The Divorce Act Changes Explained

Best interests of the child

Child's views and preferences
(Section 16(3)(e), Divorce Act)

New section

(e) the child’s views and preferences, giving due weight to the child’s age and maturity, unless they cannot be ascertained;

Old section

None.

What is the change

When making decisions about parenting, the court must consider children’s perspectives whenever appropriate.

Reason for the change

Under Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, children who are capable of forming their own views have the right to participate in a meaningful way in decisions that affect their lives, and parenting decisions made by judges and parents affect children directly. The weight to be given to children’s views will generally increase with their age and maturity. However, in some cases, it may not be appropriate to involve children, for example if they are too young to meaningfully participate. This amendment includes language similar to that of the Convention.

When

March 1, 2021.

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