Divorce Alphabet Soup

Donald Wall | NY Attorney at Law

Are Divorce Acronyms Making You Send Out an SOS?

Just like texting, a New York divorce has its own particular set of acronyms and abbreviations. Some clients may find it frustrating or intimidating to navigate this “alphabet soup”. So, FYI, I wanted to give you a short list, ASAP, of a few of the abbreviations you may, IMHO, hear in your divorce proceeding and define what they mean: 

  • ED – “Equitable Distribution”  New York’s way of dividing marital property and marital liabilities.
  • NWS or SNW – “Net Worth Statement” or “Statement of Net Worth” This is the financial statement that is required in all New York divorce actions. Essentially each party is required to list their monthly expenses and monthly income, as well as their assets and liabilities. Each party must sign attesting to the accuracy of the information they provide.
  • DOC – “Date of Commencement”. This refers to the date the divorce action was commenced. In New York, a divorce action is commenced by the filing of a Summons with Notice or Summons and Complaint. This is an important date because certain automatic stay provisions come into effect upon filing. Many valuation issues are also determined by the Date of Commencement.
  • DOM – “Date of Marriage” This would be the date the parties were first married. Some people have a formal wedding and an informal marriage ceremony. The Date of Marriage is the first date of the two.
  • RJI  – “Request for Judicial Intervention”  An “RJI” is simply a form  required by the Courts to have a case assigned to a judge.  It lists the parties and certain relevant information on the case as well as the nature of the request for judicial intervention. There is a fee for filing an RJI.
  • PC – “Preliminary Conference” A preliminary conference is the first time the parties appear in court with their attorneys to meet the judge assigned to their case. At the conference the parties outline those issues that are agreed upon and those issues which are in dispute and need to be determined either by the parties or by the court at trial. In the event a party brings a motion at the commencement of the case, most judges will order that the preliminary conference take place at the same time the motion is heard.
  • NOI – “ Note of Issue” Another court form which a party, usually the plaintiff, must file in order to place a divorce action on the court’s trial calendar. Judges in New York are under pressure to move their cases forward expeditiously and will generally give an outside date for a party to file the NOI, which means that all prior proceedings, including all discovery proceedings must have completed before the NOI is filed.

These are only some of the most common combination of letters you’re likely to find in the Alphabet Soup of New York Divorce Law. What are some of the other acronyms you’re struggling to understand?