The jargon of the courtroom can be intimidating, but there is no reason it should be with a little knowledge on your side. Like most things, once you peer behind the curtain, it all starts to make sense. Here’s a list of common divorce jargon defined:
Rule 11 agreements: named after rule 11 of the rules of civil procedure, rule 11 agreements are simply written and filed agreements between the parties. Parties can agree to a wide array of issues, but rule 11 agreements are commonly used to agree to simple preliminary terms or to narrow wide-ranging issues in dispute.
Irrevocable settlement agreement (ISA): an informal agreement between the parties to settle the case without trial, it must lay out the terms of the divorce, division of property, etc. Whereas rule 11 agreements can be revoked, ISA’s cannot be revoked, and, if a court agrees to the division and terms, can become the terms of the final divorce decree.
Discovery: also governed by the rules of civil procedure, discovery is the process through which each party to a lawsuit has the right to obtain relevant materials pertaining to the suit from the other party. Most relevant materials are “discoverable,” but each party can object to producing certain materials or claim that certain materials are “non-discoverable” due to a privilege like attorney-client privilege or work-product privilege.
Mediation: a pre-trial proceeding in which an impartial third-party (the “mediator”) seeks to help the parties to come to terms of a settlement and avoid the costs of trial. Courts often require mediation prior to trial, but mediation does not always end in a settlement. If parties do not agree to the terms, they can move on to trial.
Binding arbitration: similar to mediation except that the parties agree to a third-party arbitrator (or a court appoints one) with the power hear evidence, decide facts, and sometimes order binding decisions on the party. This functions much like a court order and is legally binding. It is a common way to settle disputed issues without trial and is also sometimes ordered by the court.
If you are contemplating divorce, or if you are concerned your spouse may be contemplating divorce, you need a team of highly experienced divorce litigation attorneys who will zealously fight for your rights. Contact Kirker│Davis LLP to schedule a meeting with a divorce litigation attorney today.