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Getting divorced? Battles over ‘custody’ could be a thing of the past with divorce reforms

Click to play video 'Liberals reveal plan to overhaul Canada’s Divorce Act' Liberals reveal plan to overhaul Canada’s Divorce Act
The Justice Minister is updating the Divorce Act with changes family law experts have been pushing for decades. Abigail Bimman takes a look at what's changing and how it will affect children.

The federal government has introduced new legislation that aims to help families settle disputes outside court, emphasize the well-being of impacted children and better enforce child support.

Justice officials say there have not been substantial updates to federal family laws in 20 years.

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The legislation proposes “child-focused” language, which means replacing terms like “custody” and “access” — terms that have been known to fuel conflict between parents — with “parenting orders” and “parenting time.”

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The proposed new measures would also address issues surrounding parents or children who relocate after a divorce and would, under some circumstances, allow authorities to use tax information to enforce child support payments.

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How to effectively co-parent after a divorce or separation

Once passed, Bill C-78 would also require courts to take family violence and a number of other factors into account when deciding parenting arrangements.

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The proposed legislation would make changes to the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act, and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act.