Glossary of Terms

Administrative Order: An order of child support issued by the County Job and Family Services-Office of Child Support Services. These orders may be adopted and enforced by the Court during the divorce.

Affidavit: A written statement made or taken under oath, which is notarized.

Answer: A written response to the Complaint for Divorce filed by the Defendant within 28 days of receiving the Complaint.

Appeal: An objection to a decision made by a Judge. This type of action is filed and heard in a Court of Appeal.

Arrearage: Amount of past due child and/or spousal support.

Capias: An arrest warrant for a person’s failure to appear for a court hearing after having been served with an order to appear.

Cash Medical Support: An amount ordered to be paid in a child support order toward the costs of health insurance provided by a public entity, another parent, or person with whom the child resides. The intended purpose is to pay back the custodial parent or the state of Ohio for all or a portion of the medical costs incurred for the minor children.

Civil Protection Order: (CPO): An order granted by the Domestic Relations Court to protect victims of domestic violence.

Clerk of Court: A county official who is in charge of the clerical work of the court such as keeping the official records and seal, issuing service of process, filing judgment and orders, and providing certified copies from the official record.

Complaint: The first filing in a legal action which begins the divorce process.

Continuance: The postponement of a hearing/trial. Must be asked for in a written motion.

Counterclaim: An action filed by the defendant against the plaintiff. This action is filed in the same divorce case but provides the reasons that a divorce should be granted. If the plaintiff’s original complaint is dismissed, the defendant can still proceed upon the counterclaim.

Defendant: The person against whom the lawsuit is filed.

Deposition: A formal proceeding where a party and/or witness is placed under oath and has to answer questions asked by the opposing party. Depositions are recorded by a court reporter. Judges and magistrates are not present during depositions.

Discovery: A process where the parties request information and documents from each other. Discovery includes requests for interrogatories, admissions, and documents. The scheduling and taking of a deposition is also part of the discovery process.

Dissolution: A legal action where wife and husband agree to dissolve their marriage and agree upon all of the terms for ending their marriage.

Divorce: A legal action that terminates a marriage. Generally, a divorce is filed when both parties cannot agree as to whether the marriage should end or how property issues and children issues should be decided.

Division of Property Order (DOPO): A court order, similar to a QDRO, which is required when dividing public pension/retirement accounts.

Ex parte communication: Any form of communication (conversation, letter, etc.) with a judge or magistrate about a case without all of the parties present. Ex parte communications are absolutely prohibited.

Ex parte orders: Orders obtained without service/participation of the opposing party. These orders are rare and generally only issued in emergency situations.

File Stamped: A stamp on a document made by the Clerk of Court indicating the date and time a document was officially filed with the Court.

IV-D Application: A form that the State of Ohio requires to be completed in all cases involving child support.

Grounds: The reasons a divorce may be granted.

Guardian ad Litem (GAL): An attorney or trained professional who is appointed by the court, who acts in the best interest of the children in a particular case. The GAL investigates the facts of the case and files a report for the court regarding the children’s best interest.

Hearing: A formal proceeding where parties and witnesses testify and evidence is offered to the Judge or Magistrate who will make a decision.

Indigent: A person who is unable to pay fees and costs related to a case.

Interrogatory: Written questions sent by one party to the opposing party, who must answer them in writing under oath within a specific amount of time.

Judgment Entry: A court order signed by a judge.

Jurisdiction: The power or legal authority of the Court to hear and decide a case.

Local Rules: A set of court rules developed by the Court to govern matters that are not already determined by the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure. This Court’s Local Rules can be found on this website under the “Rules” tab.

Magistrate: An attorney appointed by the Judge to hear certain cases. A magistrate can hear evidence and make rulings in a case. At the end of a case, the magistrate will issue a Magistrate’s Decision which is a recommendation to the Judge about how the issues should be decided.

Magistrate’s Decision: A written Decision issued by the magistrate that resolves all of the matters assigned to be heard by the magistrate. A Judge can then either accept the recommendations made by the magistrate or modify them.

Magistrate’s Order: A written order that generally relates to matters that regulate the proceedings, such as continuances, deposition orders, and temporary support. Magistrates’ orders are effective without a judge’s approval.

Marital Assets: In general, property acquired by a married couple during the marriage. Some exceptions may exist.

Marital Debts: In general, debts and liabilities incurred by a married couple during the marriage, regardless of which party incurred the debt.

Mediation: A problem solving process where a neutral third person helps the parties to an action find areas where they can come to an agreement. Mediation is an alternative process to having a contested hearing.

Moot: An issue that has become irrelevant due to having been previously decided or settled.

Motion: Usually a written request for some type of action or decision to be made by the Court. Written motions are filed with the Clerk of Court and sent to the opposing party/attorney.

