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Canadian Divorce Glossary
Words beginning with "C"If you're considering ending your marriage, learning to speak the "language" of divorce in Canada is an important first step. Below you will find a brief glossary of terms related to the separation process. These definitions are overviews, provided to help you begin to understand what is involved in ending a marriage.
Child Care Expenses - Expenses for child care are to be shared between parents in proportion to their incomes, after adjusting for any tax deductibility of the expenses.
Child Custody - The court may choose to grant custody to one parent (sole custody) or both parents (joint custody) and parents are encouraged to agree on whatever custodial arrangement is in the best interest of their children. Custody has two parts: legal and physical. Legal custody is the decision-making part. Physical custody refers to where the child lives on a regular basis. It can be one of the most difficult areas of a divorce to negotiate.
Child Support - This term refers to the money paid by one parent to the other to help cover a child's living expenses. Although this may seem straightforward on the surface, determining a person’s income on which to base support payments and deciding what expenses qualify as "add ons” to basic child support can be problematic.
Cohabitation - When two people are in a marriage-like relationship, but one that has not been "legalized" with a marriage license, they are said to be "cohabitating." In simple terms, this means "living together."
Cohabitation Agreement - This is the equivalent of a marriage contract for people who are not married (that is, for people who are cohabiting). This document sets out how financial matters will be dealt with if the relationship ends, either through separation or death.
Collaborative Divorce - In a collaborative divorce, the parties and their legal representatives agree in advance that they will resolve their differences justly and equitably without turning to the courts. What many would call an "ideal divorce," the goal of the collaborative divorce is the future well-being of a family. A collaborative divorce can only occur when everyone is committed to honesty, cooperation, integrity and professionalism.
Collusion - Collusion is the agreement between two (or more) parties to act together to achieve an illegal goal. Before the court grants a divorce application, a judge will want to ensure that divorcing parties haven't made a false claim simply to get a quick decision. For example, a husband and wife could agree to use adultery as the grounds for divorce even if no adultery was committed, or agree that they separated a year ago when they did not. Collusion is illegal.
Common Law Spouse - "Common law status" takes effect when a man and woman who are eligible to marry, but have not done so, have lived together for a certain period of time in a marriage-like relationship.
Confidentiality - Confidentiality is a legal concept that makes it easier for you to be 100% honest and open with your lawyer. Any time you speak with your lawyer in a professional capacity, it is a confidential communication, and your lawyer is forbidden -- not just by ethics, but also by the law -- from revealing anything you've said.