Part III: Fogelman Law’s Highlights of Recent Divorce Act Changes, Effective March 1, 2021

Think of the Children

When making a parenting order or a contact order, the court must only take into account the “best interest of the child.” But what does this mean?

First and foremost, the child’s physical, emotional, and psychological safety, security, and well-being are given primary consideration. The court wants to ensure that the child is safe and cared for.

Other factors are listed under Section 16.3 of the Divorce Act, such as:

  • The child’s needs, based on their age or stage of development;
  • The strength of the relationship between the child and each spouse;
  • The child’s personal preferences;
  • The child’s cultural, linguistic, religious, and/or spiritual heritage;
  • History of care with the child; and
  • History of family violence, if any.

There are thousand of cases from all across Canada on the topic of “best interests” as that term was used and defined in previous iterations of the Divorce Act. It is unclear at this stage whether courts are going to adopt and continue using the test from these cases, expand upon the test, or create new templates based on the new language in the Act.

To see a more detailed list of the changes, you can visit the Department of Justice website. If you have questions regarding a family law matter, contact our office and book a consultation to speak with one of our lawyers.