, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing definition shall embrace all necessary appurtenances and equipment and shall include all property, rights, easements and franchises relating to any such system and deemed necessary or convenient for the operation thereof. See Florida Statutes 153.02
water system improvements: shall include all water pipes or lines, valves, meters, and other water-supplying equipment within the county other than such equipment as constitute a part of the water supply system and shall embrace water mains and laterals for the carrying of water to the premises connected therewith and for carrying such water from some part of the water supply system. See Florida Statutes 153.02
Writ: A formal written command, issued from the court, requiring the performance of a specific act.
writing: includes handwriting, printing, typewriting, and all other methods and means of forming letters and characters upon paper, stone, wood, or other materials. See Florida Statutes 88.6011