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Federal family laws have recently been updated for the first time in over 20 years. The Divorce Act has been changed in an effort to make the system more efficient, prioritize the best interests of the child, address family violence and reduce child poverty. The new laws may alter your divorce process by affecting things such as your parenting arrangements and specific parental duties. Find out how the new Divorce Act may affect your situation and how it strives for the wellbeing of your family with this brief overview.


Prioritizing The Needs Of The Child

The amendments list specific factors that a court must consider when determining the best interests of a child in their specific situation.
These include:

  • the wellbeing and safety of their physical, emotional and psychological health
  • their relationships with those important in their life (such as parents, grandparents and other important figures)
  • upbringing and their specific cultural heritage, and
  • preferences and their views on the given situation

In an effort to recognize the fact that every family situation differs, and each child has different needs and preferences, courts are now required to consider the child’s best interest before ordering parenting time to each parent. The new laws also attempt to strengthen the possibility of strong co-parenting relationships forming. 

New Divorce Act Changes Family Law Canadian Canada Process Co-Parenting

Changes In Terminology

Wording to describe parental duties and arrangements have also changed making the law more child-focused. When discussing orders for custody and access the new act now uses “parenting orders” to emphasize the need for specific parenting tasks. “Decision-making responsibilities” and “parenting time” are also being used to promote neutral wording in an effort to rid “winner” and “loser” ideology when discussing a child’s needs.

Addressing Family Violence

The new changes to the Divorce Act now address family violence making it mandatory for courts to take it’s seriousness into account. New factors have been added to the act that help courts assess parental situations and further determine the best interests of the child.

Reducing Poverty

In an effort to reduce child poverty that often comes with the hardships of divorce, the new Divorce Act includes measures to strongly enforce child support. These new measures are aimed at making the family justice system more accessible and efficient. The efforts attempt to make the process easier for families financially, in some cases reducing the need to go to court altogether, as affording a lawyer can be a difficult process. 

Accessibility, efficiency and affordability in the family justice system are just some of the ways that the new Divorce Act has been updated to serve families going through divorce across Canada. The prioritization of the needs and preferences of children has shaped the act positively creating more positive outcomes and strengthening families coming out of the process.


At Hussain Law we focus on helping our clients navigate the emotional and financial challenges of separation and divorce. Our office remains fully operational, and we have implemented various new procedures that allow us to continue to advise clients seamlessly during this time. If you have a family law issue that you need assistance with, please contact Ayesha Hussain at 647-428-3919.

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