14 July 2010

New Family Relations Act to be Unveiled

The Attorney General will announce the release of a government white paper on Monday 19 July 2010 on the proposed content of a new Family Relations Act. The paper will provide a soup to nuts overview of the proposed changes and those few issues left open for debate. The government will be seeking written comment on the white paper until 8 October 2010; this is the last chance for public input into the reform of the Family Relations Act until it is introduced to the Legislature as a bill... at which point the debate will be up to your MLA.

The proposed changes will address:
  • property rights of married and common-law couples
  • guardianship of children and decision-making about children
  • enforcing of access
  • mobility/relocation issues
  • spousal support
  • mediation, arbitration and parenting coordination
I'll go into more detail once the white paper is officially released; I don't want to spoil the surprise. I will just say that the proposed changes are very, very exciting and offer the promise of a much welcome modernization of family law in this province.

This is the beginning of the end of a process begun in 2005 with the report of the Family Justice Review Working Group and will culminate in a final draft act being presented to government in early 2011. Of course when the government introduces the draft to the Legislature is up to the government and is anyone's guess.

For additional background to the reform project, click on the "Family Relations Act" label below.