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LEGAL DICTIONARY - LETTER D


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DAMAGES
A cash compensation ordered by a court to offset losses or suffering caused by another's fault or negligence. Damages are a typical request made of a court when persons sue for breach of contract or tort.

DEBTOR
It is a person who owes money, goods or services to another, the latter being referred to as the creditor.

DECISION
The outcome of a proceeding before a judge, arbitrator, government agency or other legal tribunal. "Decision" is a general term often used interchangeably with the terms judgment or "opinion." To be precise, however, a judgment is the written form of the court’s decision in the clerk’s minutes or notes, and an opinion is a written document setting out the reasons for reaching the decision.

DEED
A document that transfers ownership of real estate.

DEFENDANT
The person, company or organization who defends a legal action taken by a plaintiff and against whom the court has been asked to order damages or specific corrective action redress some type of unlawful or improper action alleged by the plaintiff.

DISSOLUTION
The act of ending, terminating or winding-up a company or state of affairs. The same is said of marriage or partnerships which, by dissolution, ends the legal relationship between those persons formally joined by the marriage or partnership.

DISPOSITION
(1) Determination of a charge; termination of any legal action. (2) A sentence of a juvenile offender.

DISSENT
The disagreement of one or more judges of a court with the decision of the majority.

DIVORCE
The legal termination of marriage. All states require a spouse to identify a legal reason for requesting a divorce when that spouse files the divorce papers with the court. These reasons are referred to as grounds for a divorce.