The Divorce Act Changes Explained

Best interests of the child

Past conduct
(Section 16(5), Divorce Act)

New section

Past conduct

(5) In determining what is in the best interests of the child, the court shall not take into consideration the past conduct of any person unless the conduct is relevant to the exercise of their parenting time, decision-making responsibility or contact with the child under a contact order.
Old section

Past conduct

(9) In making an order under this section, the court shall not take into consideration the past conduct of any person unless the conduct is relevant to the ability of that person to act as a parent of a child.

What is the change

The court must not consider the past conduct of any person unless it is relevant to parenting or to having contact with the child.

Reason for the change

Courts should only consider past conduct that is relevant to the best interests of the child when deciding on a parenting or contact order. While a similar “past conduct” provision existed under the previous version of the Act, this provision reflects new language for parenting and contact.

When

March 1, 2021.