The Divorce Act Changes Explained

Best interests of the child

Primary consideration
(Section 16(2), Divorce Act)

New section

Primary consideration

(2) When considering the factors referred to in subsection (3), the court shall give primary consideration to the child’s physical, emotional and psychological safety, security and well-being.
Old section


What is the change

In determining the best interests of the child, courts must prioritize the safety, security and well-being of the child above all other considerations.

Reason for the change

Specific best interests of the child criteria are now included in the Act. In some cases, there may be conflicts between two or more of these criteria. This provision helps to resolve these conflicts by requiring that courts prioritize the child’s safety, security and well-being. Family laws in Alberta and British Columbia include similar provisions.


March 1, 2021.