In Canadian family law, the best interest of the child is foundational. The Supreme Court of Canada looks for those arrangements that promote the children’s well-being. The Divorce Act was created to include a variety of measures to ensure children of a split family do not lose out on their right to the best possible arrangements, given the situation.
Amendments to Canada's Divorce Act in 2019
Several changes to the family law are included in the 2019 amendments to the Divorce Act. They include the requirement for courts to identify existing orders, the expansion of the definition of family violence, and meeting the best interests of the child.
Promoting the Child's Best Interest
When it comes to determining the best interests of the child, the Divorce Act sets out a non-exhaustive list of criteria. Here are some of them:
1.) The child’s needs. This is based on their age and stage of development.
2.) The existing nature and strength of a child’s relationship with their parents, siblings, and grandparents.
3.) The willingness of each spouse to support the continued development and maintenance of the child’s connection to the other spouse.
New Approach to Parenting
The amendments are established to bring about a new approach to parenting. In an emotionally charged situation, previous terms like “custody” gave the appearance of winners and losers. Changes to the law remove different terms like custody, changing it to “parenting orders.” The goal is to encourage a switch in focus from battling each other to centering on the needs of the child.
Preventing Family Violence and Poverty
Unfortunately, Canadians from different walks of life across the country suffer from the effects of family violence and poverty. The amendments differentiate between assault or sexual assault (i.e. criminal abuse) and other forms like psychological abuse. All abuse has a profound effect on children. Additionally, children need the financial support of both parents. The amendment allows the federal government to release income information to reflect each parent’s real capacity to pay their financial obligations.
Contact the team of experienced family law lawyers at Simard & Associates for assistance with your separation or divorce, custody, access, child and spousal support. We’ve been serving the Clarence-Rockland and Ottawa regions since 1994.