Changes to the province’s Parenting and Support Act introduced today, April 7, will provide more clarity and alignment with recent amendments to the federal Divorce Act.
The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over marriage and divorce, while provinces have jurisdiction over spousal and child support, property division, custody and access, and child protection. Each are administered by separate pieces of legislation.
“By addressing potential inconsistencies that families may face when dealing with legal matters, we are supporting our goal of improving access to justice,” said Attorney General and Minister of Justice Randy Delorey. “These changes will provide consistency to families regardless of their parental relationship and support the best interests of their children.”
The proposed changes will:
- update language in the act to support positive parenting arrangements by replacing the word custody, with terms such as parenting time and decision-making responsibility
- make it clear that day-to-day decision-making responsibility rests with the person who is exercising parenting time, unless a court otherwise orders
- describe the duties of parents who have a matter before courts, including the duty to protect their children from the harmful effects of conflict
- help make sure courts have the information they need to make decisions about parenting arrangements and require them to consider any civil or criminal proceeding, order, condition or measure that is relevant to the safety of the child. This will help courts deal with family violence issues more clearly, and better protect the child
- clarify the legal process when a parent wants to move with the child, ensuring the best interests of the child are the main consideration
- the amended Parenting and Support Act will come into effect upon proclamation
- recent amendments to the federal Divorce Act took effect on March 1