Zara’s Top Ten List of Highlights from the New Family Law Act

1. Inclusion of a definition and specific directives regarding family violence;
2. Specifically the new Act obligates those in the family law system to screen for family violence;
3. Common law spouses are now entitled to property rights equivalent to married spouses including being responsible for family debt;
4. The terms of custody and access have been replaced with the language of guardianship, parenting time, parental responsibilities and contact.
5. There are new timeframes for parents seeking to relocate with their child(ren). A guardian is required to give 60 days notice to the other guardian of the child about the potential relocation;
6. The inclusion of a Parentage section that addresses children conceived by way of assisted reproductive technology and specifically identifies who is a parent and who is not a parent re: donors, surrogates;
7. The Act contemplates that a child could have several persons identified as parents; no longer are children limited to having just two parents;
8. The Act promotes various alternative dispute mechanisms for parties so that going to court is seen as the last versus first option;
9. The Act now consolidates various civil restraining orders into one new Protection Order regime that will be enforced through the Criminal Code; and
10. The Act provides judges more tools to address the specific needs of each family law case. Judges can now make Conduct Orders requiring for example, parties to go to counseling or to obtain the assistance of a Parenting Coordinator.

Read more about the the Family Law Act.

Common Questions and Answers regarding the Family Law Act