MacLean Law’s New Changes To Canada’s Divorce Act Lawyers note that Bill C-78 to update the Divorce Act, 1985 was tabled a year ago and received Royal assent on June 21 2019. Here’s the link to the bill and a past article from the Globe. This is the first time the 1985 Divorce Act will be substantially revised since the dawn of the internet – many of the proposed changes mirror BC’s FLA.
Vancouver New Changes To Canada’s Divorce Act Lawyers founder Lorne N. MacLean, QC explains the big focus is now solely on the best interests of the child and does away with dated terminology that currently connotes winners and losers. The new changes focus squarely on a child’s best interests and put an end once and all to misguided “parental rights” type arguments. MacLean Law’s award-winning divorce and family law lawyers operate across BC and in Calgary from 6 conveniently located offices in Vancouver, Surrey, Kelowna, Calgary, Fort St John, and Richmond BC.
Although Bill 78 Received Royal assent on June 21, 2019, the changes will not take effect until 1-2 years from today. The official government press release states:
The legislation has four key objectives:
- promote the best interests of the child
- address family violence
- help reduce child poverty, and
- make Canada’s family justice system more accessible and efficient.
A variety of measures in the legislation will streamline processes and reduce the need for court intervention to resolve family law issues, making the system more accessible and affordable for all. This is especially true for provinces that have established, or are moving towards, Unified Family Courts.
It is important to note that many of the changes do not take effect immediately upon Royal Assent. As time is needed for the public, family justice professionals, and various levels of government to adjust to the changes within the family justice system, the majority of the amendments to the Divorce Act will only come into force approximately one year from now. Other amendments to FOAEAA and GAPDA will come into force either on Royal Assent or over the next two years.
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Here’s the summary of proposed changes which have been discussed in the Globe and Mail and on GlobalTV:
Bill 78 amends the Divorce Act to, among other things,
- replace terminology related to custody and access with terminology related to parenting;
- establish a non-exhaustive list of criteria with respect to the best interests of the child;
- create duties for parties and legal advisers to encourage the use of family dispute resolution processes;
- introduce measures to assist the courts in addressing family violence;
- establish a framework for the relocation of a child; and
- simplify certain processes, including those related to family support obligations.
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The enactment also amends the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act to, among other things,
- allow the release of information to help obtain and vary a support provision;
- expand the release of information to other provincial family justice government entities;
- permit the garnishment of federal moneys to recover certain expenses related to family law; and
- extend the binding period of a garnishee summons.
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The enactment also amends those two Acts to implement
- the Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children, concluded at The Hague on October 19,1996; and
- the Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance, concluded at The Hague on November 23, 2007.
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The enactment also amends the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act to, among other things,
- give priority to family support obligations; and
- simplify the processes under the Act.
- Finally, this enactment also includes transitional provisions and makes consequential amendments to the Criminal Code.