A major overhaul of Canada's Divorce Act

By Yves Faguy May 23, 201823 May 2018

A major overhaul of Canada's Divorce Act

Justice Minister Jody Raybould-Wilson has introduced legislation that would represent a major overhaul of Canada's divorce laws.  The main thrust of the amendments is to place the best interest of the child at forefront of resolving disputes, and emphasize parenting responsibilities after separation in less adversarial terms than the existing legislation does (exit talk of “custody” and “access”). They also include measures to address family violence and push spouses to rely more on family-dispute resolution services instead of the courts. Also noteworthy are new guidelines for parents wishing to relocate with children.

The amendments appear at first blush to be broadly in line with a number of CBA recommendations made over the years, including a recent submission on a private member’s bill dealing with shared parenting and a letter calling for specific changes to the Divorce Act.

John-Paul Boyd, the Executive Director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, also remarked on Twitter that the proposed legislation bill owes much to provincial efforts already well under way (namely in Alberta and British Columbia) to modernize family law.

You can read the CBA’s statement on the proposed legislation here, and the Justice Minister’s Charter Statement, which looks at how the bill might might affect issues surrounding mobility rights, expanded search and disclosure powers, and enforcement of family support orders.

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