What Are the Common Acronyms in Divorce Cases?

What Are the Common Acronyms in Divorce Cases?

During a divorce you may hear the judge and attorneys or paralegals use some acronyms that you probably have never heard before. These may be used during hearings, in letters from your attorney, or at other times in situations where you are unable to ask what the acronym means. This blog lists and defines some common acronyms you may need to know in your divorce case.

CCS. CCS stands for Chronological Case Summary. In many states this is called a docket sheet. The CCS is kept by the court and lists all documents filed, hearings scheduled and held, and court orders issued in descending order. You can view the CCS for your divorce case using My Case, Indiana’s free case search website.

CHINS. Cases initiated by child protective services are referred to as CHINS cases. CHINS stands for “child in need of services,” so after a case has been filed, the child who is the subject of the case, may also be called a CHINS.

CPS. Child Protective Services is often referred to as CPS. Child protective services in Indiana is officially the Indiana Department of Child Services, or DCS, but the terms are commonly used interchangeably.

CSOW. A CSOW is a child support obligation worksheet. The CSOW is used to determine the amount of child support a non-custodial parent will be ordered to pay. In a divorce, both parties may submit a CSOW, and if the numbers the parties use are different, the court will determine the correct numbers to use in the child support calculation. Numbers that may differ between the parties’ worksheets include, but are not limited to, weekly gross pay, adjusted income, work related childcare expenses, cost of health insurance for the child, and parenting time credits. How these amounts should be determined is described in the Indiana Child Support Guidelines determination of child support.

GAL. GAL stands for Guardian Ad Litem and is read as a word, gal, instead of reading the letters. A GAL is an attorney or community volunteer appointed by the court to represent the best interests of the child when there is a custody dispute. A party in a divorce may ask the court to appoint a GAL or the court may appoint one on its own, if it believes a GAL is necessary to determine the best interests of the child.

IPTGs. The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines are often referred to as the IPTGs.

IWO. An IWO is an income withholding order. IWOs in a divorce are court orders to a non-custodial parent’s employer, ordering it to withhold child support from the parent’s paycheck and send it to the Indiana State Central Collection Unit, who then sends the payment to the custodial parent.

PO. A PO in a divorce case is a protective order. Protective orders may be issued during a divorce if recent incidents of domestic violence in the marriage are alleged and the party alleging such incidents files a petition for a protective order. The PO should be filed in the same court where the divorce is pending, and while it will be given a different cause number than the divorce, it will then be combined with the divorce proceedings so that the judge hearing the divorce case will also hear all issues related to the protective order.

TPR. TPR stands for termination of parental rights. In a divorce case, termination of parental rights will come up if the Department of Child Services (“DCS”) is involved and has filed a petition to terminate one or both parent’s rights due to the suspected abuse or neglect of the child. While the divorce and termination proceedings will be separate and not heard by the same judge, the divorce case may be affected by the proceedings initiated by DCS as far as child custody and support is concerned.

QDRO. A QDRO, read as a word instead of an acronym and pronounced kwa-drow, is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. A QDRO gives a party a portion of the other party’s pension or retirement account. This is an approve tool by the IRS and there is no tax consequence. When diving a retirement account, such as a 401k or IRA, the QDRO orders the company where one spouse’s retirement account is located to provide the other spouse with information on how to obtain the amount to which they are entitled by the order, and then disburse that amount to the party. When dividing a pension, the QDRO orders the employer of the party who owns the pension to begin paying a percentage of the pension benefit to the other party, upon the retirement of the owner of the pension.

Knowing what the acronyms being used in your divorce case mean is important, as it will help you better understand what is being discussed and how it may affect you or your rights. The attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. will always explain any acronyms being used in your case, so that you have a full understanding of the issues and proceedings. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. It is for general educational purposes. It is not intended to be relied upon for any legal matter or issue. The blog is not legal advice. This is an advertisement.


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