Archives: Glossary terms


Access used to mean the time a parent spends with a child they usually don’t live with. For most family law cases, the term “access” has changed to parenting time. Now, all parents usually have parenting time. If you have a child protection case, the term access may still be used.

court clerk

The court clerk is a person at the courthouse responsible for things like issuing documents, maintaining court files, and setting court dates.

court order

A court order is a decision made by a judge that requires a party to do something or not do something. A court order can be a temporary order or a final order.


Cross-examination is when one party, or their lawyer if they have one, questions the other party’s witnesses. The purpose of cross-examination is to test how true and reliable a witness’ answers are.


The new term for custody is decision-making responsibility for most family law cases. If you have a child protection case, the term custody may still be used.
Decision-making responsibility or custody 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,


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

direct examination

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.

property division

Property division 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.

cost consequences

Cost consequences are when one party has to pay some or all of the legal costs of the other party. Legal costs usually include lawyer’s fees. It might also include other costs paid, such as the fee paid to have a pension valued.
The court decides when to make a court order for cost consequences.

common-law relationship

A common-law relationship is one where partners of the same or opposite sex live together in a marriage-like relationship, without being married. This is sometimes called “cohabiting”. In family law, you don’t have to live together for a certain amount of time to be in a common-law relationship. But the law gives different rights to common-law partners depending on how long they’ve lived together or whether they have a child together.

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