Archives: Glossary terms


Parties are the people or organizations directly involved in a court case, contract, agreement, or other legal matter. For example, a party can be one person or a group of two or more people, a corporation, or an agency like the Family Responsibility Office or Children’s Aid Society.

procedural order

A procedural order is an order for something that helps move your case along. For example, an order that has a timeline for you and your partner to exchange certain documents, or an order that gives you more time to file documents with the court.

process server

A process server is someone who is in the business of serving or giving documents to a party involved in a court case. To find process servers in your area, look in the yellow pages or visit and search for “process server”.

regular service

To serve a document by regular service means you have to give a copy of that document to your partner or their lawyer by either:

document exchange

There are rules about how to serve a document by regular service that depend on how you serve the document.

restraining order

A restraining order is a court order that limits what a person can do in any way the family court thinks is appropriate to your situation. The order might limit where a person can go, or who they can contact or communicate with. For example, it can say one or more of these things:

your partner cannot come within 500 metres of you and your children
your partner cannot talk to or contact you or your children except through an agency or another person
your partner cannot come within 500 metres of your home and work

separation agreement

A separation agreement, sometimes called a domestic contract, is a written contract that partners can make after they have separated or divorced that says how they will deal with their issues. For example, it can say how much spousal support and child support one partner will pay the other,

default hearing

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

opening statement

An opening statement is what you tell the judge when your case starts. In it, you give the judge a summary of the:

issues your case is about
court orders you’re asking for
evidence you will present to support the orders you want

Office of the Children’s Lawyer

The Office of the Children’s Lawyer (OCL) is the government-funded office that represents children under the age of 18 in some court cases.
The OCL is not automatically involved in court cases dealing with decision-making responsibility and parenting time, which used to be called custody and access.

joint custody

Joint custody is a type of custody where both parents must agree on important decisions that affect their child. It includes decisions about the child’s health, education, and religion. One parent cannot decide these things without the other parent agreeing.
Other people, for example, grandparents, can also apply to the court for custody.

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