In an online CBC article posted today, senior writer Brandie Weikle discussed the Liberals' Bill C-78 and the reactions of divorced parents and family lawyers to this proposed update to Canada's divorce laws. The proposed changes, which would bring the federal Divorce Act in line with provincial legislation, include replacing terms such as "custody" and "access" with words like "parenting orders" and "parenting time" and compelling family lawyers and paralegals to encourage clients to use services such as mediation rather than the courts to resolve their disputes.
There is no question that it is time to modernize the Divorce Act and make its language consistent with that found in our provincial legislation. Ultimately, however, while the proposed legislative changes are important and necessary, it is spouses and their family lawyers who decide what path their separation will take - whether through the courts or outside of them.
After practicing for nearly 10 years, I echo the provisions in Bill C-78 that suggest it is best for families to resolve their issues outside of court, leaving litigation as a last resort -particularly when children are involved. Spouses must keep in mind that despite being separated, they remain parents to their children and in most cases must continue to make decisions together. A court action can often be divisive and cause lasting strife and hurt feelings. By comparison, an out-of-court process like collaborative law focuses on finding an enduring, workable solution to issues that flow from a relationship breakdown.
To learn more about your options for resolving your family law issues outside the court system, contact us.