The Divorce Act Changes Explained

Best interests of the child

Civil or criminal proceedings
(Section 16(3)(k), Divorce Act)

New section

(k) any civil or criminal proceeding, order, condition, or measure that is relevant to the safety, security and well-being of the child.

Old section

None.

What is the change

The court must consider any criminal or civil proceedings, orders, recognizances, undertakings, measures or other instruments relevant to the safety or well-being of the child.

Reason for the change

To determine the best interests of the child, the court must consider all relevant information. Many types of orders related to civil and criminal proceedings may be relevant to the safety or well-being of the child. Examples include a conviction related to an assault against the child, and a current or past child protection order related to the child. Orders that do not directly concern the child may also be relevant to the best interests of the child. One example is a criminal conviction for an offence committed against a member of another family.

Considering this type of information will also promote consistency between various court orders that might have an impact on the child.

When

March 1, 2021.

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