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Top 5 Divorce and Family Law Words, Phrases and Abbreviations

I’ve created a list of the Top 5 divorce and family law words, phrases and abbreviations that I talk about with my clients.  I talk about these things because I believe that people make their best decisions when they are given as much of the information that they need to move forward in life and in family law situations as they can handle.  I give my clients a lot of information, not all at once, but throughout their case to help them move their case to conclusion.    I do that because I feel so strongly that they need to know what is going on, what the pleadings in their case ‘say’ and how it affects them.  So, that also means I use as little strictly legal language as possible (legalese) and translate when I need to so that my clients are actively participating in their case.

The things that I get asked about change as we move through a case.  I’ve put together a list of several terms and abbreviations that I get asked most frequently about at the beginning of a case.  They are not all specific to family law issues, this list isn’t everything and some of them are specific to Texas family law and divorce.

1. Parties:

The parties to the case are the specific people involved in the divorce or family law case affecting a parent-child relationship.  For example, in a divorce the parties are the husband and wife.  The children are not parties to the divorce. The spouse that files the first pleading in a divorce is the Petitioner.  The other spouse will be the Respondent.

2. Standing Orders:

Standing Orders are orders that the District Courts create for all divorce cases and other family law cases that go into effect automatically when the divorce or family law case is filed.  They contain several sections to protect the children involved, the parties and the property during the case.  Denton County’s Standing Orders can be found here: Denton County Standing Order

3. Temporary Orders:

Temporary orders can be entered in both divorces and other family law cases affecting parent-child relationships. Temporary orders are different from the Standing Orders in some ways and are specific to your case and usually include sections for child support, the conservatorship for each parent, the possession schedule for your kids and specific things about your property including your house, your cars or trucks, bank accounts and bill paying.  Temporary orders are like Standing Orders in one way because they are in effect until your case is finished.  Temporary orders are different from Standing Orders in another way, because they aren’t in effect automatically.

4. IMOM:

This is an abbreviation used in divorce.  IMOM (and sometimes ITMOM) is short for ‘In the Matter of the Marriage of’ – for example, Mr. and Mrs. Hartley, are divorcing.  A reference to their case in an email or letter might read IMOM Hartley.

5.  ITIO:

ITIO is short for ‘In The Interest of’for example, Mr. and Mrs. Hartley have divorced and have two children.  Now they have an issue regarding the possession schedule for their children and Bob filed a lawsuit asking the Court to make some changes.  Their case may be discussed as ITIO Hartley Minor Children.

There are more terms that I help my clients understand as we move through their case but these are the top 5.  There are more information sources on our website’s video page: videos, FAQ page: and Resources page  I can be reached at 940-497-5454.

Jill O’Connell