Enter email to subscribe to Free Divorce Mini-Course
Divorce & Family Law MenuCanada Divorce Advice
Child Support Canada
Child Custody in Canada
Spousal Support (Alimony)
Family Law Procedure
Dating After Divorce
DNA Paternity Testing
Deciding on Divorce
Property Divorce Laws
Ontario Divorce Objectives
Legal Separation Canada
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.
Separate - In Ontario, there is no such thing as a legal separation. Rather, a separation occurs when one spouse forms an intention to live “separate and apart” and acts on this.
Separation Agreement - A separation agreement is a contract between two people that is intended to resolve all (or almost all) of the issues outstanding between them as a result of the breakdown of their relationship. A typical separation agreement is arrived at after negotiations between both parties or their lawyers. The agreement typically covers issues such as the division of assets, custody and access, child support and spousal support.
Service - "Service" is the word lawyers use to describe the delivery of a legal document. An application must be served by “personal service,” meaning that it must be physically handed to the person. This is normally done by a person known as a “process server.” Otherwise, generally, documents are served by fax and courier nowadays.
Settlement Conference - A settlement conference is a meeting where the parties to a divorce (and their lawyers) meet in private with a judge to explore ways to settle the issues without going to trial. It is an important step in a divorce case, as if a case is not resolved at this stage, it normally goes on to trial, which is a costly process. If your case does not settle at the settlement conference, normally the presiding judge gives his or her opinion as to how he would decide the case at trial. The weight of this opinion often spurs a settlement soon after the settlement conference.
Solicitor-Client Privilege - It’s important that you be as honest as possible with your lawyer. To help with this, all communications with your lawyer are confidential. This confidentiality is protect by law, and is known as “solicitor-client privilege.”
Spousal Support - Spousal support consists of money paid by one spouse to his or her former spouse after separation. Spousal support is sometimes referred to as "maintenance" or "alimony."