The new Divorce Act and Domestic Violence
Effective March 1, 2021, new amendments came into force in the Divorce Act. These amendments primarily focus on the best interest of child in case of parenting arrangements, post separation or divorce, and recognizes family violence as a factor while deciding on such arrangements as well now.
Incorporation of family violence as a factor in making appropriate parenting arrangements is being recognized as a major development in the Divorce Act.
Family violence can be in the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, or even threats. While some of these are criminal offences, the other non-criminal behaviors are considered family violence under the amended Divorce Act.
As such, children can be impacted by family violence either due to such abuse/violence directed at them, or even by witnessing a family member being abused by someone.
The most important factor while considering the best interest of the child is always child’s physical and psychological safety and security. The incorporation of such recognition of family violence, therefore, is a key to protect and promote the best interest of children.