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Updates have been made to the Federal family laws for the first time in over 20 years. Changes to the Divorce Act in an effort to make the system more efficient, prioritize the best interests of the child, 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 could 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 and child differs, courts now require consideration of 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

The wording to describe parental duties and arrangements has also undergone changes to make 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. Terms such as “decision-making responsibilities” and “parenting time” are also being used to promote neutral wording in an effort to rid “winner” and “loser” ideologies.

Addressing Family Violence

The new changes to the Divorce Act now address family violence making it mandatory for courts to take its seriousness into account. New factors to the Divorce Act 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 attempt to make the family justice system more accessible and efficient. The efforts aim 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 updates to the Divorce Act can better serve families going through a divorce in Canada. The prioritization of the needs and preferences of children creates more positive outcomes and strengthens 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 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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