Divorce 101: Acronyms and Terms Decoded

2021-05-19T14:19:18-07:00

By: Woodnick Law, PLLC

Family court can often seem like you are entering a world that speaks an entirely different language. Many new legalese terms and acronyms are used in the field of family law. The following are some frequently used acronyms and terms and their meanings.

ADR – Alternative Dispute Resolution: The process by which the parties attempt to resolve the case without a trial.

AFI – Affidavit of Financial InformationA document detailing a party’s financial affairs, including income, assets and debts.  This document is filed when spousal maintenance, child support or attorneys’ fees are at issue in a case.

ATLAS: A special number assigned by the Arizona Department of Economic Security, child support enforcement agency.  The ATLAS case number begins with numbers not letters.  You must have this number at any time you contact the Child Support Clearinghouse.

COBI – Court Ordered Behavioral Interventionist: The title of the person appointed under A.R.S. 25-405(B) to advise and assist with the implementation of a court-ordered parenting plan. A COBI is appointed by the court when both parents have identifiable behaviors that may have contributed to their familial instability. The COBI aids the Court by advising on how to best meet the needs of the family and by assisting in the implementation of the parenting orders.

CS – Child Support: Court ordered payments made by a parent for the financial support of a child.  Courts follow the Arizona Child Support Guidelines to determine the proper amount of support to be paid.

ERC – Early Resolution Conference: A conference held between a Family Law Case Manager and both parties in a family law proceeding that is pending before the court. The Court, judge, or either party may request an ERC. Generally, an ERC occurs when both parties are representing themselves (acting pro per) and there is no attorney involvement. 

IAH – Injunction Against Harassment: Like an OOP but applies to situations where the person the injunction is sought against is not a family member or intimate partner.

IJP – Interference with Judicial Proceedings: The criminal offense a person is charged with when they violate an OOP or an IAH.

LDM – Legal Decision-Making: Legal decision making (previously known as custody).  Right of a person to make decisions about the care and welfare of a child, such as decisions about education, health, personal care, and religious training.

OOP – Order of Protection: A civil court order prohibiting a specific person from contacting you such as coming near your home, work site, school, or other locations as listed on the order.  It is awarded depending on the relationship you have with the party you are seeking protection from. Generally, OOPs apply to domestic partners, individuals who have lived together, and close family members.

PC – Parenting Coordinator: A neutral person who is appointed by stipulation of both parties after an order for legal decision making and parenting time order is entered. The PCs job is to help implement the parenting plan and resolve disputes between the parents regarding certain types of parenting disputes.

PT – Parenting Time: The amount of time a parent spends with the minor children.  Also referred to as “physical custody,” “access,” or “visitation.”

QDRO – Qualified Domestic Relations Order: An order that divides retirement accounts and other items in a case. 

RMC – Resolution Management Conference : A status conference to discuss issues of the case.  Contested issues are not decided by the Court at this time, but a trial date may be set later to hear evidence.  This is usually set by the Court early in a case.

Many of these terms can be confusing just to understand what is being said in court. In order to get a better idea, an experienced family law attorney would be a great first step towards learning what the terms are about and how they relate to your situation.