An Order is Not a Judgment …
July 25, 2016 § 1 Comment
… and vice versa.
Chancellors are presented with all manner of documents to sign as acts of the court. They are styled variously such as Order, Judgment, Decree, and others. But there are really only two forms of court actions provided for in the MRCP: judgments, and orders.
A judgment is different from an order.
R54(a) states that a judgment is “a final decree and any order from which an appeal lies.”
R6(b)(1) states that an order is made upon an application to the court by motion.
So a judgment is appropriate when it concludes or finally adjudicates the case.
An order is appropriate while the case is pending and the court is addressing matters brought before it by motion.
Correct: Final Judgment of Divorce; Judgment Closing Estate; Judgment Quieting and Confirming Title; Temporary Order; Order Granting Authority to Pay Expenses of the Ward; Order Compelling Answers to Interrogatories, Order Granting Divorce, etc.
Incorrect: Temporary Judgment; Order Approving Final Accounting and Closing Conservatorship; Judgment on Motion to Compel Answers to Discovery, etc.
The term “Decree” is the ancient, traditional term for a final judgment in chancery, especially in a divorce. I think it is still an appropriate term to use for a chancery court judgment, particularly since R81 specifies that the MRCP has “limited applicability” in some chancery matters.