The Divorce Act Changes Explained

Contact Orders

Contact order
(Section 16.5(1), Divorce Act)

New section

Contact Orders

Contact order

16.5 (1) A court of competent jurisdiction may, on application by a person other than a spouse, make an order providing for contact between that person and a child of the marriage.
Old section

Custody Orders

Order for custody

16 (1) A court of competent jurisdiction may, on application by either or both spouses or by any other person, make an order respecting the custody of or the access to, or the custody of and access to, any or all children of the marriage.

What is the change

A court can make an order for contact between a child and a person other than one of the divorcing spouses. Non-spouses can apply for a contact order.

Reason for the change

The Act uses the concepts of “parenting orders,” “parenting time” and “contact orders.” A non-spouse, such as a grandparent or someone else important to the child, can apply for a contact order.

When

March 1, 2021.