Glossary

-A-

Affiant – The person who makes and swears to an affidavit.

Affidavit – A written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation for use as evidence in court.

Affidavit of Financial Disclosure – A Greene County form completed by every litigant which lists their sources of income, amount of earnings, and expenses, and ultimately reflects each parties’ financial circumstances.  Also used as a reference when calculating each party’s obligation to support the child(ren) of the marriage.  This form is mandatory and must be submitted in all new cases and in all post-decree cases involving support.

Answer – The defendant’s response to a Complaint. The Answer contains the defendant’s version of the events leading to the lawsuit and may be based on the contents of the Complaint. The filing of the Answer is one option that the defendant has in deciding how to respond to the complaint

Arrearage – Amount of overdue and unpaid child or spousal support owing in an account.

Arrearage Payment – An amount ordered in addition to the current support obligation, which is used to pay off any outstanding arrearage owed in an account.  (Standard amount ordered is 20% of the current obligation, however, the court can order more or less than 20%.)

-C-

Child Support Computation Worksheet – A form used to calculate a child support obligation based on the parties’ incomes and certain expenses.  This form also provides the percentages used to determine the amount each party will pay for uninsured health care expenses.  There are different variations of the Worksheet.  The most common are the Sole Residential Parent or Shared Parenting Order.  These are used when either one of the parties has exclusive custody of the child(ren), or when the parties have entered into a Shared Parenting Plan.  Another less common variation is the Split Parental Rights and Responsibilities form which is used when the parties divide custody of multiple children (i.e. Mom has custody of daughter, and Dad has custody of son).

Child Support Enforcement Agency – CSEA.  The Greene County CSEA is located at 541 Ledbetter Road, #D, Xenia, OH  45385; (937) 562-6200.  This agency keeps a running account of funds received vs. monies owed in an individual account.  The CSEA is the main contact for the parties in a case regarding investigation and enforcement of child/spousal support orders, health care, and other related issues, including juvenile court cases and prosecutor referrals.  Parties in a case may provide documentation to the CSEA, who in turn investigates the matter, and if necessary, forwards it to the court to issue an Order.  The CSEA can handle some administrative actions within their office such as recommending modifications in child support or asking that the Obligor pay an additional amount on an accumulated arrearage.  These too are referred to the Court to adopt as an official court Order.  The CSEA also has the capability to issue Notice to Income Providers based on an Obligor changing employers.

Civil Protection Order– CPO.  A CPO is a court Order which grants protection to victims of domestic violence.  CPO’s are issued by domestic relations courts to protect victims of domestic violence, and are intended to prevent further violence.  It orders someone who has been abusive to do, or not do, certain things in the future.  A CPO can be enforced for up to five years.

Complaint – The petition that informs the court that the plaintiff wishes to terminate their marriage.  The filing of the Complaint signifies the initiation of the divorce, legal separation, or annulment process.  The Complaint, together with the Summons, is required to be served on the defendant.

Counterclaim – There are two sides to every argument: (1) the claim and (2) the counterclaim.  A counterclaim is a claim brought by the defendant against the plaintiff in a legal action. 

-D-

Defendant – The person defending or denying; the party against whom relief or recovery is sought in an action or suit.  The defendant is the second person listed in the caption of a divorce. 

Deposition – The process of giving sworn testimony outside of the courtroom.  A deposition is used to gather information as part of the discovery process, and in limited circumstances, can be used at trial.  The witness being deposed is called the deponent.

Discovery – A pre-trial procedure in a lawsuit in which each party, through the law of civil procedure, can obtain evidence from the other party or parties by means of discovery devices such as a request for answers to interrogatories, request for production of documents, request for admissions, and depositions.  Discovery can be obtained from non-parties using subpoenas. When a discovery request is objected to, the requesting party may seek the assistance of the court by filing a motion to compel discovery.  

Dissolution – An action to end a marriage when the parties are in agreement on all issues involved in terminating their marriage.  Both parties must attend the final hearing in order for a dissolution to be granted.  

Divorce – An action to end a marriage when the parties are NOT in agreement on all issues involved in terminating the marriage.  Divorce is also appropriate when one party is working to end the marriage and the other party either will not cooperate or cannot be located.  Only the filing party and a corroborating witness must attend the final hearing for a divorce to be granted.  

