Glossary - Family Law


In Debt and Consumer Rights, Family Law, Tribunals and Courts, Wills and Powers of Attorney

Debts are money that a person owes, for example, a mortgage, line of credit, or car loan.

decision-making responsibility

In Family Law, Income Assistance, Child tax benefits, Wills and Powers of Attorney

Decision-making responsibility is the right to make important decisions about how to care for and raise a child. It includes the right to make decisions about the child’s health, education, religion, and important extra-curricular activities. Decision-making responsibility used to be called custody

The parents can agree to or the court can give:

  • one parent all decision-making responsibility,
  • 2 or more parents decision-making responsibility, or
  • different parents separate responsibilities, for example, one parent makes decisions about the child’s health and another parent makes decisions about the child’s religion.
default hearing

In Family Law

A default hearing is a court hearing where the person who pays support has to explain why they haven’t been making support payments.

direct examination

In Abuse and Family Violence, Family Law, Tribunals and Courts

Direct examination is when one party, or their lawyer if they have one, questions their own witnesses. These are witnesses you ask to testify or speak in support of your court case. Direct examination is also called examination-in-chief.


In Family Law

Disbursements are extra costs related to your court case that you have to pay. For example, the cost of photocopying documents and court filing fees are disbursements. These amounts can be included in an order for cost consequences.

dispute resolution officer

In Family Law

A dispute resolution officer (DRO) is a senior lawyer who is trained to help people resolve their issues.

Dispute Resolution Officers

In Family Law

Dispute Resolution Officers (DROs) are experienced family law lawyers trained to help people resolve their issues. Some locations of the Superior Court of Justice and Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice have DROs.

dividing property

In Family Law

To divide property is the process of dividing a married couple’s assets and debts. This usually happens after they separate or divorce.

Married couples usually share the value of their property. This means that the partner who has more property usually pays money to the partner who has less property. Usually, the property itself is not physically divided.

This is not true for people in a common-law relationship. They usually don’t have to share the value of their property if they separate.


In Family Law

A divorce is a court order that ends a marriage legally. Sometimes, you don’t need to go to court, but at least one partner needs to fill out court paperwork to get the divorce order.

divorce order

In Family Law

A divorce order is an order from the court that legally ends a marriage.

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