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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.
Uncontested Divorce - An uncontested divorce is a legal action for a divorce only: there are no financial issues or issues involving the children. The divorce proceeds on the ground that the spouses have been separated for one year, and there is no dispute that a year has passed since the spouses’ separation.
Unused Vacation Pay - The definition of property in Ontario is very broad, and includes pretty much everything, including a person’s unused vacation pay on the date of separation.
Valuation Date - The valuation date is the date of separation. A person’s assets fluctuate in value over time. So, it is important to determine the exact date of separation, which determines the day on which assets are valued for separation purposes.
Visitation - “Visitation,” more properly called “access,” is a right granted by the court that permits a parent or other relative to visit a child on a defined basis. You should work to create a visitation schedule in writing so that both you and your ex- spouse are clear about the details. This will prevent misunderstandings, confusion, possible resentment, and likely, litigation in the future. It will also help the children understand the schedule, and give them a sense of order and stability during a time of upheaval.
Will - A will is a legal document that details how you would like your property to be disposed of after your death. When you separate, it is important that you get a new will drafted for you. In Ontario, a separation does not invalidate a will. In Ontario, a divorce invalidates the provisions of a will dealing with your spouse. While this may sound like what you want, it may leave holes in your estate plan that need to be fixed.
Without Prejudice - Settlement negotiations and mediation are generally done on a “without prejudice” basis. This means that anything stated in mediation or in an attempt to settle your divorce can’t be used in court. For instance, if you try to settle your case by saying you don’t want any spousal support, when you go to court your spouse can’t state that you are willing to forgo spousal support, and so should not be awarded any.