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Canadian Divorce Glossary
Abuse - This is a ground for divorce. It can also form the basis of a claim for damages.
Access - Also known as visitation, this is a term meaning the right to spend time with a child.
Actuary - An actuary is the person you'll need to retain to value your pension for family law purposes.
Adultery - This is a ground for divorce in Canada.
Adversarial System - The legal system in Ontario is an "adversarial system." This means that each party does its best to build its case and to point out weaknesses in the other party's case.
Affidavit - This is a sworn statement under oath. It is used as a replacement for having a person come to court to testify.
Affidavit of Documents - This is an affidavit in which the person swears that the list of documents is all the documents he or she has that are related to the case.
Air Miles - Yes, these are divisible in your divorce.
Alimony - Another word for spousal support. Normally awarded to compensate for financial hardships suffered due to the marriage or the breakdown of the marriage.
Alternative Dispute Resolution - "Alternative" to resolving the dispute in court - for instance, mediation or negotiation.
Answer - When your spouse applies for a divorce, you normally have 30 days to respond. The responding document is known as an Answer in many parts of the country.
Annulment - This is when you claim that your marriage is void for some reason - such as it was never consumated, or one party was already married. Not the same as a religious annulment.
Appeal - If you are not satisfied with a court order, you can often appeal it. An appeal is a very expensive process, and it is difficult to succeed. Best to get things right the first time.
Application - The name of the document that is filed to apply for a divorce or other family law relief.
Appraisal - To determine the value of certain items that you or your spouse own, for instance your home, you may need to have an appraisal done.
Arbitrator - A person who makes a binding decision about a case. Arbitration has the advantage over court of being quicker and more private, but not necessarily cheaper.
Assessment - This is the process where a trained psychologist or social worker evaluates your parenting skills, your spouse's parenting skills, performs psychological tests, evaluates the children's wishes and needs, and interviews teachers, counselors, etc to find out what the best custody and access arrangement for your children is.