Domestic Relations Court – DR Court.  Domestic Relations courts have exclusive jurisdiction over bringing marriages to an end.  This may be done by divorce, dissolution, or annulment.

Domestic Violence – DV.  Domestic Violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner or family member against another.  It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse.  The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically.

-E-

Ex Parte – (ex par-tay) adj. Latin meaning "for one party."  A decision by the judge or magistrate that is decided without requiring all of the parties to the case to be present.  This is an exception to the basic rule of court procedure that both parties must be present at any argument before the court.  Ex parte matters are usually temporary orders (like a restraining order or temporary custody) pending a formal hearing or an emergency request.

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Family and Children First – FACF.  Assists service providers, community groups, and residents to effectively address the health, human, and social service needs of Greene County residents. In addition, the department provides services for the county, including several Greene County Courts, including conducting home studies for the DR Court.

Family Visitation Center – Offers supervised visitation and supervised exchange services for parents in conflict who share minor children.  The Center provides a neutral, safe, comfortable, and structured environment for visitation and exchanges.

Foreign Support Order – FSO.  Cases where the divorce/dissolution was granted in another state, but one of the parties has had the case transferred to this Court’s jurisdiction for convenience.  

Futures – An overpayment in a support account reflected in the records of the CSEA.

 

-G- 

Guardian ad Litem – GAL.  A person the court appoints to investigate what solutions are in the “best interest of the child(ren).”  GAL’s then file a report and make a recommendation to the court in how to proceed regarding custody and parental rights.

-H-

Holds – When an account is paid in full or is becoming close to being paid in full, the CSEA has the ability to place a hold on an account, so that the account does not become overpaid.

Homestudy – Conducted by Family And Children First in order to make a recommendation to the judge on what is in the best interest of the child(ren) involved. These studies include, but are not limited to:  touring the homes or premises where the child(ren) may visit or be placed; assessing safety issues, housing, sleeping area, food and running water; interviewing; obtaining detailed social histories; investigating the family’s dispute from each person’s point of view; observating interactions between each parent/guardian and the child(ren); and conducting at least one separate visit with each involved child.  DOMESTIC RELATIONS SERVICES (2)Visits to each child’s school are conducted to obtain records and interview teachers, counselors, principals and other school personnel to determine the child’s adjustment, special needs, parental involvement, and other issues that will assist in the custody recommendation. Once the investigations and studies are completed, a comprehensive report with placement and visitation recommendations is submitted to the judge or magistrate.

-I-

Interrogatories – A set or series of written questions drawn up for the purpose of being answered by a party, witness, or other person with information in a case.  Interrogatories are a discovery tool.

IV-D Application – A form that must be completed when there is an order of child support; this form requires the Obligee’s signature.  The form is forwarded to the CSEA and enables the CSEA to provide collection/enforcement services.

 

-J-
 

Juvenile Court – JC.  This court is separate from domestic relations.  JC has jurisdiction over cases that establish paternity and support for children born out of wedlock, as well as custody and parenting time for these children.  Other cases the JC has jurisdiction over include abuse, dependency, neglect, and delinquency.  If your case has a JC in the case number, please call the juvenile court at (937) 562-4000.

-L-

Legal Separation – A court order arranging the terms (custody, support, division of property, etc.) under which a married couple will live separately.  This is filed when the parties do not want a divorce/dissolution of their marriage, but feel a physical separation is necessary. 

Local Rules – A listing of legal requirements and local regulations which must be obeyed when litigating a case in the Greene County Domestic Relations Court.  The Local Rules are available on the Greene County Domestic Relations website.

-M-

Magistrate – An attorney who has been appointed by the Court to take evidence and decide cases.  A magistrate acts as the judge in the cases to which they are assigned, which allows the Court to dispose of cases more quickly.  If your case is assigned to a magistrate, he or she will hear the evidence and make written findings in a Magistrate’s Decision.  The Judge reviews Magistrate’s Decisions before signing them and making them final and appealable Orders.

Mediation – Mediation is a process where parties resolve disputes outside a formal legal proceeding.  In mediation, the parties meet in a private setting to work out solutions to their problems with the help of a mediator.  The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong.  The mediator will not force the parties to reach an agreement.  The mediator helps each side to better understand their situation and encourage the parties to create solutions that meet their individual needs.  Any agreement reached is voluntary.

