Glossary beginning with M

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Magistrate judge

A judge that only hears part of a case


Money the court orders one spouse to pay the other spouse, formerly called “alimony.

Marital property

Property acquired by either spouse during the marriage

Married filing jointly

A tax filing status for couples who have married before the end of the year

Material breach

A violation of contract that is severe enough to end the agreement


When a disinterested person, called a mediator, works to help the parties in a case reach an agreement

Synonyms: arbitration adjudication


A disinterested person who helps parties in a case reach an agreement outside court

Synonyms: arbitrator adjudicator


A person under 18 years old


A crime that can be punished by up to one year in jail


A trial that ends without any final decision because of an error or because the jury cannot agree on the verdict


To change or adjust


A loan given by a bank that is used to help someone buy a home

Mortgage company

A company that lends someone money to buy a house, but can take the house if the homeowner cannot repay the loan

Mortgage servicer

The company that collects monthly loan payments for a mortgage


A request to the judge to make the court or a party in the case do something

Municipal ordinance

A law or regulation of a city or local government