The Divorce Act Changes Explained

Miscellaneous

Means of presenting submissions
(Section 23.1, Divorce Act)

New section

The Act is amended by adding the following after section 23:

Means of presenting submissions

23.1 If the parties to a proceeding are habitually resident in different provinces, a court of competent jurisdiction may, in accordance with any applicable rules regulating the practice and procedure in that court, make an order on the basis of the evidence and the submissions of the parties, whether presented orally before the court or by affidavit or any means of telecommunication permitted by the rules regulating the practice and procedure in that court.
Old section

Variation order by affidavit, etc.

17.1 Where both former spouses are ordinarily resident in different provinces, a court of competent jurisdiction may, in accordance with any applicable rules of the court, make a variation order pursuant to subsection 17(1) on the basis of the submissions of the former spouses, whether presented orally before the court or by means of affidavits or any means of telecommunication, if both former spouses consent thereto.

What is the change

This provision is an amendment to the former s 17.1. Parties habitually residing in different provinces can now obtain or vary an order on the basis of the evidence and submissions presented before the court in various ways. In addition, the amendment replaces “ordinarily resident” with “habitually resident,” and removes the requirement that spouses consent to the manner in which the case can be heard.

Reason for the change

The amendments increase the efficiency of the system and improve access to justice by providing greater flexibility to the courts and to parties for inter-jurisdictional cases. In such cases, a court can hear requests for an order (divorce, parenting, support) or a variation order on the basis of the parties’ submissions by affidavit or through technology.

When

March 1, 2021.