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– Maryland Family Law Dictionary

FACTORS – elements in case law, court rules or statutes a court must consider before making a decision.

FAIR AND REASONABLE – the judicial standard for approving marital agreements.

FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT (1997) – a federal law that regulates credit bureaus and protects consumers.

FAIR MARKET VALUE – the price a willing buyer pays a willing sell after an arm’s length negotiation.

FAIR VALUE – an appraisal price considered equitable or reasonable.

FAMILY COURT – a court with jurisdiction over child support , divorce and comparable issues. In Maryland, Family Courts are part of the Circuit Court

FATHER’S RIGHTS – legal principles and concepts promoting the idea that custody decisions must not discriminate against fathers.

FAULT – BASED DIVORCE – a type of divorce to be granted if one member of the marriage is guilty of some kind of marital misconduct.

FAULT GROUNDS – include abandonment, adultery, deviant sexual conduct, cruelty, drunkenness, mental illness, imprisonment, sexual desertion, drug addiction and nonsupport.

FEDERAL PREEMPTION – the supremacy of the U.S. Constitution and federal law over the state and local law.

FEE ARBITRATION – a procedure in most states for an informal but binding forum to resolve fee disputes between attorneys and clients.

FEE SIMPLE ESTATE – absolute ownership unencumbered by an other interest or estate; subject only to the limitations of eminent domain, escheat, police power, and taxation.

FELONY – a serious crime with a sentence of one year or longer.

FICA – the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, which regulates Social Security benefits and taxes.

FICO SCORE – A mathematical formula invented by Fair Isaac Corp., used to determine the credit worthiness of an individual and appropriate interest rates.

FILE – to personally deliver a document to a clerk of a court so that the document can be included in the official records of a case.

FINAL JUDGMENT – relitigation of a matter as the result of a judge’s decision. It does not become final for purposes of appeal until the expiration of a certain amount of time.

FINANCIAL STATEMENT – a statement of finances used in divorce actions.

FIND; FINDINGS; FINDINGS OF FACT – what the court determines are the facts of the case.

FOREIGN ORDER – a court order issued by another county, state or nation outside of the jurisdiction in which the custodial parent lives.

FORENSIC CUSTODY EVALUATION – a general term sometimes used by a psychologist hired to evaluate a family. The forensic psychologist will state in court which parent they feel should have custody of the child. This is known as a Forensic Custody Evaluation.

FORFEITURE OF ASSETS – a comprehensive term that means a divestiture of specific property without compensation.

FORUM NON CONVENIENS – a term literally meaning an “inconvenient venue.”

FORUM SHOPPING – refers to the practice of shopping for a court in a jurisdiction where a more favorable outcome is likely.

FOUNDATION – the evidence that must be presented before asking certain questions or offering documentary evidence on trial.

FRAUD – a material and intentional misrepresentation, by omission or commission, to induce someone to surrender something of value.

FRAUDULENT CONVEYANCE – the transfer of an asset out of a debtor’s name to keep it from the reach of a creditor.