Families Change Teen Guide to Separation & Divorce

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Key Words

Visiting Rights The time children spend with the parent who doesn’t have custody. Visiting rights also include a parent's right to receive information about the children's health, education and welfare.
Child Support Money that one parent gives the other parent to help pay for the things their children need.
Common-Iaw Couple When two people live together as a couple without getting married.
Divorce A legal action two people take to end their marriage.
Joint Custody Joint custody can mean a number of different arrangements, where the children live part of the time with one parent and part of the time with the other parent.
Marriage A formal agreement that legally recognizes two people in a relationship as a couple.
Mediation A process for solving disagreements between people, using a mediator to find a solution that meets everyone's needs without having to go before a judge.
Mediator A person who has been specially trained to act as a neutral third party in helping people solve their conflicts without having to go before a judge.
Legal Separation When a married couple splits up but does not want to end their marriage, they can go to court and ask a judge to state that they are legally separated. They still have to make decisions about their children and divide their property, but the marriage is not over. To learn more, go to Éducaloi’s website.
Sole Custody When only one parent takes care of the children most of the time.

Q & R

My parents never married. Do they have to go through the same process that married parents do when they split up?

Common-law parents — parents who chose to live together without getting married — don't get a divorce because there is no marriage to end. But they do need to decide what will happen to their children and how they’ll divide their property.

Who decides who I will live with? Do I get a say?

Ideally, your parents will make the decisions together about who you’ll live with and how that will work.

If they can't decide themselves, they might go to a mediator for help in reaching an agreement. Or they might have to go to court and have a judge make the decisions for them.

Whether your parents make the decisions about custody and visiting rights themselves, or with the help of a mediator or a judge, your opinion should be taken into account.

What is the difference between legal separation and divorce?

When two people who are married decide to split up, they need to get a divorce to legally end their marriage.

They can also decide to get a legal separation and divide up their property. They have to go to court for this, but this does not end the marriage. Divorce is the only way to end a marriage. To learn more about “legal separation” visit Éducaloi’s website.