October 8, 2020
Proposed changes to the law to make it easier and more affordable
September 24, 2020
TORONTO — The Ontario government has introduced legislation to make it easier, faster and more affordable for individuals and families to resolve family legal matters. The Moving Ontario Family Law Forward Act, 2020, if passed, will help simplify an outdated and complex family law system by modernizing language, simplifying appeal routes and improving the online child support service.
“Comprehensive action to advance family law is a critical part of any conversation around moving our justice system forward for Ontarians,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “We’re proposing common-sense changes to simplify Ontario’s family law system, allowing parents and guardians to spend less time on paperwork and court appearances and more time making plans to support and care for their children.”
If passed, the Moving Ontario Family Law Forward Act, 2020, will:
In addition, Ontario is making changes to remove the requirement for family arbitrators to file arbitration award reports with the ministry, saving time and money.
Ontario is also working with the courts to expand the Dispute Resolution Officer program to Kitchener and Welland. Dispute Resolution Officers are senior family lawyers appointed by the Superior Court of Justice to work with families and guardians to determine their issues and help them work towards a settlement.
The proposed changes to Ontario’s family law system follow extensive consultations with parents, child protection advocates, family lawyers, arbitrators and mediators.
“Families encounter the family law system in some of life’s most difficult moments, and the changes we are proposing will make the process easier to navigate and understand for parents and their children,” said Attorney General Downey.
“The Ontario Bar Association has been a strong advocate for changes that streamline and remove barriers to the family law system to increase the public’s access to the help they need from lawyers. We commend the Attorney General for offering clarity and equal application of laws to married and non-married spouses by responding to our call for consistency between provincial and federal laws following changes to the Divorce Act,” said Frances Wood, Chair, Ontario Bar Association Family Law Section.
“The Federation of Ontario Law Associations welcomes changes designed to simplify and streamline the appeal routes for family law cases, as well as amendments to make the province’s justice system more accessible to Ontarians,” said Sam Misheal, Chair, Family Law Committee, Federation of Ontario Law Associations.
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