in Illinois Divorce and Family Law Cases
By Gunnar J. Gitlin,
Divorce lawyers and parties
going through a divorce will often hear certain common abbreviations.
We provide a list of some of these abbreviations and what might
be called "shorthand references that divorce lawyers commonly
use. Many of these terms are used in this site.
Abbreviation for American Academy
of Matrimonial Lawyers. The common abbreviation used in this
site and also the National site is the AAML.
Abbreviation for the American Bar Association. Many Fellows of
the AAML are also members of the American
Bar Association Family Law Section.
Abbreviation for Alternate Dispute Resolution. Most lawyers within
the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers concentrate their practices
in traditional representation. Although the practice of many Fellows
is in traditional representation, many have now added alternative
resolutions including Mediation and Collaborative Law to their practices.
Abbreviation for Attorney for the Child. The role of the AFC role
differs substantially from that of a guardian ad litem. Since 2006,
Illinois law has provided that, "The attorney shall provide
independent legal counsel for the child and shall owe the same duties
of undivided loyalty, confidentiality, and competent representation
as are due an adult client. as an attorney to represent the child."
When an AFC is appointed the child(ren) have their own separate
attorney to argue their position to the court.
Abbreviation for Continuing legal education. Illinois lawyers
have an annual duty to continue their legal education. The Illinois
Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers is an accredited
Abbreviation for Child’s Representative. A child representative
is similar to a guardian ad litem. Illinois law most fully fleshes
out the duties of a child representative. The law is at 750 ILCS
5/506. Section 506(a)(3) of the IMDMA addresses the role of the
child's representative. A CR differs from a GAL in that a CR cannot
be called as a witness in a hearing or trial.
Abbreviation for the Illinois
Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Previously, this
organization was called the Department of Children and Family Services.
Their web site is at: http://www.hfs.illinois.gov. Their duties
include investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect.
Abbreviation for the Illinois
Institute for Continuing Legal Education. The Illinois Institute
for Continuing Legal Education provides continuing legal education
programs for Illinois lawyers. Each year in January the Illinois
Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in conjunction
with the IICLE produces its divorce financial seminar.
Abbreviation for the Illinois State Bar Association. Many Fellows
of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers are members of the
Illinois State Bar Association Family Law Section. Among its duties
this Section recommends legislation and changes in current laws
to the Illinois General Assembly.
- 18 Month Rule
- This is a misnomer because this is a rule with significant exceptions.
Many people believe this so called rule being custody cases
need to be concluded within 18 months of the filing of a the initial
pleadings -- usually the divorce petition. The first exception
is that you begin to measure from the date of service, not the
date the divorce petition is filed. The other exception
key exception is there being good cause shown. It is this
later exception that renders this rule more aspirational in nature.
Abbreviation for Guardian ad Litem. A person appointed
by a judge to prosecute or defend a case for a person legally unable
to do so, such as a minor child. In Illinois there are three types
of individuals who may be appointed with respect to minor children.
In addition to a guardian ad litem, they are an attorney for the
child and a child representative. See child representative and attorney
for the child. The 2005 amendments to Section 506 of the IMDMA provides,
"The guardian ad litem may be called as a witness
for purposes of cross-examination regarding the guardian ad litem's
report or recommendations. The guardian ad litem shall
investigate the facts of the case and interview the child and the
Abbreviation for the Illinois
Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. This is the main provision
of the law that applies to divorce cases although portions of it
apply to paternity actions. It also is the law that applies in legal
Alimony or spousal support. Illinois divorce lawyers generally
use the term maintenance because this is the term used in the Divorce
Act (Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act).
Abbreviation for Marital Settlement Agreement.
Abbreviation for Order of Protection. This is a court order entered
under the Illinois
Domestic Violence Act which includes prohibitions against harassment,
contact with another person and may include barring a person from
living in their own home and going to the residence or job of the
petitioning party. There are generally three types of orders of
protection: emergency (not longer than 21 days); interim (not longer
than 30 days) and plenary (often throughout the duration of the
Premarital Agreement. A "prenup" is an agreement signed
by a couple prior to their marriage, which addresses their rights
in the event of dissolution of marriage (divorce) and/or rights
to the estate of the other person upon that persons death. Regarding
the enforceability of premarital agreements (prenup), Illinois has
adopted the Illinois
Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. It provides for broad enforceability
of such agreements so long as there is fair and reasonable disclosure
of the property or financial obligations of each party, the agreement
is executed voluntarily and the agreement was not unconscionable
when executed. Such agreements addressing divorce often limit a
party's ability to seek maintenance (alimony) from her or his spouse.
Such agreements addressing estate issues often prevent a party from
their legal right to renounce a will and take a statutory third
of the other party's estate.
The final court appearance where the parties "prove-up"
their divorce and marital settlement agreement. The actual court
time for the prove-up is generally short, that is, the time before
the judge is generally less than 10 minutes.
Abbreviation for Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This acronym
is pronounced "QUADRO" or "Q-DRO." It refers
to an order of the divorce case (that is, a domestic relations order)
that is determined to be qualified. The "qualified" part
of this term generally refers to the approval of the QDRO by the
plan administrator. The purpose of the Order is to distribute a
non-governmental retirement plan and/or 40(k) plan following a divorce.
If properly done, the Order will bind the Plan Trustee to distribute
the proceeds of the retirement/401(k) Plan to the spouse who was
not an employee of the company that provided the plan to the employee
Abbreviation for Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Orders.
This court order distributes, to the spouse who was not the employee
of a governmental agency, his or her share of the employee spouse's
retirement benefit, at the time of the employees retirement. It
is similar to a QDRO in many respects.
March 15, 2012
- IRMO or IRCO
- Captions of Illinois divorce cases are usually started with
the reference "In Re the Marriage of:" Paternity
cases will then be In Re Parentage of:" So, if you
see in a a handwritten order the reference to IRMO or IRCO you
will know that it refers to either "In Re the Marriage of"
or "In Re Custody of."
Abbreviations in Illinois Divorce and Family Law Cases"
is a publication of the American Academy of Matrimonial
Lawyers - Illinois Chapter. ©2012. All rights reserved.
"Common Abbreviations in Illinois Divorce and Family
Law Cases" may be reproduced under the following conditions:
- It must be reproduced in its entirety with no additions
or deletions, including the AAML copyright notice.
- It must be distributed free of charge.
- The AAML reserves the right to limit or deny the right
of reproduction in its sole discretion.
For more information about the Illinois Chapter
of AAML and the services we provide, please contact us at 1-312-263-7682
between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST), fill out
our contact form, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.