Bill C-78 is coming. Canada’s Divorce Act, and parenting and garnishment laws, may soon be changing.
As of November 2018, Bill C-78 was still being debated by Parliament. Here’s what the changes, introduced by the federal government on May 22, 2018, could mean for your family.
Bill c 78 Family Law Promotes
- champion children’s best interests
- protect families from domestic violence
- reduce child poverty
- and make access to family justice easier.
Among changes, child custody would be called parenting orders. Child access would become parenting time. Making the language courts and lawyers use less adversarial emphasizes you and your former spouse have decision making responsibilities to your children if your relationship ends.
When family courts consider where children will live, they make the best interests of your child paramount. Even if you think shared custody would be best, the court can decide otherwise. Under Bill C-78, the judge would consider every factor that might affect your child’s interests.
For example, the judge could look at your child’s needs for their age and stage of development, including their views and preferences.
Changes to Divorce, Parenting, and Garnishment
A judge might consider how well your child gets along with you, your former and current spouse and their partners, grandparents, siblings, and other important people in their life. How well you and your former spouse cared for the child in the past and your plans for your child’s future, as well as your willingness and ability to care for your child, would count.
Your child’s cultural, linguistic, religious, and spiritual upbringing and heritage would matter. As would you and your former spouses’ ability to cooperate on issues affecting your children.
Domestic violence is a huge concern to family judges. The new law strives to help protect your child from psychological, emotional, or physical harm. Negotiation, mediation, or collaboration would be the preferred way of resolving differences. But the proposed law also gives courts more measures to stop the violence.
Other changes relate to moving your child to another province or country and ensuring child support payments are made.
It’s been almost 35 years since the last major updates to Canada’s Divorce Act. If adopted, divorced couples can look forward to welcoming revisions to protect their and their children’s interests.
Do I need a family lawyer?
It will depend on your situation. The best thing for you to do is to get a free consultation with a lawyer. You can then learn about the process and the costs.
Does legal aid help with custody cases?
Legal aid does cover family law cases if you are low income. Keep in mind that many clients on legal aid do not get the same attention as regular clients. Many legal aid lawyers have hundreds of clients at the same time!
Is family law provincial or federal?
It’s actually both. That is what makes it so confusing. Every province has their own provincial laws. But the Divorce Act also applies (and is federal.) You have to learn at least two Acts for family law.
What questions should I ask family lawyer?
It’s better to tell the lawyer about your case and answer the lawyers questions. Let the lawyer determine what is important in your case. They know what the courts will want to see.
At what age can a child decide where they want to live?
Each province has their own laws. There can be other complications as well if the child has a handicap. Common ages are 18 or 19 years old.
What are my legal rights in a divorce?
You have a lot. There is a provincial Act and a federal Act that determines your rights and obligations You should definately speak to a lawyer about this question.