Some common terms you might hear during a divorce

Those going through a divorce by necessity learn many new concepts and legal terms. Some of the terminology might be a bit confusing, but it is imperative that you comprehend the meaning so that you can plan accordingly.

Here are some common terms that you might come across while going through a divorce:

Petitioner versus respondent

The petitioner is the person who filed for the divorce. The respondent is the party who must answer the petition for the divorce. In short, if you initiate the divorce, you are the petitioner, and your soon-to-be ex is the respondent.

Qualified domestic relations order

A qualified domestic relations order, also known as a QDRO, is a legal document outlining how retirement accounts must be split. They may be filed with the final divorce judgment but are separate orders. They must be error-free, as any discrepancies can impact the distribution of benefits from the retirement accounts.


Stipulations are agreements between the two parties settling some or all of the matters in the divorce. Stipulations often are included in interim and final divorce judgments, e.g., the mother gets to have the children for Easter if the father gets to have the children for Christmas.

Discovery and interrogatories

The discovery process is the exchange of information between the spouses and their attorneys during the divorce. Interrogatories are written questions that are part of the discovery process.

Other issues might come up during your divorce. Getting legal advice for your questions about the divorce process is vital so that you are able to make educated decisions that are in your best interest.

Source: FindLaw, “Divorce Glossary,” accessed May 16, 2017

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