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Canadian Divorce Glossary
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.
Parenting - There is a trend nowadays to avoid using the terms “custody” and “access” as there are certain win / lose connotations to these terms. Instead, the court will make parenting orders, which specify how the decisions in the children’s lives will be made.
Parties - The people on either side of a divorce are called the "parties" to the proceeding.
Paternity - Paternity defines the relationship between a father and his child and can be determined with a simple DNA test. Even if the children are not biologically the father’s there may still be a requirement to pay child support.
Pawns - In chess, pawns are moved around the board and sacrificed, when necessary, to protect the king and queen. In divorce proceedings, it is very often children who are "pawns," used by their parents to inflict pain, with little consideration as to the suffering of the children themselves.
Pension - In family law, pensions are a part of the family's assets and the value of the pension must be divided. Some pensions – normally government pensions or pensions from large companies – are worth a considerable amount of money, perhaps more than your home. Don’t rely on what the employer says the value of the pension is – always obtain an actuarial valuation of the pension.
Pleadings - The pleadings are the legal documents that set out your divorce case. They tell the court what you are asking it to order, and why the court should make an order in your favour. Generally, the pleadings consist of the application, the answer (and counterclaim), and reply.
Post-judgment interest - Post-judgment interest is interest payable on the money you are owed. It begins to accrue when the court gives judgment.