Archives: Glossary terms

advice counsel

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,

alternative dispute resolution

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or family dispute resolution processes 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.


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

balance of probabilities

Balance of probabilities is the standard or legal test of proof usually required in a family law case. The judge has to decide who is more believable – you or your partner.

case conference

A case conference is a meeting between a judge and you and your partner, and your lawyers if you have any. The purposes of a case conference include:

figuring out the issues that need to be solved in your case

talking about ways to solve those issues without going to a trial

figuring out the information you and your partner need to share

child support

Child support is the amount of money that one parent pays to the other parent to support their child financially. The money is paid to the parent who has the child living with them most of the time. The person who pays child support is called the payor parent.
The amount of child support that the payor parent pays is usually based on the Child Support Guidelines.

Child Support Guidelines

The Child Support Guidelines are the rules used to calculate how much child support a parent pays to help support their child financially.
The Guidelines include amounts of monthly child support that are based on the income of the parent who is paying support and the number of children they have to support.

closing statement

At the end of your trial, you get a chance to briefly tell the judge why you should get the court order you’re asking for. This is called a closing statement. Your closing statement should be based on: 

what you or other witnesses said
the documents used as evidence
family law rules and laws

You cannot talk about any new information that wasn’t used as evidence in the trial.

collaborative family law

Collaborative family law is an alternative dispute resolution process where you and your partner try to solve your issues without going to court. Collaborative family lawyers have special training and agree in writing not to go to court. You and your partner each have your own collaborative family lawyer.

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