Glossary

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These are family law terms that will help you understand the rest of this Guide:

Child Support Guidelines: Federal rules that determine the amount of child support to be paid for the support of a child. In most cases, support is based on the province or territory where the paying parent is living, the paying parent’s income, and the number of children that support is being paid for. 

Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP): a provincial government program through which all court orders for support are enforced, including separation agreements that are registered with the court, unless both parties agree to not use this program.

Separation: occurs when you are in an intimate relationship, like a marriage or common law relationship, and you and your partner/spouse decide that you are going to live ‘separate and apart.’ This means that you are no longer going to live together as a couple.

Separation agreement: a written contract between you and your former partner or spouse in which you state that you are separated and that usually includes sections (‘clauses’) on custody of and parenting time with children, support issues, and the division of assets and debts. 

Split custody: when parents have two or more children together, and each parent has one or more of those children living with them most of the time. For example, Jane and Michael have 2 children – Tim and Tom. Tim lives with Jane most of the time, and Tom lives with Michael most of the time. 

Shared custody: when one parent has the child living with them for at least 40% of the time over the course of the year. For example, Sandy and Dale have 1 child, Billie. They have a week-on, week-off parenting schedule – Billie lives with Sandy for a week, then with Dale for the next week, and so on. 

For more family law terms & definitions, click here.