As a lawyer I find one of my most important responsibilities involves educating clients on all phases of the divorce process. As they saying goes, “knowledge is power” and I want my clients to be empowered during their divorce. Part of what makes the divorce process confusing is the all to frequent use of the unique language used by lawyers and judges. Often, this language sounds like alphabet soup. What follows is a brief description of some commonly used acronyms.
ADR Alternate Dispute Resolution. While many divorces are resolved through traditional litigation and negotiation, other cases are resolved using alternative methods such as mediation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce.
CIS Case Information Statement: this is a multi-page financial disclosure statement that serves as one of the most important documents in your divorce case.
CMC Case Management Conference: This is a conference between the attorneys and the judge assigned to your case for the purposes of setting a schedule for discovery and other important tasks for your case such as the ESP.
CMO Case Management Order: this is the court order the results from the case management conference
ESP Early Settlement Panel: this is a very important event in your case. You and your attorney will prepare a memorandum which outlines your settlement position. Your spouse will do the same and you will exchange your respective memos. You and your attorney along with your spouse and their attorney will then appear before panel of two attorneys will review the positions and offer a non-binding settlement recommendation.
FJOD Final Judgment of Divorce: this is the court order that officially dissolves the marriage and grants you a divorce.
QDRO Qualified Domestic Relations Order: This is a court order that is needed in order to divide certain types of retirement accounts.
If you hear these or other terms that are confusing to you, it behooves you to ask questions so that you can fully understand and participate in your divorce.