Motion – A formal request made to a judge or magistrate for an order or judgment.  Most motions require a written petition, a written brief of legal reasons for granting the motion, written notice to the opposing party or the attorney for the opposing party if they are represented, and a hearing before a judge or magistrate.  During a trial or hearing, an oral motion may be permitted.

Movant – The person who makes a Motion.

-N-

Non-Contested Divorce – NON-CON.  One party files a Complaint for Divorce and the other party does not respond.  A final hearing is set before the Judge or Magistrate where only one party and a witness must be present.  The matter is heard by the judge or magistrate, and a Final Decree of Divorce is filed.

-O-

Obligee – The party receiving child/spousal support.  (Abbreviation –EE)

Obligor – The party paying child/spousal support.  (Abbreviation –OR)

Ohio Child Support Guidelines – Also known as the Child Support Schedule – A table of possible child support obligations broken down into columns based on the total combined income of the parents involved in the divorce action along with the number of children involved.
 
Our Family Wizard – OFW.  A web service that offers divorced or separated parents an array of online tools to easily schedule child custody and track parenting time, share important family information, manage expenses as well as create an accurate, clear log of divorce communication.  OFW is intended to reduce divorce conflict between co-parents by providing a central, secure location to document and share important information about the family.

-P-

Parenting Judgment Entry – The Entry adopting the parties’ Parenting Plan or Shared Parenting Plan whereby making it an official order of the Court.

Parenting Plan – A document in which parties list their agreements regarding custody, support, decision-making authority, etc., of their minor children.  Parenting Plans are appropriate in situations where the children will reside primarily with one parent and will spend time with their other parent according to a specific parenting schedule.  The primary parent is designated the residential parent and legal custodian.  The Plan is adopted by the Parenting Judgment Entry.  See also Shared Parenting Plan.

Petitioner One – First person listed in the caption of dissolution documents.

Petitioner Two – Second person listed in the caption of dissolution documents.

Plaintiff – The person bringing a claim or making allegations; the party seeking relief or recovery in an action or suit.  First person listed in the caption of a divorce, legal separation, or annulment action.

Praecipe – A document requesting a writ or other legal document.  Often used for transcript requests.

Pro Se – For himself; in his own behalf; in person.  A pro se party is a party who does not retain a lawyer and represents his or herself in court.

-Q-


 

Qualified Domestic Relations Order – QDRO.  An order used to divide the retirement of the parties.

-R-


 
Respondent – The person against whom a CPO or Motion is filed. 
 

-S-


 
Separation Agreement – A document in which parties list their agreements regarding marital property and spousal support.  The Agreement is adopted by the Judgment Entry.

Shared Parenting Plan – A document in which parties list their agreements regarding custody, support, decision-making authority, etc., of their minor children.  Shared Parenting Plans are appropriate for parties who plan to exercise equal parenting time with their children.  Both parties are designated the residential parent and legal custodian.  The Plan is adopted by the Parenting Judgment Entry.  See also Parenting Plan. 

Standard Order Parenting Time – The parenting time schedule the Greene County DR Court has established to promote relationships with both parents when a marriage ends. 

Subpoena – A command to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony upon a certain matter.  A subpoena duces tecum is a command to produce documents.

Supervised Exchange – Supervision of the transfer of the child from one parent to the other. Supervision is limited to the exchange or transfer only with the remainder of the parent/child contact remaining unsupervised. Most frequently precautions are taken to assure that the two parents or other individuals exchanging the child do not come into contact with one another.

Supervised Visitation -- Contact between a non-custodial parent and their children in the presence of a third person responsible for observing and seeking to ensure the safety of those involved. 

Support Enforcement Tracking System – SETS.  A statewide computer system that follows the State of Ohio’s child support statutes.  Ohio counties can communicate with each other through SETS and share information. 

-T-

Third Party Defendant – A person/agency added to a case that is neither the Plaintiff nor Defendant, and is not necessary in carrying out the action of the case.  (Examples:  grandparent, bank, employer, etc.)

Transcript – A word for word account of the testimony taken.