Trying to keep up with teenage slang reminded me how confusing jargon can be. In family law, the terms usually are an abbreviation, a case name, a true technical word, or a legal term. Words are crucial in legal interpretation, but “legalese” can create confusion. So, here are a few commonly used Alberta family law terms:
Adjourn: Postpone, or move to another date. This is for court dates.
Affidavit of Execution: A statement made by the witness (under oath before a commissioner of oaths or notary) to confirm the witness saw the main person sign a document. This is to reduce fraud. Person A signs this document under oath to confirm that he or she saw Person B sign the main document. Person A is confirming that the signature of Person B is authentic, and the identity of Person B.
Disclose: To provide the information. Mr. X needs to disclose his 2019 tax return.
Disclosure: Information! Usually means financial information, but can be broader. There is a list of standard financial information that is required in almost all family law cases. This list is contained within the Notice to Disclose.
Execution (of an Agreement): Signing with the proper formalities. To “execute” the agreement means to sign it.
FL-17: This is an asset, debt and income statement, sworn under oath. FL-17 is the Alberta court form number for a net worth/ income statement.
Foreign immovable: Okay, this one isn’t used much. Generally, it means a house or land outside of Alberta.
Interim: Temporary. For example, an ‘interim” court order is until the next order is granted, or otherwise resolved.
Moge, DBS, Miglin, Gordon v Goetz etc. These are all names of prior court cases. These cases have come to stand for various legal principles.
Notice to Disclose: This is the Alberta court form to request standard family law disclosure from the other person. The list of documents in this Notice are the commonly requested and provided documents.
S7: Section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines. This is the section that deals with expenses like daycare, health care, sports etc. Sometimes also called “special or extra ordinary expenses”.
Sine die: Means “without a specific date”. Often a court date is postponed “sine die” meaning that another date is not actually booked.
Without Prejudice: Not to be used “against” you. That is, not to be used to “prejudice” your case in the future. Defined by Lexico as “without detriment to an existing claim”. In settlement offers, this means the offer is made to settle the issue, but is not to be provided to court or used as evidence. A “without prejudice” court order usually means that either party can argue for something different at a later date. For example, a “without prejudice” child support order of $500 a month could mean that when the disclosure is up to date, that $500 could increase or decrease.
Idk: “I don’t know”. A texting abbreviation.
So, if you catch a lawyer asking, “Did you disclose your foreign immovable in the executed FL-17?”, call them out on the jargon and reply, “Oh, you mean, yes, I did list my cabin in Fernie on my signed asset list.”
– Written by Ceri Chwieros