The Divorce Act Changes Explained


Exceptional circumstances
(Section 6.3(2), Divorce Act)

New section

Exceptional circumstances

(2) In determining whether there are exceptional circumstances, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including

(a) whether there is a sufficient connection between the child and the province;

(b) the urgency of the situation;

(c) the importance of avoiding a multiplicity of proceedings and inconsistent decisions; and

(d) the importance of discouraging child abduction.


What is the change

The amendment provides a non-exhaustive list of factors the court must consider when determining whether the circumstances of a case are exceptional enough for the court to take jurisdiction when the child is not habitually resident in the province.

Reason for the change

This amendment gives the court guidance to determine whether a situation is “exceptional” enough for it to take jurisdiction over an application. For example, this provision highlights considerations that include the need to avoid multiple proceedings, to discourage child abduction and to ensure a sufficient connection of the child to the province. The urgency of the situation is also important for a court to consider.


March 1, 2021.