Canada’s Updated Divorce Act focuses on the Best Interest of Children

Recently Canada updated its Divorce Act to focus more on issues of parenting and child and spousal support. Instead of an interpretation which gives “parent’s rights to their children”, the new legislation puts the focus on “the roles and responsibilities of the parents to their children”. 

Under this act, the primary consideration is the child’s well-being. It includes their physical, emotional, and psychological safety, security, and stability.  Additionally, each spouse must agree to a relationship with the other spouse that supports all the above. The Act moves the divorce process away from an adversarial process and puts more focus on the serious effect of family violence.

A Change in Interpretation

The new law changes the interpretation of parental responsibilities from one that emphasizes the parent’s rights to their children, to one that focuses on the roles and responsibilities of the parents to “provide what is best for their children”.  Parents are expected to protect the child from conflict and obligated to provide complete, accurate and up to date information from one spouse to another (including all financial disclosure).

A particular concentration of this Act is the protection of the children from family violence. The court must consider the nature, seriousness and frequency of any family violence and determine the extent of risk to the child with from one parent or another.

Spouses are required to attempt to use a family dispute resolution process.  Out of court settlement options may include mediation and negotiation. The spouse starting the divorce process must file a document with the court that they are aware of their duties.

Canada's Update to its Divorce Act

How do courts in the U.S Handle this Issue?

In the U.S., our courts have similar concerns about children’s rights in divorce. There have been many battles between parents based on “parent’s rights to their children” and not necessarily what is “best for their children”. These battles have led to  contentious divorce proceedings.

Our courts acknowledge, support, and promote, that agreement between parents on custodial rights and responsibilities is foremost, and will aid parents who need help.  Our courts take a hardline with domestic violence involving child abuse as well. Judges deciding custody are guided by the principal to do what is in the best interest of the children. 

They try to give parents every opportunity to work custody issues out on their own. State divorce laws may mandate that parents attend court-sponsored classes to learn about the impact of divorce on children, and if parents can’t agree, the court may order child custody mediation sessions.  If needed, courts may appoint an attorney or guardian to represent the child’s best interest in court proceedings.

Need information and assistance in child-custody issues? A Fair Way Mediation Center understands and cares about these issues and can help. Mediation is a thoughtful process that will lead your through the decisions needed to determine the best solution for your family.

For over 25 years with have helped families and couples resolve the issues and achieve happy endings. Along with other family and civil cases, we mediate issues in traditional marriages, same sex marriages, domestic partnerships and alternative relationships throughout Palm Springs, Riverside County and San Diego.

Mediation is a valuable tool in our current pandemic situation. All that A Fair Way Mediation offers is available without leaving your home. Stay safe and achieve successful sessions with Zoom, Skype, and video chat, or let us know if you prefer an office visit. Complete our online request for a free online evaluation. Receive a free 30-minute consultation at www.afairway.com or call 760-227-5090/619-702-9174. Offices in Coachella Valley and San Diego, California.

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Helping families world wide for over 15 years settle property, divorce, dissolution, support and custody issues quickly and quietly through mediation.

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