The Divorce Act Changes Explained

Duties – Parties to a proceeding

Family dispute resolution process
(Section 7.3, Divorce Act)

New section

Family dispute resolution process

7.3 To the extent that it is appropriate to do so, the parties to a proceeding shall try to resolve the matters that may be the subject of an order under this Act through a family dispute resolution process.
Old section


What is the change

Parties to a proceeding under the Act must try to settle conflicts through a family dispute resolution process other than court proceedings.

Reason for the change

It is generally faster and less expensive to resolve issues through negotiation or other dispute resolution processes than through court proceedings. In cases involving children, there are particular advantages to developing agreements through family dispute resolution processes. For example, children often benefit from seeing their parents work together. And dispute resolution processes, such as mediation, usually aim to keep parents focused on the best interests of their children. These processes also tend to improve the communication skills divorcing spouses will need for years to come to resolve issues related to their children.

Dispute resolution processes are not always appropriate, however. For example, when there has been family violence or there is a significant power imbalance between the parties, court proceedings may be a better option. As a result, parties must only participate in a dispute resolution process “to the extent that it is appropriate to do so.”


March 1, 2021.