Changes In Family Law: How Does It Impact You?

KPA Lawyers – August 23, 2021


The Canada Divorce Act changes took effect in March 2021. The changes came with significant adjustments in the divorce, parenting, and family obligations. The new changes are just receiving major updates since the last 20 years.

The legislation attempts to make family laws simpler, accessible, and more efficient. It will also make family law more responsive to the needs of Canadians and protects the rights of children in any family setup.

So, how will these changes in the family laws impact you? Here’s how.

Promote the Child’s Best Interest

The family law prioritizes the child’s interest in custody and access. It seeks to provide the best possible environment and care for the child in the case of a divorce. With this in mind, the child’s best interests include the basics such as emotional, psychological, and physical well-being.

But this also goes beyond the basics. The new law allows the maximum participation of children. The children should take part in decisions affecting them or fulfilling their obligations. The changes focus on recognizing that the traditional “father knows best” approach does not work anymore. You can’t assume what was right for the 1970s is right in today’s Canada.

They’ll consider the strength and nature of the relationship between the child and parents. They’ll consider factors such as age, maturity, background, and gender in deciding what is best for the children.

The court will order parenting time to the parents involved, strongly considering the child’s best interest. If the parents show a past history of domestic violence, they will order to protect children from any harm.

Moreover, in case there’s a change of residence, new legislation will require parents to inform each other. There are also guidelines that will determine whether the move will be in the child’s best interest.

 Address Family Violence

Family violence is a significant and complex problem in Canada. However, the previous law did not include any measures to deal with such. The new family law will protect children from exposure to family violence.

The court must consider whether there’s any history of violence or abuse between the partners when making decisions on custody, parenting time, and access. In some cases, the court may order that one parent not be present for the hearing. In some extreme cases, the court prohibits anyone involved in a domestic dispute from contacting their children.

Children’s access to family violence or witnessing the act can be traumatic. If not resolved, it can result in serious long-term damage. The new legislation will address child custody and support issues arising out of domestic violence. They’ll do this by:

  • Addressing parenting after separation when there has been abuse or violence.
  • Prohibit anyone involved in a domestic dispute from communicating with the children. If someone does not follow this rule, they will face penalties, including jail time.
  • Making orders to protect the child if violence isn’t linked to custody and support.
  • Taking into account how much of an issue family violence is for the parent when determining parenting time.

Reduce Child Poverty

Many spouses and children are at great risk of poverty exposure after divorce or separation. Children whose parents have separated are more likely to live in poverty than those who weren’t. Fortunately, the new law aims to reduce this.

The legislation will make changes to recognize the financial responsibility of both parents for their children following divorce or separation. It will also provide guidelines to evaluate the need and obligation of each spouse for support payments by the other spouse. The changes will also provide for more flexibility in determining how much each of the parents should pay.

The new law will ensure that a parent does not take advantage of an agreement or order. They’ll prevent them from asking for undue concessions, access, or other benefits that were not agreed upon. If this happens, the court can change the order to what was originally intended. This legislation ensures the parties spend less money on legal fees, and more money reaches the children.

Increase Accessibility and Efficiency of the Family Justice System

The new legislation understands how expensive and time-consuming it can be to go to court. It’s important to ensure the legal system is accessible and fast, especially when it comes to

children’s issues. The main goal of reducing all the expenditure is so that more money goes to caring for the child.

In some cases, separated parents may not agree on everything, which may bring them back to court again and again. The new legislation will allow parents to come up with a Parenting Plan. The plan outlines all the parenting and access details they can agree on.

The new law will allow changing a case to be heard in a different place if that is most convenient for the parties involved or the witnesses. Changes can be made to deal with emergency situations. For instance, where one parent has fled and removed their children from the jurisdiction of another court. It also allows the judge to make a decision without the other party being at the hearing.

The new legislation encourages communication between parents about their children. They can do this through technology such as Skype or email. It will also allow lawyers and court staff to provide the documents directly to parties involved in cases. This can make things much easier instead of using paper copies or sending them by mail.

Our Lawyers Can Help

While the new changes aim to make family law easier, accessible, and efficient, many people might still not understand them. That’s why KPA lawyers are here to help. We will help you navigate the family law in Canada in matters of separation, child custody, visitation, and support.

If you prefer working with a specific lawyer or want help from Riddhi Agarwal, we’ll make that possible. Our offices are open for both virtual and in-person services. You can also walk into our office in Mississauga and get more personalized help from experienced lawyers. Contact us today and let’s help you win that child custody case.


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