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A quick look at recently implemented changes to Canada's Divorce Act

VICTORIA — Changes to the federal Divorce Act went into effect on March 1. Here is a look at some of the changes:

— The amendments outline specific factors to be considered when a court decides what would be in a child’s best interests, including relationships with parents and grandparents, a child’s linguistic, cultural and spiritual heritage, and a child’s views and preferences.

— Courts are required to order parenting time based on a child’s best interests. 

— The law includes a focus on the actual tasks of parenting, which means a parenting order also explains each parent’s “decision-making responsibilities” on important determinations to be made on behalf of a child.

— The act now includes measures for dealing with family violence and requires the courts to take that into account.

— A list of factors has been added to the act to help judges assess the seriousness of the violence when deciding what parenting arrangements would be in the child’s best interests.

— The amended Divorce Act helps establish and enforce child support, including by allowing the federal government to release tax information to help determine accurate child support amounts. 

SOURCE: Federal Justice Department website.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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