Superior Court >Civil Department >Glossary Of Common Terms

Glossary of Common Terms
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COP (Change of Plea) A defendant's change of a previously entered plea of not guilty to guilty or no contest. CPS (Child Protective Services) The part of the Division of Children, Youth and Families under the Department of Economic Security that is mandated to protect children by responding to reports of abuse and neglect. CPS provides services to families to remedy problems and allow children to remain safely in their homes. CSAW ("see-saw") (Child Support Arrest Warrant) An arrest warrant issued for a person who has not paid or will not pay child support. The normally associated "bond" is set as a "purge" or "release" amount, which is an amount of support owed. When paid, the purge amount applies toward the past due support and is not returned as a bond in a criminal case would be. CSEA (Child Support Enforcement Administration) The state agency charged with providing certain support services. It is also referred to as the State IV-D agency. Case Status Report A form filed by an attorney, usually at the time of pretrial, that gives the status of the case. Used at each division's preference. Certified Copy A copy of a document or record that is signed and certified as a true copy by an employee of the Clerk of the Court. Certiorari Certain appellate proceedings for reexamination of actions of a trial court, or inferior appeals court. Change of Plea (COP) A defendant's change of a previously entered plea of not guilty to guilty or no contest. Change of Venue The moving of a case begun in one county or state to another county or state. Child (probate law) Includes a person who is entitled to take as a child under this title by intestate succession from the parent whose relationship is involved. Excludes anyone who is only a stepchild, foster child, grandchild or more remote descendant. Child/Youth/Juvenile A person who is under 18 years of age. Child Protective Services (CPS) The part of the Division of Children, Youth and Families under the Department of Economic Security that is mandated to protect children by responding to reports of abuse and neglect. CPS provides services to families to remedy problems and allow children to remain safely in their homes. Child Support A parent's legal obligation to pay money toward his/her child's care and maintenance. Child Support Arrest Warrant (CSAW) ("see-saw") An arrest warrant issued for a person who has not paid or will not pay child support. The normally associated "bond" is set as a "purge" or "release" amount, which is an amount of support owed. When paid, the purge amount applies toward the past due support and is not returned as a bond in a criminal case would be. Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) The state agency charged with providing certain support services. It is also referred to as the State IV-D agency. Child Support Guidelines A formula to determine the child support amount based on both parents' gross income. This formula uses a child support worksheet which must be submitted to the court. Childs Attorney (family law) (Commonly referred to as a Guardian ad Litem or Best Interests Attorney) An attorney appointed by the court to represent a child in a family law case. Common reasons to appoint such an attorney are the possibility of child abuse or one parent absconding with the child, possible or alleged domestic abuse or substance abuse on the part of one or both of the parents, concerns about the mental health or behavior of one or both of the parents, unsafe or unstable living conditions, special needs of the child, significant or persistent high conflict between the parents, that the child is an infant or a toddler or any other reason deemed appropriate by the court. A "Best Interests Attorney" would be requested in cases without such major concerns for the child's welfare. "China Doll" Affidavit An affidavit supporting a request for attorney's fees made by the prevailing party in a lawsuit. Refers to Schweiger v. China Doll Restaurant, Inc., 138 Ariz. 183, 163 P.2d 927 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1983), dealing with attorney's fees applications made by the prevailing party in a lawsuit. Civil Arrest Warrant (Bench Warrant) A warrant issued by a judge for failure to appear for a hearing or failure to comply with a court order in a civil matter. Civil Procedure The body of law and rules governing the methods and practices of civil litigation. Claimant One who claims or asserts a right, demand or claim. Claims As it relates to estates of decedents and protected persons, includes liabilities of the decedent or protected person, whether arising in contract, in tort or otherwise, and liabilities of the estate arising at or after decedent's death or after a conservator's appointment, including funeral and administration expenses. Does not include estate or inheritance taxes or demands or disputes regarding title of a decedent or protected person to specific assets alleged to be included in the estate. Clerk of the Court An elected official who is statutorily responsible for filing and processing all documents used in conjunction with superior court cases in accordance with mandated time limitations and archival standards. Provides a courtroom clerk for all sessions of court to record proceedings into minute entries that become permanent record. Receives, invests and disburses fines, fees, reimbursements, victim restitution and public/custodial trust funds. Codicil A supplement or appendix to a will. Commissioner A full time judicial officer appointed by the presiding judge and authorized to perform limited judicial functions. Common Law Marriage A full time judicial officer appointed by the presiding judge and authorized to perform limited judicial functions. Community Property Property, other than a gift or inheritance to one party, that spouses acquire during the marriage. Each spouse has a one-half interest in community property, regardless of who has title to it. See Also "Debts". Complaint An accusation, usually sworn before a magistrate, that a person has committed a specified offense; triggers judicial proceedings. The first pleading filed in a civil action. (juvenile law) A written statement of the essential facts constituting a public offense that is either made on an oath before a judge or commissioner of the superior court or an authorized juvenile hearing officer or accompanied by an affidavit of a law enforcement officer or employee that swears on information and belief to the accuracy of the complaint. Conciliation Services A branch of the court that offers services such as marriage counseling, mediation, custody evaluation, etc., to litigants involved in family court cases. Condemnation Action See "Eminent Domain". Conservator A person appointed by a judge to manage a protected person's financial affairs. Contested Cases Cases in which a response to a petition has been filed disputing some or all issues in the petition. Contract A binding agreement, written or oral, between two or more persons. Contract Action A type of lawsuit based on a breach of a written or oral contract. Controverting Certificate A document filed by any party to a case, other than the party who filed the motion to set and certificate of readiness, in which objections are stated to the information in a certificate of readiness. Counterclaim A claim or cause of action brought by a defendant against a plaintiff. Courts
  • Supreme Court: The highest court in the State of Arizona; the Court of Last Resort; hears cases appealed to the supreme court from lower courts and death penalty cases from superior court.
  • Court of Appeals: The court that reviews decisions and trials appealed to the court of appeals by a lower court, usually superior court.
  • Superior Court (General Jurisdiction): A general jurisdiction court; has the authority to hear all legal actions not exclusively assigned to another court.
  • Municipal Court (Limited Jurisdiction): A limited jurisdiction court that handles misdemeanor crimes and petty offenses and city ordinance and code violations and issues orders of protection and injunctions against harassment.
  • Justice of the Peace Court (Limited Jurisdiction): A limited jurisdiction court with a justice of the peace serving as its judicial officer.
Court of Appeals The court that reviews decisions and trials appealed to the court of appeals by a lower court, usually superior court. Court-Appointed Attorney (probate law) An attorney appointed by the court to represent an alleged incapacitated/protected person. (criminal law) An attorney appointed by the court to represent a defendant, based on the defendant's financial statement. Court-Appointed Investigator A person appointed by a judge to investigate the appropriateness of the appointment of a guardian or conservator. Cross-Claim A claim made by a party to a lawsuit against a plaintiff or co-defendant, or both, arising out of the original complaint. Custodian A person other than a parent or legal guardian who stands in loco parentis to a child or to whom legal custody of a child has been given by order of the juvenile court. Custody order
  • Joint Custody: Custody whereby both parents share important decisions about a child.
  • Sole Custody: Custody whereby one parent has the sole authority to make important decisions about a child.
  • Custodial Parent: The parent with legal custody and with whom a child lives.
  • Non-Custodial Parent: The parent who does not have primary custody of a child but is responsible for financial support.
  • Primary Residential Parent: In joint custody agreements, the parent with whom a child resides the majority of the time.
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