Divorce Act

What does it do?

Divorce Act changes are being brought by Bill C-78 "An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act."

 

The new divorce amendment act make changes to certain aspects of the divorce process, bringing it more in line with what’s already present in many provincial statutes.   It makes major changes to the divorce act for the first time since the child support guidelines were introduced in 1997. Some changes include alterations to parenting after separation, including parenting orders and contact orders, moves, including a test around the circumstances of a move and the introduction of new language for discussing certain aspects of divorce.

 

“The other parts of the Divorce Act, the parts about divorce, foreign divorce orders, and making and changing orders about child support and spousal support when spouses live in the same province or territory, haven't changed at all.” – JP Boyd, on what hasn’t changed

Are there new rules?

There are new Provincial Court Family Rules in BC Reg 120/2020.  These rules come into force on May 17, 2021.

 

Once these rules come into force you can track changes made to them on Courthouse Libraries BC’s court rules amendments tracking page.

Is it in force?

Subsections 105(1), 106(2), 111(2) to (4) and 115(3) and (5) came into force Dec 4, 2020 by PC 2020-983

 

Subsections 1(1) to (4), (6) and (7), sections 2 to 6 and 8 to 15, subsection 16(2), sections 17 to 19, 21, 22 and 23 to 25, subsection 28(3) and sections of 32 to 35 come into force March 1, 2021 by PC 2019-1143, as amended by BC 2020-407

 

Subsections 73(2) to (6), section 74 and subsection 76(3) come into force Nov 12, 2021 by PC 2020-983

 

Further proclamations can be tracked on CLBC’s Canada Proclamations page.

Are there are regulations?

There is one new regulation - SOR/2020-250 Provincial Child Support Service Regulations.  This regulation comes into force March 1, 2021.

 

Other regulations under the Divorce Act remain in force.  They are listed at the bottom of the act’s table of contents.

What is the legislative history?

All readings can be viewed on LegisInfo.

How does the transition work?

Some Supreme Court forms have changed - F3 - Notice of Family Claim, F4 - Response to Family Claim & F5 - Counterclaim.  A summary of updates is available on the BC Government website.

 

The Provincial Court Family Rules have transitional provisions for the new rules coming May 17th (BC Reg 236/2020)

How can I cite it?

An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act act is cited as

SC 2019, c. 16

 

The Divorce Act citation remains the same since it being amended not revised:  R.S.C., 1985, c. 3 (2nd Supp.)

Where can I read more background?

JP Boyd on Family Law has a summary of the changes and JP Boyd has written an overview of Bill C-78.

 

Major speeches made during the second reading of the bill.

 

Press Releases and Legislative Background Documents.

 

The legislative summary of Bill C-78.

Other resources

 

Final Report of the Family Justice Working Group, April 2013.

 

CBA Family Law Section letter on amending the Divorce Act, Dec 22, 2017.