Motion to Compel: A request filed by one party for the Court to order the other party to respond to their interrogatories or requests for documents. If a party does not produce the requested information, the party may face sanctions, such as a fine or have to pay the other party’s attorney fees.

Motion to Set Aside Magistrate’s Order: A motion filed with the Judge to modify an order made by a magistrate. The Objection must be made within 10 days of the filing of the order.

Motion to Vacate/Motion for Relief from Judgment/60(B) Motion: A motion filed by a party after a final judgment entry has been signed requesting the Court undo the judgment entry.

Notarize: The signature of a notary public and seal to establish the authenticity of a signature on a legal document.

Objection to Magistrate’s Decision: A request for the judge to modify or correct a Magistrate’s Decision. Objections must be filed within 14 days of the filing of the Magistrate Decision. If no objections are filed, the Judge can then make the Magistrate’s Decision the final order of the Court.

Obligee: The party that receives child and/or spousal support.

Obligor: The party that pays child and/or spousal support.

Ohio Revised Code (ORC): The written laws of the State of Ohio.

Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure: Rules that all trial courts must follow in Ohio in civil (non-criminal) matters.

Overrule: Where a judge or magistrate denies a request made to the court. The opposite of sustain.

Parental Rights and Responsibilities: The rights and responsibilities of a parent to determine those matters affecting a child’s welfare and upbringing, such as medical decisions, religious upbringing, etc.

Petitioner: The person who asks the Court to issue a Protection Order on his or her behalf.

Plaintiff: The person who begins a lawsuit by filing an action with the court.

Post-decree: Motions, issues, and/or orders that occur after the granting of a divorce or dissolution.

Pre-decree: Motions, issues, and/or orders that occur while a divorce action is pending.

Pre-trial: A meeting with the parties and the judge or magistrate to discuss the status of the case, what issues exist, what evidence will be presented at any upcoming hearings.

Processing Charge: A fee charged by the County Job and Family Services-Office of Child Support Services for processing support payments. The fee is 2% of the support order and is non-waivable.

Pro se: Latin term which means someone who is proceeding in a legal action without an attorney.

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO): A court order, prepared by the parties, which is required when dividing particular types of retirement accounts. The court does not prepare QDROs and it is up to parties or their attorneys to prepare and file QDROs with the Court.

Remand: When a higher court returns a case to the lower court to correct an error or modify a prior decision.

Requests for Admissions: Request by one party to the other party to either admit or deny certain facts. The party responding to the Requests for Admissions must respond in a timely manner or the other party may ask the court to deem the facts not denied as admitted.

Request for Production of Documents: Request by one party to the opposing party to produce documentation that is relevant to the case.

Residential Parent: the parent with whom a child physically lives according to a court order. In a shared parenting plan, the “residential parent for school purposes” is the parent in whose school district the child can attend school.

Respondent: The person who must answer to the claims brought upon them.

Shared Parenting Plan: A plan that addresses all child related issues such as physical living arrangement, child support, medical and dental care, school placement, and parenting time. Under a Shared Parenting Plan, both parents are considered to be the residential parents and legal custodian of the child. A Shared Parenting Plan becomes an order of the Court.

75(N) Hearing: Hearing where a magistrate would reconsider or modify the temporary support orders issued in the divorce case. Governed by Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court Local Rule 23.

Stay: A request made to the Court to temporarily suspend or stop court proceedings and/or the effects of a judgment pending the resolution of another matter.

Subpoena: A court order to a witness the witness to appear at a hearing and give testimony.

Subpoena Duces Tecum: A command to a person or company to produce documents or papers in the individual’s possession that are related to a case pending in court.

Summons: A written notice to a person that an action has been filed against the person who is required to answer the complaint and/or appear.

Sustain: Where a judge or magistrate grants a request made to the court. The opposite of overrule.

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO): An order issued by the Court that restrains one or both parties from disposing of and/or changing their assets and property. Can also prohibit parties from removing the children from the jurisdiction of the court and/or changing their schools. These orders are only in effect while a case is pending.

Temporary Support Orders: An order for child and/or spousal support that is temporary in nature. A temporary support order is typically in effect during the pendency of a divorce until the final hearing.

Testimony: Answers to question given by a witness under oath.

Transcript: A written record of what is said during a hearing/trial.

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA): Law that governs which state has the power to make or modify child custody decisions when parents and/or children move from one state to another. This law also covers the registration of out-of-state custody orders with this Court in order to allow parents who live in Cuyahoga County to enforce those custody orders. See Local Rule 30 for how to register out-of-state parenting orders.

Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA): Law that allows parents to obtain or enforce child support orders when the other parent resides in a different state. See Local Rule 31 for more information.

Venue: The geographical location within the State where a case is filed, determined by law and court rules.