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Life changes, such as marriage, divorce, and birth of a child, bring about decisions that must be made regarding family finances.  Here’s a glossary of the most common family finance terms.

Authorized user
An authorized user of credit can use the credit, but is not obligated to pay off the debt if the primary account holder does not pay it.

Credit freeze
A credit freeze is a request made to the credit reporting bureaus limiting access to a consumer’s credit report.

A cosigner is someone who also signs a loan for someone who may not have adequate credit history to obtain a loan on his or her own. A cosigner is considered legally obligated to pay off the debt if the primary account holder does not pay it. 

Divorce decree
A divorce decree is a court order that finalizes a divorce, including all agreed upon terms and conditions.

An indemnification is a legal agreement between two parties that typically makes one party liable in the event something goes wrong related to actions under their control.

Joint credit account
A joint credit account is an account held by two or more parties, who each have access to the credit and a legal obligation to pay it back.

Prepaid tuition plans
A prepaid tuition plan, offered by many states (and some private universities), allows parents to save money in an account that grows at the same rate as tuition. 

Settlement agreement
A settlement agreement is when both parties involved in a lawsuit agree to terms before going to trial. 

State college savings plans
State college savings plans, also called 529 college savings plans, are savings vehicles that help parents save for college on a tax-deferred basis. Parents can save money in these accounts, which are subject to market conditions, with little effect on need-based financial aid. 

A will is a legal document where a person or couple designates recipients for their assets and property after their death.