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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.
Retainer - A retainer is the money you pay to your lawyer for his or her services. It is like a last-month’s rent deposit. It is held by your lawyer in a special bank account known as a trust account. Your lawyer cannot touch these funds until he or she sends you an invoice, at which time the amount you are billed is deducted from your retainer.
Retainer Agreement - A retainer agreement is the contract you enter into with your lawyer. It sets out that the lawyer will represent you in your divorce, a description of what the lawyer will do, and what the fees involved are.
Retirement Age - This is an important consideration in cases where one spouse has a pension. The value of a pension depends on the age at which the pension holder will retire. The earlier the pension holder retires, the more the pension is worth. This is because the pension holder will receive a pension income for a longer period of time if he or she retires earlier. Generally the pension holder argues that they love their job and would work as long as they possibly could. Their spouse argues that the pension holder is lazy and could not wait to spend the rest of their life on the golf course.
Retroactive Support - Generally, child support or spousal support is only awarded retroactively to the date that court proceedings were commenced. The court will go further back if there is good reason to: for instance, if there were ongoing negotiations about child support or spousal support. The important point is that if you are owed child support or spousal support, or if you are entitled to a reduction in the amount of child support or spousal support you pay, it is important to take legal action quickly.
Rollover - A rollover is a transfer of property that occurs without income tax consequences. On divorce, provided certain Canada Revenue Agency forms are completed, RRSPs can be rolled over. As well, in some cases, it may be possible to transfer capital property without immediate income tax consequences.