Skip to Content Top
Divorce Glossary Divorce Is Never Easy... But It Can Be Simplified.

Divorce Glossary

Understand the Important Legal Terms

As you navigate your divorce, you will undoubtedly encounter some legal jargon along the way. Below, we have provided definitions for some of the terms you are likely to encounter.

Texas divorce glossary

Child support – Money legally owed by one parent to the other for expenses incurred for children of the marriage

Community property – Property (other than separate property) acquired by either spouse during the marriage

Community debt – Debt (other than separate debt) acquired by either spouse during the marriage

Conservatorship – The part of the court order detailing where a child will live and what rights and duties each parent will have, also known as “custody”

Court coordinator – Person who works for the judge and schedules hearings in a case

Custodial parent – The parent who has the legal right to determine where the primary residence of the child shall be, also known as managing conservator, primary conservator, or primary joint managing conservator

Decree – The legal document signed by the judge that grants the divorce and contains all the specific terms and provisions of the divorce (final decree of divorce)

District clerk – All district cases are filed with the district clerk

Divorce – The legal end of the marriage relationship

Docket/cause number – The number given to your specific case by the district clerk’s office

Insupportability (incompatibility) – The most common reason given for a no-fault divorce

Joint managing conservatorship – A court order in which both parents have equal rights and duties to make decisions regarding the child

No fault divorce – A type of divorce where no one needs to prove that the end of the marriage was caused by one party

Non-custodial parent – The parent that does not have the legal right to determine the primary residence of the child, also known as the possessory conservator

Obligor – The parent who is ordered to pay child support

Obligee – The parent who receives child support on behalf of the child

Petition – The legal document that starts your divorce case and briefly tells the court about your case

Petitioner – The person who files for divorce

Possession order – The part of a final decree that states the specific visitation dates and times the non-custodial parent will have with the child

Pro Se – Representing yourself in a court proceeding without an attorney

Prove-up – The process of finalizing your divorce in front of the judge at an uncontested hearing that requires the attendance of only one party to recite the required information to complete the divorce process

QDRO (qualified domestic relations order) – Creates or recognizes the existence of an alternate payee’s right or assigns to an alternate payee the right to receive all or a portion of the benefits payable with respect to a member or retiree under a public retirement system, which directs the public retirement systems to disburse benefits to the alternate payee

Respondent – The spouse of the person who files for divorce

Separate property – Consists of property that is owned or claimed by a spouse before marriage; property acquired by a spouse during marriage by gift, deed, or descent; or the recovery for personal injuries sustained by the spouse during marriage except any recovery for loss of earning capacity during the marriage

Service – The legal method for giving your spouse a copy of the divorce petition; this is usually done by a sheriff, constable, or private process server

Sole managing conservatorship (sole custody) – A court order stating one parent has more rights and duties regarding the child than the other parent

Spousal maintenance – Money a court requires one spouse to pay to the other spouse for support during and/or after the divorce is granted

Standard possession order – A specific possession schedule in Texas that states the specific visitation dates and times the non-custodial parent will have with the child

Uncontested divorce – A divorce in which the parties are able to agree on how to divide their property and share custody of their children, and join together in filing the appropriate paperwork to have the divorce granted

Wage withholding order – A court order to deduct child support payments from someone’s employment wages

Waiver of service – A legal document signed by respondent and notarized that state’s respondent is accepting legal notice of the petition and does not need to be served with official process by a sheriff, constable, or private process serve and may also contain other legal provisions that can affect the rights of respondent

Have further questions about your divorce? Do not hesitate to contact Simple Texas Divorce at (940) 236-0972.

Start Your Simple Texas Divorce Application Now

If you have lived in Texas for fewer than 6 months, then you do not qualify for a Simple Texas Divorce due to residence limitations. If you have lived in Texas longer than six months, then the following questions will apply: