Toronto child parenting and contact changes will be made soon under Moving Ontario Family Law Forward Act. The Children’s Law Reform Act will be affected by amending archaic wording used concerning custody of and access to children. Custody, which may be sought by a parent or a non-parent, is changed to decision-making responsibility and may be granted by a court under a parenting order. Access to a child by a parent will be changed to parenting time, and may also be granted under a parenting order. Access to a child by a non-parent will be changed to contact concerning a child and can be granted by a court under a contact order.
Lorne MacLean, QC founder of MacLean Law and winning counsel in Canada’s most famous child parenting case of Young v. Young which reinforced the concept of “maximum contact” notes the changes bring the terminology in Ontario in line with BC and what the New Divorce Act changes will bring to ex-spouses who were married. He welcomes the new Toronto Child Parenting and Contact Changes. The wishes of the children and family violence are key factors moving forward. Notably, the prime directive is the best interests of the children and not parental rights. Toronto family lawyers and their clients need to focus on collating evidence under each factor set out below if they want to achieve success under the soon to be passed Toronto Child Parenting and Contact Changes.
Toronto Child Parenting and Contact Changes 416 900 3428
The new Toronto Child Parenting and Contact Changes establish clear guidelines for what Judges, Toronto family lawyers, and Toronto family law litigants must consider.
Best interests of the child
24 (1) In making a parenting order or contact order with respect to a child, the court shall only take into account the best interests of the child in accordance with this section.
(2) In determining the best interests of a child, the court shall consider all factors related to the circumstances of the child, and, in doing so, shall give primary consideration to the child’s physical, emotional and psychological safety, security and well-being.
(3) Factors related to the circumstances of a child include,
(a) the child’s needs, given the child’s age and stage of development, such as the child’s need for stability;
(b) the nature and strength of the child’s relationship with each parent, each of the child’s siblings and grandparents and any other person who plays an important role in the child’s life;
(c) each parent’s willingness to support the development and maintenance of the child’s relationship with the other parent;
(d) the history of care of the child;
(e) the child’s views and preferences, giving due weight to the child’s age and maturity, unless they cannot be ascertained;
(f) the child’s cultural, linguistic, religious and spiritual upbringing and heritage, including Indigenous upbringing and heritage;
(g) any plans for the child’s care;
(h) the ability and willingness of each person in respect of whom the order would apply to care for and meet the needs of the child;
(i) the ability and willingness of each person in respect of whom the order would apply to communicate and co-operate, in particular with one another, on matters affecting the child;
(j) any family violence and its impact on, among other things,
(i) the ability and willingness of any person who engaged in the family violence to care for and meet the needs of the child, and
(ii) the appropriateness of making an order that would require persons in respect of whom the order would apply to co-operate on issues affecting the child; and
(k) any civil or criminal proceeding, order, condition or measure that is relevant to the safety, security and well-being of the child.
Factors relating to family violence
(4) In considering the impact of any family violence under clause (3) (j), the court shall take into account,
(a) the nature, seriousness and frequency of the family violence and when it occurred;
(b) whether there is a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour in relation to a family member;
(c) whether the family violence is directed toward the child or whether the child is directly or indirectly exposed to the family violence;
(d) the physical, emotional and psychological harm or risk of harm to the child;
(e) any compromise to the safety of the child or other family member;
(f) whether the family violence causes the child or other family member to fear for their own safety or for that of another person;
(g) any steps taken by the person engaging in the family violence to prevent further family violence from occurring and improve the person’s ability to care for and meet the needs of the child; and
(h) any other relevant factor.
(5) In determining what is in the best interests of the child, the court shall not take into consideration the past conduct of any person, unless the conduct is relevant to the exercise of the person’s decision-making responsibility, parenting time or contact with respect to the child.
Allocation of parenting time
(6) In allocating parenting time, the court shall give effect to the principle that a child should have as much time with each parent as is consistent with the best interests of the child.
Application to related orders
(7) This section applies with respect to interim parenting orders and contact orders, and to variations of parenting orders and contact orders or interim parenting orders and contact orders.
If you have questions on Toronto Child Parenting and Contact Changes, reach out to our experienced Toronto family lawyers.