What the Proposed Changes to Canada's Divorce Act Mean For Kids

While no marriage or common-law partnership begins with an end in mind, divorce is sometimes an inevitable conclusion to a relationship. Whether parting ways is the result of a mutual agreement or is based in conflict, there are certain legal obligations that must be fulfilled.

A Long-Awaited Update

In May of this year, the Liberals tabled a bill that would, for the first time in decades, change the federal Divorce Act to reflect the evolution of Canadian families and their values. While some of the proposed changes will be old news to British Columbians, other adjustments make for a welcome shift in the way that divorces are handled across the country.

Prioritizing Parenting Time

When it comes to divorce in Canada, the proposed changes to the Act endeavour to provide more clarity and less contention. Especially when it comes to children, having information presented in a straightforward way can help save time and stress that could otherwise be directed and finding mutually beneficial solutions.

In British Columbia, the term 'parenting time' has been favoured over 'custody' for awhile and with the changes, the rest of the country may soon follow suit. The rationale behind changing the wording lies in the intention to focus on the child's voice as opposed to conflict between parents. Considerations regarding a child's culture, faith, and language will be taken into account, as will their wishes regarding their future. Considering that there are over two million children with divorced or separated parents in Canada, prioritizing their well-being is critical.

From War to Peace

Despite the media's frequent portrayal of divorce as a bitter, conflict-driven experience, the Divorce Act's proposed changes reflect a concentrated effort to shift this perspective. Through focusing on alternative forms of dispute resolution and keeping divorce out of court, parents may stand to receive the support that they need to go their separate ways while keeping the peace.

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