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    June 29, 2018
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The Proposed Changes to Canada's Divorce Laws: meaningless, costly and unfair Family Matters by John Syrtash John Syrtash 8. A. Hon LLB have had 37 years of experi he may not receive the Court order he seeks Although mediators are ence almost exdusively in C povided by the Courts for free they may not always be appropriate or nadian family law. Despite the available So the people involved will now be retaining costly mediaos orpay their lawyers to pove that they have atbemped to negotiate a solution before being able ro apply for a court order. In my experience, that the Meda's praiseworthya diect approach to a Judge is ofeen necessary in situations where ne- thetoric and headlines, a careful reading of Bil C-78 suggess LLP Family Lawyer & Mediator for 37 years commens are alarming. In fact, gotation or mediation is useless, such as to obtain an Order to preserve some of the Bil's provisions are assets or to stop a parent from relocating when that parent failed to ether meaningless or could actualy increase the cost of resolving high provide adequate notice conflict disputes by inroducing expensive and unnecessary new hurdes to final resolution. Another section increases the time a parent must provide to the other parent when planning to relocate with a child from at least 30 to 60 The basic problem in Family Law is no so much law, but the inability of day, unless the Court provides otherwise So if a parent suddenly finds certain spouses to listen to each other and accept the need to change ajobesewhere and must move more quickg then the burcfen and cost when partnering.Why lean to get along when the me generaton has ofdoing so dramatically shidts to such an indiual to apply for a Court created a spiraling divorce rate. Ifit ain't good" spouses often just Order to permit the move don't bother anymore as much. Better to simply ges off the tsain and look for a different brand of shampoo, cel phone or person.Then kids property rights and support get in the way, the lawyers are hired ofien impose a paren's will sather than compromise. Howeves the proposed changes ofeen make make this process either more costly or reform legal language without helping t0 reduce the cost Under section 6.13) f no parenting order has been made in respect of a child, no application for a contact order may be brought under the new Divorce Act. This proposed provisiors efflectively prevents anyone who is not a parent, which indudes any grandparent, from applying for an Or der for contact with a child, unless one of the parents commenced a law suit for paventing hime, Of course such a gandparent or other person By example, the proposal to elminate custody and access orders i based on the premise that words mattes. The perception& that dients may stil bring an Application for visitslcontact under Provincial family ents ights n sudh a dastic fashion under our fedeial family laws? la Butwhy does the govemment find it necessary to limit grandpar often fight for custody" or "shared cusody" because these words are loaded with perceived power and rights The thinking behind these new provisions is that such words lead to meaningless fights that often clog the court system and have parties spend unnecessary funds over these wonds However in contested disputes, eliminating Orders for "oustody and "access' and replacing them with Orders for parenting time" and dedision-making responsibility will make no difflerence.Doing so will not in any wily lower the cost of disputes over scheduling issues or over who makes decisions for a child's health, education, religion and other major issues. it will not change the cost of disputes over the amount of time each parent spends with the child. No panent who insists upon nal say over any of these issues will ultimately care over the new Another proposed provision under 16.9201) means that if your spouse decides to relocate with a child permanently to a different town or city, and the visiting parent isnt oument with his child support, a Court can now deny a child's rights to visit and the visiting parent the ability to object to the move. In short, a child can lose contact with his/her parent when the other primary parent decides to move away, if there is unpaid child support.We all understand that not paying child support will often severely impact a child's welfare. But in many cases this provision can be used as a weapon to deprive a child who has a strong bond to a payer who is behind in his support payments language proposed, so long he or she obtains sole or shared decision If you believe l am exaggerating the problematic impact of these new making powers and control over scheduling iäsues. One of the seasons provins then one only hus to review the term Famiy Volence that the new lws won't reduce confict is that the law of child supportthe new legislation t will now include "financial abuse. If a parent is hasn't charged. Unless a parent has 40% or more of the chid's time, behind nchid or spousal pportprym ents the Court can now exclude the parent who is the primary caregiver will receive the same amount of him/her from having any contact with the child because Family Violence child support. So many payers will continue to lisigate for more time andnow includes the failure be "up to date with either form of support for this very reason, not because the words for custody and access have Enforcing such payments is a noble goal But perverting the term changed. Noching in the providions changes this reality. violence to include unpaid child or spousal support is Doublespeak is nothing more than trying to change the English language for political correctness In many instances such Orders limiting access for financial reasons may not be fair to the child or in the child's best interests particularly when there is only à failure to honour spousal support obl gations complesely The term "Family Violence" could now also include coercive behaviour" on the part of the one of the caregivers, even id it' against someone dating the other caregiver So i the primary caregiver's boyfriend is the subject of "coecion", whatever that means, then the child may not be able to see his father or mother anymore, no matter In addition some of the proposed prowisions ether further lengthen certain proceedings or malke them much more costly For instance, section 7.3 now dixects anyone applying for parenting time with a child in a law suit to mediane, negotiase or use "colaborative aw bechniques to resolve a dispute A court has always been able to order parties to mediate. However, as this provision is a new lega An abused person may now possibly be hindered from obtaining protection from the Court unless she also "negotiates or mediates with her abuser. Making buser Making wsng the bond family dispute resolution process" legally mandatioey could also hinder Before passing these changes into law we all need to reflect mach more carefully on what is being proposed and ignone the Meda's curent someone from bringing an emengency court application with or without notice If the Applicant didn't ako attempt to negobate or mediate enthusasm Mr. Sytash is Senior Family Law Associate to Garfin Zeidenberg LLP celebrating 37 years as a Family Law lawyer this year Suite 800, 5255 Yonge St (at Norton) just north of Mel Lastman Sq. Civic Centre Subway station, Toronto, ON M5G 1E6 John Syrtash can be reached at (416) 642-5410, Cell (416) 886-0359 Visit www.freemychild.com; www.spousalsupport.com; www.garfinzeidenberg.com Neither Garfin Zeidenberg LLP nor John Syrtash is liable for any consequences arising from anyones reliance on this material, which is presented as general information and not as a legal opinion Sponsored by the Community for Jewish Cuiture of B'Nai Brith Canada