In May 2018 the Canadian government introduced a Bill which will change the Divorce Act for the first time in over 20 years. The proposed changes focus on four key things:
- Promoting the best interests of the child;
- Addressing family violence;
- Reducing child poverty; and
- Making Canada’s family justice system more accessible and efficient.
Many of the changes are simply putting into law what Canadian Courts have already been doing. The Federal change means that in addition to the main factor of a child’s wellbeing, a Court must now consider factors including the nature of all important relationships in a child’s life, the child’s heritage, their own views and preferences, and any history of family violence when making decisions about a child.
“Parenting Orders” will replace the existing language of “Custody and Access Orders,” to make the language more neutral. It is still recognized that there is no one-size-fits-all arrangement in family cases, but Courts will be required to order the maximum amount of parenting time with both parents so long as it is in the best interests of the child.
Another important change addresses moving with your child after separation. The new changes list factors the Court must consider when parents disagree on a proposed move. These guidelines will provide more certainty on what a Court may decide in these cases.
The Bill also gives the Courts more tools to establish and enforce child support, and to try to lessen costs, it will shift some responsibility away from the Courts for child support decisions and onto administrative family law supports.
For more information on the changes to the Divorce Act and how it may affect you, please call 902-469-9500 to schedule your consultation with a member of our Family Law team.