Changes to the Divorce Act May Mean More Out of Court Resolutions
On March 1, 2021, certain Divorce Act amendments came into force, one of which is the new section 7.3, which states that “to the extent that it is appropriate to do so, the parties to a proceeding shall try to resolve the matters that may be the subject of an order under this Act through a family dispute resolution process”. This means that now there is a duty on the parties of a case to deal with their disputes through a dispute resolution process first rather than the courts. This is where collaborative family law comes in.
Collaborative family law is an alternative dispute resolution process, which involves each party being represented by a lawyer, who has special training in more of an “interest-based” approach. This process is more suited for cases in which there is a power imbalance between the parties. Because lawyers are involved in the process, the power imbalance becomes more balanced because each lawyer is there to support their client in the negotiations.
Thus we may see more and more clients and family lawyers in Toronto leaning towards the collaborative family law process first and not immediately to the courts.
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