glossary

Glossary

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Title: access
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Access is the time a parent spends with a child they usually don't live with. Access can be on a strict schedule, such as every other weekend, or on a flexible schedule, such as whenever the parents agree. In some cases, a parent might have supervised access where someone else watches the visit.

Access also includes the right to get information on the child's health, education, and well-being. Getting information is not the same thing as making major decisions about the child.

Other people, for example, grandparents, can also apply to the court for access.

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An adoption consent is a document a parent signs that says they agree to place their child for adoption. The document must be signed in front of a lawyer.

If the child being adopted is 7 years or older, they also have to agree to their adoption. The child meets with a lawyer from the Office of the Children’s Lawyer before signing a consent.

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Advice counsel are private lawyers or Legal Aid Ontario staff lawyers located in all family courts who give basic information on family law to anyone who wants information. For example, advice counsel can explain legal terms, how to start or respond to a court application, and the court process.

If your income is low enough, advice counsel can also give you legal advice about child custody and access, child support and spousal support, dividing property, divorce, and most other family law matters.

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Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to different ways or processes that try to get people to agree on their legal issues without going to court. Some of these processes are collaborative family law, mediation, and arbitration.

Title: annulment
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An annulment is a court order that your marriage was not valid from the start. You might get one if, for example, your partner was still married to someone else when they married you.

It is rare to get an annulment to legally end a marriage. Most of the time you need to get a divorce to legally end a marriage.

Title: appeal
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To appeal means to ask a judge or someone with more power to review a decision that you don't agree with.

Other parties who are affected by the decision can also appeal.

Title: applicant
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The applicant is the party who starts the court case. An applicant can be one person or a group of two or more people, a corporation, or an agency like the Family Responsibility Office, etc.

The person that they are making a claim against is called the respondent.

Title: arbitration
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Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution process where partners meet with a neutral person, called an arbitrator, to solve their issues without going to court. An arbitrator is usually a lawyer. A non-lawyer can also be an arbitrator if they have special family law training. If you and your partner cannot reach an agreement, the arbitrator makes a decision to solve your issues. Their decision is called a family arbitration award.

Title: assets
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Assets are things that you own. For example, assets include cars, real estate, registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), and any savings you have.

Title: bail hearing
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A bail hearing is when the person charged with a crime goes to court after they have been arrested. At court, they ask a judge or justice of the peace to decide whether the police can continue to keep them in jail, or whether they must let you go.

The judge might give you "conditions" that you must follow if they let you go. For example, the court might order them to stay away from their partner.

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