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Divorce Act and New Obligations of Parents & Lawyers

As of March 1st 2021, both the federal Divorce Act and the provincial Children’s Law Reform Act were amended. Changes were made in order to promote alternate dispute resolutions, with Court being, hopefully, a final resort.  

Lawyers in Ontario have been promoting alternate dispute resolution routes to deal and resolve family issues for many years, understanding how awful and difficult separations are on the entire family. Under Section 7.7 of the Divorce Act, Lawyers now have an obligation to advise of clients of the alternate dispute resolution routes. 

Marc J. Coderre – family lawyer has believed in and embraced this philosophy for years. This philosophy has been in my Mission Statement, as set out in this Website, for over 20 years. I have always promoted this route, which has now been decreed by the Government of Canada. The Government of Canada has finally made it mandatory to consider alternate avenues to court, a practice that already existed in the family law “legal world” but was not yet a mandatory obligation for lawyers to direct their clients’ attention to this. My philosophy, in family law, is now finally aligned with Government requirements. 

Under Section 7.3 of the Divorce Act, it is now a mandatory obligation for the parents and parties to attempt to resolve matters through dispute resolutions to the extent that it is appropriate to do so. Court Applications will and should still be issued; the clients, with their lawyers, need to review Sections 7.2 and 7.3 of the Divorce Act in order to determine whether or not Mediation is appropriate. There are some situations, such as high conflict situations and situations of violence, where a Court Application may be the only avenue.

Furthermore, Applications can also be issued, while agreeing to the Mediation process in order to avoid delays.  

Marc J. Coderre – family lawyer will review the options with you and properly advise the client on the best route to be followed.

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