The Divorce Act Changes Explained

Best interests of the child

Compromise to safety
(Section 16(4)(e), Divorce Act)

New section

(e) any compromise to the safety of the child or other family member;

Old section

None.

What is the change

The court must consider potential risks to the safety of the child and of other family members.

Reason for the change

Risks to the safety of the child increase with the likelihood of future family violence. The court must consider whether the child or another family member is likely to be a direct victim of family violence, and whether the child is likely to be exposed to family violence. This consideration is separate from the court’s assessment of someone’s fear for their own safety, as found in s 16(4)(f). In some cases, a person may face significant risks but not fear for their safety.

When

July 1, 2020.

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