Family Law Dictionary of Common Words

Family Law Dictionary of Common Words

The breakdown of a relationship and marriage can be a stressful and emotional experience. The associated legal proceedings can be equally frustrating and confusing. Many people are unfamiliar with common terms used in the separation and divorce process. For your convenience, we have compiled the following list of commonly used but unfamiliar words you may encounter during your separation or Court experience in Alberta:

Adjournment: to reschedule or postpone a scheduled court appearance to another date in the future.

Adjournment sine die: to postpone a scheduled court appearance to without assigning a specific date for rescheduling in the future.

Family Docket Court: A court process for determining how and when the parties will proceed to the next step in their legal dispute. Family docket court is a scheduling court, and does not typically involve substantive argument or non-procedural decisions.

Morning Chambers/Regular Chambers: A court process for hearing and deciding applications by  party that will require 20 minutes or less to complete the submissions by both parties (approximately 10 minutes for each party).

Special Hearing: A court process for hearing and deciding applications that will require more than 20 minutes to argue.

Viva voce: Refers to evidence that is provided to the court via the oral testimony of witnesses.

Mediation: The use of a neutral third party to attempt to assist the parties in coming to terms of an agreement to settle a dispute. A mediator will generally not make a decision for the parties, and will have no decision making authority in relation to a dispute.

Arbitration: An alternative to the public court system, arbitration is the use of a private, third-party decision maker with the authority to make binding decisions under the Arbitration Act, RSA 2000, c A-43, to settle a dispute. Delegating decision- making responsibilities and rights to an arbitrator during a family / divorce requires the consent of both parties.

Corollary Relief: Orders being sought by a party in addition to a granting of a divorce which is considered the primary relief.  Corollary relief may refer to orders regarding custody / parenting, child support or spousal support.

Section 3 child support: the monthly “base” amount of child support that a parent pays to the parent who has the children in their care most of the time (usually 60% of the time or more). Section 3 child support is typically calculated in accordance with the Federal Child Support guidelines in accordance with the payor’s annual income.

Retroactive child support: Refers to an amount of support payable to a party for a time period of time in the past prior to a formal agreement or order being made.

Arrears: Refers to an amount of support owed to a party pursuant to an order or agreement that is already in existence and typically is in reference to either child support or spousal support.

Section 7 child support: An amount of child support due for special or extraordinary expenses incurred for the child (which is not everyday living expenses that are contemplated in base Section 3 child support). Section 7 expenses can include (but are not limited to): child care expenses, health and dental related expenses, and the costs of schooling and extracurricular activities. 

Court costs: Fees imposed and set by the Court following the interim or final determination of a dispute between parties. Court costs are generally payable to the winning party in the dispute by the losing party in a dispute to represent repayment for (some of or all of) the legal costs the winning party incurred.

Throw away costs: Fees imposed for the payment of a party’s legal costs incurred for unnecessary preparation for a trial or other hearing, such as when there is an adjournment, mistrial or other event which results in unnecessary preparation. Throw away costs are generally payable to the party who incurred legal costs by the party who caused the unnecessary preparation.

At Family Central Law Office LLP, you can rely on experienced family lawyers to provide sound legal advice on your family law matters. Please contact us today for a free consultation with our family lawyers by calling our office at 587-392-7970 or emailing, or by clicking on our consultation page.

Calgary Family Central Law Firm

Trusted Counsel for Calgary Family Law Matters

Our firm believes in access to legal services for everyone, and serves the Calgary area, as well as regularly traveling for court appearances in Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge.

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