Family court can often seem like you are entering a world with a different language. Many new legalese terms and acronyms are used in the field of family law. Here are some frequently used acronyms decoded:
OOP – Order of Protection—civil court orders prohibiting a specific person from making contact with you such as coming near your home, work site, school, or other locations as listed on the order. It is based on the relationship you have with the party you are seeking protection from.
CS – Child Support—Court ordered payments made by a 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.
ADR – Alternative Dispute Resolution – a process by which the parties attempt to resolve the case without a trial.
LDM – 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.
PT – Parenting Time. The amount of time a parent spends with the minor children. Also referred to as “physical custody”, “access”, or “visitation”.
AFI – Affidavit of Financial Information: A 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.
PC – Parenting Coordinator—a neutral person who is appointed by stipulation of the parties after an order for legal decision making and parenting time order is entered to help implement the parenting plan and resolve disputes between the parents regarding certain types of parenting disputes.
Qualified Domestic Relations Order (known as “QDRO”): An order the divides retirement accounts and other items in a case. A QDRO is a highly specialized document and it is recommended that you seek the assistance of an attorney that specializes in drafting QDRO’s.
Resolution Management Conference (or “Early Resolution Conference”): A hearing that is a status conference to discuss issues of the case. Usually 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.
TASC: A company that provides testing for drugs and alcohol, as well as substance abuse assessments.
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.